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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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