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6 Steps to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think Of You

6 Steps to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think Of You

I remember when I was very concerned about what other people thought of me, and how devastating it was if I discovered that I was misunderstood and labeled incorrectly. It was debilitating, consuming and completely unnecessary.

If you find yourself worrying about what other people think of you, here is a plan to let go of that mental torture and adopt a more empowering (and freeing) perspective.

1.  Notice When The Worry Sets In

Chances are you don’t worry about what everyone thinks of you all of the time.

  • What’s going on in the times you begin to obsess over someone else’s opinion of you?
  • Who are the people who trigger the worry?
  • What power do they have over you? Is it real?

By being aware of when you worry, and over whom, you can start to see the impact it has on your peace of mind and ability to focus.

2.  Identify and Understand Why You Care

What makes what other people think of you so important?

Chances are, if other people’s opinion of you causes you to worry, you have a tendency to people-please. Being liked and favored has likely been a winning formula for you in the past.

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There are advantages to having someone’s high regard but if it doesn’t come naturally, by just being you, you are also paying a high price for their esteem. There will be a tendency to shuffle issues under the carpet and tolerate things that don’t work for you.

Understanding why you care will allow you to investigate if this is a formula you want to continue to employ and to what degree. You’ll have an ability to make a choice rather than fall into the same old patterns that may no longer serve you or your higher good.

3.  Understand you can’t control what other people think of you

Worry is a response to feeling out of control. The reality is you cannot control what another person thinks of you. There are too many variables at play.

What most people don’t understand is that we often form opinions of others based on associations we’ve had in the past.

I’m a coach. When I first meet people, if they have met other coaches, they are going to view and assess me through the filter of their prior experiences of coaches. I’m aware of this, and I accept it knowing that the more time they spend with me the more opportunities there will be for them to alter their opinion.

If they don’t spend more time with me, well, what do I care about their opinion anyway?

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And bottom line, it’s none of our business what other people think of us. That’s their private life.

What I’m concerned about is how they treat me. If I’m treated professionally and appropriately, then any negative opinion is, again, none of my business. If I’m not treated well then it is my responsibility to address it. Until then…

4.  Direct Your Energy to Positive Things
Focus on positive things

    People can sense when it’s important to you to be liked. This makes you appear to be trying too hard, insincere, and needy. In essence, you are working against your goal to have good relationships.

    Take the pressure off and focus on things that you are interested in that bring you joy or that come naturally to you. This will not only distract you from your worry, which is a waste of your time and energy, it will also start to attract the people who are interested in what you are interested in.

    When you are surrounded by people who share your interests and values you can let your guard down and enjoy the time you spend with them. Being your natural self becomes easy and effortless and you are less concerned about what other people think of you.

    5.  Practice Daily Self-Love and Acceptance

    Worrying about what other people think of us and people-pleasing stems from a notion that we are not as worthy as another person, our needs and wants are not as important as theirs. This perspective is the root of the problem but it’s just a perspective and can be changed.

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    Start your day recognizing you are equal to every other person on this planet. There is no one above or below you. We all have different roles but that does not make anyone more valuable as a human being.

    Come up with statements that affirm this truth. I have a friend who repeats to herself, “I have every right to be in this room. I have experience and a perspective that no one else has.” This statement allowed her to get over her nervousness when meeting with CEO’s and high-powered attorneys.

    What is your truth?

    6.  Live a Life that Pleases YOU

    Face it, if you worry about what other people think of you, your life becomes about their opinion and you will start to live in a way that is incongruent with the real you. This creates tremendous stress and will impact your relationships, your health, and your peace of mind.

    If you must worry, worry about your opinion of yourself. How can you hold yourself in higher esteem?

    What is the life you want to be living that will bring you the most joy?

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    In Conclusion…

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be liked, or held in high regard. Building relationships and forming partnerships are essential to your success.

    If you stay true to your values and do your own thing, you will not need to be concerned with the few people who just don’t seem to get you. You can live your fulfilling life and they can live theirs.

    What other recomendations would you make to overcome worrying about what other people think of you? Add them to the comments below. I’m sure the community would appreciate any tips or suggestions.

    Featured photo credit: middle-aged-businesswoman-having-headache.jpg / Michael Jung via veer.com

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

    The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

    In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

    Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

    Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

    Conflicts are literally everywhere.

    Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

    Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

    Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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    Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

    Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

    Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

    The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

    Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

    Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

    How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

    Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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    Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

    Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

    How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

    Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

    Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

    Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

    How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

    Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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    Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

    Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

    How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

    Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

    Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

    Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

    How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

    Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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    Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

    Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

    How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

    Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

    Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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