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10 Things to Remember if You Care Too Much About What Others Think

10 Things to Remember if You Care Too Much About What Others Think

We all care, in one form or another, what others think of us and our choices in life. The funny thing is that it’s usually not a stranger in the street offering their opinion, but more often than not, a family member or a close friend. Someone’s opinion of you can have a huge impact on your life, if you let it. But there’s a huge difference between caring and worrying about what other people think of you.

If you care, it’s more likely to mean that you respect their opinion and view point, and that you’ll consider and review it, but still choose to go your own way. However, if you worry all the time, this takes it a whole lot further and can soon affect your decision making. You may become a people pleaser who listens to every opinion but your own, which, in the long term, can chip away at your self-belief.

It’s human nature to want to be liked and respected, but how much you care about what others think is up to you. With this in mind, I would like to share some reminders about what to remember when you care too much about what others think of you.

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People don’t think about you as much as you think they do.

Most of the people around you think in terms of themselves and what affects them and their lives. You and your choices rarely come anywhere near their radar, and if they do, it’s not as often as you might think. Think about it for a moment: how often do you think about a decision your friend has just made? Okay, maybe for the first few minutes, but I very much doubt you sit there consciously thinking and fretting about it for days on end.

It’s none of your business.

What people think about you is their business and not yours. Even if you find out what their opinion is of you, it cannot change who you are or how you live your life. The only way it change your life is if you let it control you and make other people’s thoughts your priority. You really cannot control what other people think, so give up now and concentrate only on what you think about you.

The one and only unique you.

This is a great one to remember. When you worry about what other people think of you, you start to let it take away your individuality, and you think you should conform in some way. Instead, look at it differently and remember that you are the only version of you: you are unique, special and perfect in your own way. Treasure your uniqueness, get all your hair cut off if you want to, wear some outrageous clothes, and get that piercing you’ve always wanted to get. Be who you are. Respect that and you will be much happier.

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Why does it matter to you anyway?

How does it really affect you and your life if someone disapproves of something you’ve done or said?  Are you going to change every time someone says they don’t like something? I think not. Try to imagine whether a comment about how you look or what you say will really matter to you in a week or so. If you try to look at things in this way, you’ll save a lot of worrying for nothing.

Are you psychic?

If you have ‘special powers’ and are well-versed in using a crystal ball, you’ll know what people are thinking. But the majority of you reading this probably aren’t psychic, so my question is: how do you know what others are thinking? You see, the problem here is your thinking, and what you are assuming they are thinking. Crazy, don’t you think? So unless you can read minds, give up caring about how others think of you.

Accept how other people think of you is their problem, not yours.

How many times have you looked at someone from a distance, judged them by their appearance, and then subsequently met them and changed your whole opinion? Many times, I am sure. You see, you never really get the full picture about someone, not really. So if someone forms an opinion about you without all the information and based on superficial things, then that’s their problem, not yours. Let them worry about it while you get on with your life knowing the full story.

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Choose to be mindful of yourself and present at all times.

This is about working out how you want to feel on a day-to-day basis. Do you want to be consumed with constant thoughts about other people and what they think of you? Stop worrying about a past comment or worrying about something someone ‘might’ do or say in the future. Be ever present in the here and now and remember that you have full responsibility for your own thoughts. It all boils down to how you want to live your life. Do you want to be miserable and a people pleaser, or a happy, good person who understands that some people have opinions, but it’s your choice whether to let it affect you or not. That is life!

Surround yourself with people who accept you.

Being able to count on good friends is important for your health and mind, so perhaps it’s time to avoid spending time with people or family who don’t accept your way of life or the choices you make.  There will always be some people who don’t agree with you, so you can either choose to ignore them or move on without them. Remember to surround yourself with the positive, uplifting and inspiring people who accept you, warts and all.

Everyone cares what others think about them.

You are not alone in this thinking. Everyone else has the same cares, worries and thoughts.  It’s human nature to do this. So next time someone criticizes you, try to imagine it from their point of view. Perhaps you are bringing something out in them that they wish they could do, so their first reaction is to put you down. Be mindful of this and you’ll rest a whole lot easier when you sleep at night.

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Be true to who you are.

Being who you are means being honest and speaking out even if it scares you to death. Today nearly everyone is on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Posting our status updates, our pictures and sharing our most intimate stories seems to be the norm, so if you are going to do it, do it with honesty and integrity. Speak your mind and do not worry what other people think. As long as you aren’t setting out to intentionally hurt anyone, do it with pride.  Above all, don’t fake it. Be who you are and those who care about you will accept you, while those who don’t won’t.  So stop apologizing, stop just existing, and start living!

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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