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.
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?
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
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.
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?
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.
Featured photo credit: Les Anderson via unsplash.com