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How to Stop Caring What People Think and Focus on Your Needs

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How to Stop Caring What People Think and Focus on Your Needs

How to stop caring what people think of you, such a causal topic for a breezy Tuesday afternoon. To completely change how you have spent your whole life thinking isn’t easy, we are programmed to want to help, to be considerate and to gain validation from others. To stop caring what people think of you is to go against years of evolutionary training and social upbringing.

Why do we care about what others think?

There are many reasons we care about what people think of us but, I am going to start with the basics: Biology.

We are programmed to seek validation, approval and inclusion into our tribes. It is a survival instinct. Humans are pack animals, we hunt and live together for survival. So back in our caveman days, keeping in with the tribe was important because if the tribe rejects you, you are thrown out into the wilderness to face the elements and soon after, death.

But as our societies progressed to be more complex and our tribes to be much larger with better communication skills so that we could change tribes relatively safely, it became a question of pride, ego and social validation. It became less about our avoiding death and more about gaining status to a better lifestyle.

The more popular we are, the more likely we are to succeed because people are more willing to help us on our journeys. This applies to positive and negative popularity, you can inspire by fear or by kindness and it reaches the same outcome.

So how do you just stop caring what people think for the better? Since it is so hard wired into us, how do we just stop?

It is possible to do and to do it without being a psychopath but we don’t just stop one day. It isn’t a decision to just stop and then POOF, we don’t care anymore. It isn’t just a one step “Oh just stop thinking” either, it is a process of reprogramming your mind.

To stop caring about what people think of you requires you face your inner demons, take back control of your subconscious thoughts, take a look at who you are and learn a few vital lessons.

1. What People Think of You Is a Reflection on Them and Not on You

We all see the world through our own perspective and perceptions. Have you ever heard the tale of “people normally hate in others what they hate in themselves”, this couldn’t be more true.

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For example, if you were to cast a negative judgement on someone because they liked to lie and tell grandiose exaggerated stories. That judgement is a reflection on your dislike for lying than it is a reflection on the person telling the story. The story could easily been perceived as entertaining to someone else, you just perceive it negatively based on your own perspective.

Equally, this is flipped. If someone doesn’t like you for a quality you have, that is a reflection on them. For example, if someone judges you negatively because you like to buy expensive watches. That is a reflection on their mindset and set of values rather than you.

When people are negatively judging you, they are saying more about themselves than they are about you. Most of the time, it isn’t even about you but redirected aggression from another area of their life and you just happen to be an outlet.

2. You Can’t Please Everyone

The more popular we are, the safer we feel in a community. We fear rejection as an evolutionary trait because to be rejected by the tribe was to be outcast and die at the hands of the elements and lions. But we have long since evolved since then, and people have gotten more complex with every passing generation. People are so diverse and pleasing absolutely everyone is an impossibility.

Take Beyonce for an example, people love Beyonce but not everyone does. Not because Beyonce has or hasn’t done anything but because she’s just not their cup of tea and that is fine. So stop trying to please everyone because you can’t, which leads us to the next lesson.

3. Be Your Authentic Self

Since it doesn’t matter what people think of you because it’s a reflection of what they think and not about you, and you can’t please everyone, you might as well be your Authentic Self.

We hear that phrase thrown around a lot lately but here is the run down. Your authentic self is the person you want to be if you had no one to please or impress. Your authentic self is the person who speaks their truth, not the doctored truth to keep the peace, says the things you really think and believe in. Your authentic self is the person you hide from the world because you are deathly afraid they will reject you.

If you embrace your authentic self and start turning up as that everyday, people will reject, people will not like you. But people will also love you, they may be new and different people, but they will love you and most importantly of all, you will love you because you are living your truth.

4. Are People Even Paying Attention to You at All?

People are selfish, we spend a lot of time worried what people think of us but most of the time, they think something, forget about it and move on. They are barely paying attention to why they are thinking that, let alone the small judgement they just made.

Most people are made up of recycled ideas they were taught from people they respected growing up, their parents, teachers, the cool kids at school. Take a moment to take in the fact that you are the most important person in your life, not in theirs.

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5. Listen to Your Judgements

I think one of the main reasons we are all so concerned with what people think of us is because we are surrounded by negative media always objectifying and criticizing anything and anyone. No one and nothing is safe from the unrelenting cruelty of the media.

As a result, we are programmed to make similar judgements because it is the main input of information in our lives and we want to go with the crowd and nothing screams conform to society like news outlets.

Because we make these mean and cruel internal judgements that we apply to people, we assume other people are doing the same, which they are and as a result, we are all comparing each other to the impossible standard. We feel miserable, depressed and unworthy because we think everyone thinks we aren’t good enough but the problem starts with us.

We also think these thoughts of other people, to begin the process of change you have to stop the unnecessary judgements on other people. Their bodies, their choices, their fashion accessories.

Take responsibility for your internal talk and when a pre programmed negative judgement like “Oh that person is so fat, they should go to the gym”, you correct yourself because…

6. It Is None of Your Darn Business!

You see the world through your own perceptions but your perceptions aren’t truth. They are your truth but they aren’t everyone’s truth. You can see a curvy person in the street but that doesn’t mean they don’t go to the gym. That judgement might be a reflection of your insecurity about the lack of time you spend in the gym.

Humans are curious and I dare say it, nosy. We are nosy and we need to keep our noses in our own business, sorting out our own mindsets rather than happily getting into other peoples business and telling them out to live their lives.

7. This is Your Life, Yours!

No one has walked in your shoes, no one has seen what you have seen. You aren’t comparable to anyone, so stop comparing yourself to others.

If you find yourself thinking, “oh this person is better than me or this person has suffered more than me therefore I should be something else” STOP. You don’t have to be anything but yourself and no one compares to you. When you do find yourself comparing, remind yourself that you don’t compare.

8. Rewire Your Brain for Positive Thinking

We all overthink and it is easier to think negatively than it is to think positively. Start catching yourself when you start to overthink and imagining the worst scenarios.

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I know you think you are protecting yourself so you won’t be blindsided but, it doesn’t help anyone because honestly, most of the time it doesn’t even happen. You just sit torturing yourself.

If you think something is really wrong, you will know in your gut; and if your gut says so, go deal with it immediately, don’t sit and over think it. Handle it.

9. Focus on Your Needs

By cutting out all of the internal negativity, you have the opportunity to start focusing on your needs — who you are and what you need and connecting with you authentic self.

To start focusing on your needs, take back control of your life. Having been living life to please people isn’t your fault, we are raised wanting to please our parents so we received rewards. Pleasing people gives you rewards in the form of love, compliments, toys and food.

But now, it is time to focus on what rewards you want from life and you can’t find them in another person. You are the one who has to provide the love for yourself, compliment yourself, buy yourself nice things and feed yourself good foods. We always want to be taken care of because it is safe but, it is time to take care of yourself now. I assure you, once you get used to it, you will feel safe.

Start by focusing on what you need in your life. This doesn’t just mean what you need emotionally, it also means spiritually, financially, house decorially. What is it that you need to work on to make you feel safe and complete?

Start Working Out What Your Needs

I will start with 5 things you can do to start working out what your needs are:

1. What things do you value most in your life?

Is it family? Is it honesty? Is it success? Find what you value, make a top 5 list so you know what you want to focus on in your life.

2. Spend time with people that like your authentic self.

People who know who you are and what you really want, they can offer great judgement free reflections.

Remove anyone in your life who makes you feel ugh, you don’t have to be around them and it only brings you down. (In regards to bosses and colleagues, please refer to my other article on how to deal with them)

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3. Clear up your environment.

As I mentioned earlier with the media bombardment of negativity, your input into your life greatly affects you.

Cut out the negativity or anything that makes you feel worthless, and surround yourself with things that make you feel safe and abundant. Throw out all that clutter that brings you down, block all those negative Nancys on facebook or those people that trigger your insecurities and focus on you.

4. Quit social media for a moment.

We spend all day scrolling looking at other people’s amazing achievements and in our heads, we assume everyone is doing better than we are.

Until you feel a little more secure, stop the comparison train at the source and pick up a book or start a new tv show instead. When you feel ready to come back, delete all of the people who bring you down or trigger you to feel insecure. Make sure your feeds are filled with nothing but positivity and productivity. Putting yourself down is a waste of everyone’s time.

5. Stop this internal nonsense that you aren’t good enough.

If you are struggling with it, you need to find a way to correct yourself, learn how to deal with these kinds of thoughts.

You can try affirmations, meditations or one of the many options available to you if you just took a moment to look, instead of scrolling on instagram, comparing yourself to photoshopped models or successful entrepreneurs.

Final Thoughts

Life is too short to spend it constantly letting your own inner self talk and the negative judgements of others bring you down.

Caring what people think of you is within your control, I know it doesn’t feel like it but it is. You can’t control what people say out of their faces, but you can control your reactions to it, the negativity you put into your head and how you talk to yourself and about others internally.

Like I said at the start, there is no easy answer, it is a process of learning a new way of thinking that challenges your biology, your upbringing and your mental psyche. But if you do commit to change, you will find your life will swiftly fall into place because you get to be unashamedly you.

More About Self-Worth

Featured photo credit: Matthew T Rader via unsplash.com

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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