9 Better Things to Do Than Worry What Others Think About You
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You may not realize it, but you’re probably preoccupied with how other people perceive you.
Some of this is natural -- it’s part of the human condition to be self-aware and concerned about how others are perceiving us.
The problem is that many of us make other people’s opinions of us pivotal to our success. This is when we get into trouble. If you’re constantly tailoring your life to fit the expectations of others, you’re not really living your own life. You’re living some version of a life you think others will approve of.
Stop giving other people that power over you. You can either choose to believe how others see you, or you can decide for yourself who you are and what you’ll become.
The choice is yours. You can start with these nine simple, surefire ways to eliminate the worry and free yourself to be yourself.
1. Don't try to please everyone.
Trying to be a people pleaser is going to sabotage your success and happiness. It's impossible to live up to everyone's expectations. The reality is, some people are going to dislike you. We all have different backgrounds and personalities, and some people just aren’t going to click with you. Try focusing more on living up to your own standards and less on living up to other people’s ideals.
Instead of worrying about how to make everyone else happy, consider your own internal scorecard and how you measure up to the person you want to be. Spend your time and energy living your life the best way you can, and consider how to best use your talents, gifts and abilities to make the world and people around you better.
2. Stop deferring to everyone else.
Stop apologizing for everything, even when you did nothing wrong. And stop letting others make decisions for you. When you do this, you’re diminishing and discrediting yourself. You must be willing to tell people no; otherwise, you’re letting people strong-arm you into doing things you have no desire to do, simply because you feel guilty if you don’t.
Most of all, stop letting people take advantage of you.
By constantly deferring to other people, you’re letting everyone else -- even complete strangers -- run your life. Recognize that you can never truly be you, or reach your full potential, or accomplish your dreams if you live by everyone else's ideas and rules.
3. Recognize that most people are self-focused.
People are generally more preoccupied with themselves than with others. They spend more time focused on their own insecurities, worries and inner dialogue than actually thinking about others. So, when someone expresses an opinion about your life, it's probably not something they've given a great deal of thought to.
Most people are far too absorbed with everything they have going on to really notice you. Once you start to realize that people are fixated on their own issues and insecurities, it will be easier to stop worrying so much about what other people think of you.
4. Stop taking everything personally.
If you’re ever going to truly let go of paralyzing worry, you’re going to have to stop taking personally the actions and words of others. If you’re a highly sensitive person, this may be hard. It’s easy to read into things, like someone’s tone of voice, facial expressions and reactions. But what you really need to do is stop overthinking everything.
Often people are so caught up in their own inner dialogue and worries that they aren’t really aware that the way they say something or how they handled a situation may come off wrong. It’s likely something they did unintentionally. So give them the benefit of the doubt.
5. Be kind to yourself.
In order to stop worrying about what others think, you need to remember to love and respect yourself first. You need to treat yourself the way you want others to treat you. Think of this as “The Golden Rule” with a twist. You should always treat others as you want to be treated, but you also need to model this behavior by treating yourself with kindness and compassion.
Practice self-care by spending time nurturing your body and your soul. Focus on what brings you joy. Stop worrying if others will accept or appreciate you, and learn to accept and love yourself.
6. Strive to be authentically you.
It’s human nature to mimic others and want to fit in with the crowd. We want to be appreciated and liked by others. Yet we all have unique perspectives and ideas, our own quirks and idiosyncrasies. All you can be is you.
Don’t try to cover up who you are. Embrace your individuality. Trying to be someone you aren’t will leave you feeling unfulfilled. Accept your differences and become comfortable in your own skin. The more relaxed you are with yourself, the less it will matter what others think because you’ll know that their opinions don’t have sway over you.
7. Let go of perfection.
Trying to attain perfection is a fruitless pursuit. Perfection is an illusion because it is subjective and changeable. What one person thinks of as perfect, another may see as flawed (whether real or imagined). What most people think of as perfect has to do with their goals or desires -- so you may have an entirely different perspective on perfection. This is why you’ll never be able to please everyone else as well as yourself.
So stop holding yourself to unattainable standards. Realize that your innate worth is completely separate from how “perfect” you are. Have the courage to determine for yourself your own measure for excellence; that’s the measuring stick you should apply instead of an arbitrary sense of perfection.
8. Find your tribe.
Don’t waste time hanging on to those people who expect you to conform to their wishes or ideas. Make friends with people who are nonjudgmental and open-minded, and who practice respect for themselves and others. Look for role models you admire. Fill your life with people who embody the kind of traits and characteristics you hold in high regard.
Work to develop deep and meaningful connections with people you trust and respect. Those are the people who really matter to you, and they’ll have your back, as you have theirs. By surrounding yourself with people who truly care for you, you can draw on that strength and the knowledge that you don’t need to worry about the haters. There’s no room for them in your life anyway.
9. Stop guessing how others judge you.
When you walk into a room, do you automatically feel everyone’s eyes on you? You may think everyone is staring at you, passing judgment on a million different flaws (real or imagined). Stop right there! Nothing good will ever come from fixating on what you think other people are thinking about you.
Make a conscious effort to stop assuming what others may be thinking. Feel how freeing it is to let go of that worry. Life is too short to allow yourself to be held back by the potential judgments of others. You don’t know what they’re thinking. So, instead of assuming the worst, assume the best. Who’s to say they’re thinking anything bad about you at all? It’s time to put their thoughts out of your mind.