- Are People’s Opinions Holding You Back?
- Can you see the pattern?
- How Can I Stop Worrying About What Others Think?
- 4 solid tips to stop worrying about what others think
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. “― Suzy Kassem
Do you find yourself constantly filled with self-doubt over your decisions? Are you always worrying about what others think about you, what you do, what you say, their reactions to your actions or opinions?
You are not alone!
You are about to learn how to stop fretting and learn to use any criticism that comes your way—constructive or otherwise—to your advantage. And? Filter out any negative judgment.
The result? You will feel less anxious, less overwhelmed, and focus more on yourself and the best way to move ahead in life.
Let’s get started.
Are People’s Opinions Holding You Back?
“Never dull your shine for somebody else.” ― Tyra Banks
Worrying about what others think and feel about you is ingrained in our DNA. After all, we are social animals and we are wired to seek others’ approval.
Studies show that the reward center in our brains is activated when someone gives us a compliment. These same reward centers are fired up by the brain when we sense others recognizing our hard work.
It is natural to feel good when we are accepted and appreciated. But the reality is, that we cannot always expect to be accepted and liked by everyone all the time.
The problem begins when we assume we must adjust our lives and lifestyles to match other people’s expectations. When we do this, we give others the power over our lives and allow them to dictate how we should live it. Slowly, we lose out on being who we truly are.
Following this, things slide downhill and spiral out of control. And being stuck in that mind frame can destroy us and those around us.
Can you see the pattern?
Not only is this an unproductive path to take, but we also leave a path of destruction in our wake. This affects our personal and professional lives. It sabotages our relationships and the worst thing—our self-esteem takes a hit.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”—Lao Tzu
How Can I Stop Worrying About What Others Think?
Start with some soul searching. Do you feel that your reality has shifted? Have you started to believe in other people’s version of who you are as opposed to the real you?
Then, it’s time to step up and take action. You owe it to yourself to share the real you with the world. They don’t know what they’re missing!
Here are some simple, yet effective, ways to help you break this vicious cycle and stop worrying about what others think.
4 solid tips to stop worrying about what others think
1. Focus on What’s Important
Has someone said something unkind about you? Instead of letting it fester, don’t let it go to your head.
Chances are, ten minutes from the moment they said it, that person won’t recall what they said. Plus, what they say reflects who they are as a person. If you think about it, it actually has very little to do with you.
In other words, their perceptions of you come from them. And you’re not responsible for how they feel or what they think, neither can you change any of it. So, why waste your time fretting over something you have no control over?
Instead, channel that energy into something productive. You can learn a new skill, take up a class, or pick up an old hobby. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you enjoy, something that makes you happy.
Here are some things more worthy of your time than worrying about what others think:
- Spend quality time with friends and family
- Smile at the barista serving your coffee or hold the door for someone
- Surround yourself with people who encourage and support you
- Volunteer at a local shelter or food bank
- Take a walk through the park
- Have dinner at that restaurant you’ve been dying to try
Add more to that list!
2. Highlight Your Accomplishments
While life is not a cakewalk and most of us go through ups and downs—some of us more than others—we’ve all got achievements to feel proud of.
Whether this achievement is something big or trivial, surely it means something to you. It can be something as simple as getting your taxes filed on time or eating healthy for a whole week. Point is, please do feel proud of yourself and the hard work you put in.
In fact, write down these accomplishments and put them up where you can see them every day. Perhaps by your mirror or on your fridge. Every time you look at one of your achievements, tell yourself “I did that!” Repeat until your subconscious absorbs it.
You can also give your confidence a boost by practicing affirmations or encouraging statements. These will build your self-esteem and change the way you see yourself.
Some examples of statements/affirmations to inspire you are:
- My self-confidence is increasing, day by day.
- I’m worthy of all good things.
- I can’t control what happens, but I can control my reaction to them.
- My ideas are great.
- I’m blessed and appreciative of everyone and everything in my life.
“People who repeatedly attack your confidence and self-esteem are quite aware of your potential, even if you are not.” ― Wayne Gerard Trotman
3. Train Yourself to See the Positive
The truth is, that our brains are wired to focus on the negative. We are too ready to complain and play the blame game and we tend to dwell on all that negative stuff.
It is time to stop all that—right now!
Also read How to stop playing the blame game
Did you know you can train your thoughts to be more positive? I am not talking about in that deluded, naïve way—but in a healthy and productive way. This will make you less anxious and more resilient.
For this to work, you need to think objectively, especially when it comes to your shortcomings and flaws.
Each one of us is blessed with weaknesses and it is just that some of us acknowledge these more readily than others and want to improve ourselves. You can be one of those people too!
So do this right now:
- List five things that bother you about yourself.
- Set realistic goals to change these.
- Reward yourself each time you accomplish one of these goals.
Begin small and work at your own pace. The idea is to feel good about yourself, not become overwhelmed or stressed, as that would defeat the purpose.
4. Practice Self-care
Take the time to take care of yourself. Manage your stress levels with relaxation techniques. Self-care must be an important part of your wellness routine. Practicing relaxation techniques will reduce your stress levels and improve your overall health. Besides, this also helps you savor the present moment.
When you focus on your today, you worry less about what happened in the past or what might happen in the future. You also stop worrying about what others think of you.
Relaxation techniques can be practiced anywhere. Each time your worry is triggered, take a deep breath and remind yourself not to overreact. Chances are, your colleagues aren’t judging you as harshly as you think they are.
When you feel anxious, take deep breaths. Focus on something around you. It can be your coffee mug, a cloud, or even your nails. Anything that can steer your thoughts to the present moment will do the trick!
Then, lo and behold, you’ll notice that your pulse is slowing down and so is your heart rate. Your anxiety will start to recede and you’ll realize you don’t care about what people think as much anymore.
Other relaxation techniques to consider are mindful meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, and guided breathing.
When you stop worrying about what others think of you, you start paving the path to your own happiness.
The time to begin is NOW.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”— Dr. Seuss
Wednesday Wisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of inspiring stories, verses, quotes, anecdotes, reflections, easy meditation, thought-provoking questions, and humor. Oh yeah, some days are not so short.