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10 Signs You Care Too Much About How Others See You

10 Signs You Care Too Much About How Others See You

If you’re even a half-way decent human being, you undoubtedly care what others think about you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to project a good self-image to the world, but when you become preoccupied with what others think of you, you distort your own image of yourself. The only person who should be able to define yourself is you. If you find yourself in any of the following situations, you should think about changing up your mindset before you stop living for yourself, and end up living for everyone else.

1. You evaluate yourself through other people’s eyes

At the end of a hard day’s work, you should be able to reflect on your efforts, accomplishments, and shortcomings. However, you should only think about these things in relation to how you performed the previous day. Don’t worry about how others may have judged you throughout the day. For one thing, they most likely didn’t take any of their time to evaluate you. Secondly, doing so will make you paranoid that people are always judging you, and your performance will ultimately suffer.

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2. You give others’ behavior too much meaning

If you’re socially anxious, you probably spend a lot of time wondering “What did he mean when he gave that compliment?” or “Was he being sarcastic when he said I did a good job back there?” That’s fairly natural, and it takes work to get over it. However, it must be done if you want to truly feel success. Worrying about what others may or may not have been thinking simply wastes time that could have been spent improving your life in some way.

3. You let feedback stop you

I struggled with this for a while, especially when I started writing for the vast Internet audience. Don’t let criticism stop you from trying. People would only offer feedback if they saw talent in you that they knew could be unleashed with some tweaks. Rather than shutting down when someone offers criticism of your work, listen to what they have to say. Keep their words in mind the next time you start a task, and focus on that specific area in order to improve your overall performance.

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4. You’re preoccupied with always saying the right things

Nobody wants to appear socially awkward. Ironically, the people who are most preoccupied with not looking silly in their interactions are the ones who are obsessed with trying not to look silly. Everyone’s said “You too!” to their waiter when he said “Enjoy your meal!” and realized how ridiculous they sounded afterwards. Don’t let that kind of gaffe stick with you. Do you really think the waiter is going to the back room and telling his colleagues “Ha! The guy at table 2 said ‘You too’ when I told him to enjoy his meal! What a loser!” Seriously, nobody has time for that. And you’re not the first person to do it. Just let your interactions with others flow, and you won’t be so intimidated by everyday interactions.

5. You try to please everyone

Those who care too much about what others think will spend way too much time trying to please everyone. The problem with this is when you do something for one person, and then another, and another, you’ll start a chain of events in which you’re looking out for everyone else’s well-being at the expense of your own health. I’m not saying you should be completely selfish throughout your life, but you need to know when you’re burning yourself out because you’ve spent too much time worrying about other people.

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6. You don’t put yourself first

This goes along with the last point. If you’re constantly trying to please everyone, you won’t spend enough time on yourself. When others thank you for your help, you often say it was “no big deal,” even if it was exhausting work that set you back on completing your own obligations. When you don’t put yourself first, you’re subconsciously telling yourself that everyone else matters more than you do. That’s simply not true. Put other people’s needs to the side, and enjoy some “me” time for once.

7. You have a hard time saying “no”

If you’re eager to please everyone all the time, you’ll end up taking on much more than you’re capable of doing. Most people want to prove themselves, especially in a new job in which their hard work can lead to a promotion. But if you take on too much, your work will suffer. Which will impress your boss more: Taking on so many responsibilities that you’re up all night every day during the week and have to call in sick on Friday, or taking on a few tasks at a time and completing them exactly as needed? Sometimes, saying “no” can do much more for your career than you’d imagine.

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8. You don’t give yourself enough credit

You most likely have one or two interests for which you are incredibly passionate, and you consider yourself an expert in these areas. However, when in a group of people, you tend to downplay these strengths, and act self-conscious about the knowledge you have about these subjects. You might be intimidated by other specialists, and would rather listen than take the chance of sounding stupid. But the worst that can happen is you’ll get feedback from others, which, as we discussed before, can be used to better yourself in the future. Put yourself out there, and you’ll be surprised by how far it takes you.

9. You feel ashamed about your hobbies

Along with the last point, you often degrade yourself when talking about the things you’re really interested in. I write for a video game-related website, and love doing it. I’d never be able to do that if I had a problem with people considering me a “video game nerd.” Why should I care what others think of my hobbies? They’re mine to enjoy. Honestly, it took me a long time to get over the idea that I don’t have to be interested in what’s “cool” or “in.” Now, I use my expertise to report news and discuss current events about an industry that actually interests me, and I enjoy every minute of it.

10. You’re trapped in an unfulfilled life

If you’re always worried about what others think, you end up letting them dictate how you live your life. You’ll give up hobbies that others think are “stupid,” and you’ll end up spending all your time running some errand for other people who, in the long run, don’t matter in your life. When your life becomes a repetitive grind, and there’s no difference between Monday and Friday, you need to step back and take some time to figure out what you want out of life, regardless of what others think you should want.

Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm1.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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