Have you ever just sat and watched and listened toddlers play? How free they seem to feel?
I love watching their excitement, their innocence, creativity, and their ability to just play without really caring about what others think of them.
As we grow up, the tendency to put weight on other’s opinions of us increases. Sure, it’s all right to want to behave in ways that are acceptable to others. Our parents and society teach us that good manners and doing the “right” things are important.
But it’s easy to get caught up in fretting and worrying about what others think about us. In fact, some people expend a lot of energy trying very hard to be seen as this way or that way by others, especially through social media.
I grew up in a time where computers and the internet were comming up on the scene. Still, I felt the pull the care A LOT about how others perceived me. I can’t even imagine how challenging it may be for the youth to grow up these days in the world of social media.
I spent much of my life a people-pleaser. In my younger years, I cared far too much about what others thought, to the effect that it had a negative effect on my decisions.
But life always gives us an opportunity to work out the psyche kinks. When my inner pain got great enough, and I was plum exhausted from trying to find worth in the valuation of others, I started learning how to worry less about others, and more about my own self-worth.
It’s all right to care about what others think of you, but not let it completely control your thoughts and actions.
Do you struggle with worry about what others think of you? How they view you?
Here are some tips to help you overcome the tendency to care too much about others' opinions.
1. Realize most people aren’t really thinking about you.
You ever think this?
“Someone might think I’m weird.”
How about this one:
“I want him/her to like me.”
We think these thoughts and act accordingly sometimes, even if we don’t particularly want to.
We often think others are staring at us or thinking about us continually, but in reality they’re not. They’re just not. They are probably busy thinking of their own lives and their own issues. One way you can worry less about what others think of you is to accept the reality that not EVERYONE is thinking of you or judging you. as a blind fellow it used to disturb me!
2. Believe in yourself.
I know this may be hard to accept for some people, but what you believe about yourself is more important than what others think of you. If you base your self-esteem on others opinions of you, you will be in for an emotional roller-coaster ride.
It’s true that people are not always gracious. Some family members or work acquaintances might think you’re a loser or weird or too this or too that. So what? Let their thoughts just float on by you. Accept who you are, whether they do or not.
If someone criticizes you, take a moment to ponder the criticism. If the criticism is justified (you did not finish your work project in time due to being irresponsible or lazy), then own up to it, apologize, and do better next time.
If the criticism is not justified, (you are accused of being greedy because you have a lot of money in savings), you can simply say, “Thank you for your thoughts on that,” and simply move on. You know the criticism is false, but you don’t have to go on a tangent trying to prove them wrong.
3. Practice reciting positive affirmations.
Allowing others to control your feelings based on what they think of you can feel like prison. You can stay free from that prison by practicing positive affirmations daily.
Write down all sorts of good things about you and speak them out loud daily. Say them even if you don’t really believe them about you. The more you say them, the more likely they will become part of your life. Then, no matter what others think, you will be able to stand tall and proud.
this has really assisted me when I list expect or when I feel grounded.
4. Embrace authenticity
To be authentic means to be who you are – all of you. Embrace your positive and not-so-positive traits. Love your whole self. This doesn’t give you license to be cruel or stay stuck in some negative patterns. However, it does give you permission to love and accept who you are right now along your journey.
5. Don’t judge others.
Do you make it a habit to judge others? If so, think about how it feels when people judge you. It doesn’t feel great. Let others be who they are right where they are on their journey and focus more on you.
Decreasing self-consciousness or worrying about what others think of you takes practice.
You may not always be able to just blow it off. That’s alright. I still find myself concerned at times about what others will think of my writing or what I’m wearing. But I don’t let it keep me from writing what I desire and wearing what I want.
And, I don’t let those fears or insecurities stay in my mind.
Practice caring more about what YOU think. Do your best to accept your whole self, quirks and all. Then, extend that grace to others.
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The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“Excellence of making inclusion happen”