Have you ever stop to wonder WHY we care so much about what others think about us?
Think about it for just a second. How many times this past week did you have a thought where you wondered what someone else would think of you?
*We don’t do certain things because we’re worried that someone is going to think less of us.
*We do things – even things that we really don’t have time for or just flat out don’t want to do
because we’re worried that someone will think badly of us if we don’t.
*We refrain from saying things because we don’t want to appear a certain way
*We say things that we don’t really think because we don’t want to “hurt” other’s feelings (I’m not talking about being flat out rude – but just being able to be authentic even)
Example: Person #1 is a fabulous sales woman – like amazing in her field. She tried to market her business via Facebook – with Facebook Ads until a family member made a negative comment about it. She stopped and hasn’t tried again since. I don’t want people to think ill of me so I’m just not going to try at all then no one can say anything.
Person #2: had an Instagram account for her personal pictures to show to family and friends.
Someone made a comment that they thought she was online too much – taken aback by this comment and bothered that this ONE person thought this about her she deleted her account.
They must think I’m doing something bad for them to make this comment. I don’t want them thinking poorly of me, I’m going to delete it.
Person #3: recently commented that they were afraid to ask for help because they didn’t want the other person to think less of them. Like if she did ask for help from this person that they were going to be put off and annoyed by her. What is this person going to think of me? Will they be annoyed with me asking? What if they talk about me and complain to others?
I saw a post on my Instagram feed where Person #4 reposted another’s photo that basically questioned and judged her intentions for posting at all – insinuating that the only reason for posting anything is for vanity. This comment bothered her and she didn’t want this ANONYMOUS person (and anyone else) to clump her into that category. So she announced that that post was going to be her last because she didn’t want anyone to think she was seeking praise or doing it for her ego. What will they think of me? Do they think I’m selfish?
Person #5: felt stuck continuing to go to a weekly playdate with a group of people and their kids she didn’t connect with because she was afraid of what they might think if she left the group. What will they say? Will they talk about me behind my back?
Person #6: is so talented and could easily market her business online but she hasn’t because she’s afraid people won’t like her work. What if they think it’s bad? What if no one likes it?
Can you relate to any of these or something like it? We want people to love us and understand us – it doesn’t even matter if the person is someone close to us or a completely anonymous person. A negative comment or even the prospect of it scares us sometimes!
In my family currently we had some new things come up and in light of this we’re having to choose between a few of my kids activities because there’s just not enough time to fit in everything that needs to happen anymore. By doing this and cutting some things it will inevitably leave someone at odds with us. My kids are nervous because they don’t want any of their friends or teachers in these activities to think less of them. But I have some tools to help them and these can help you too. Four ways to STOP worrying what other’s think about you:
1.) LOVE YOURSELF
No, not in a selfish, vain way. I want you to LOVE what you do, LOVE who you are, LOVE your uniqueness. The MORE you love yourself and your actions the LESS you’ll need others to. I’m sure you’ve experienced this. One reason we seek the approval of others is because we don’t give ourselves permission to feel good and confident enough in what we’re doing. So we seek approval from others- when we can’t feel confident enough we wait for someone else to tell us how good we’re doing THEN we feel confident. But why not skip that step and go straight to allowing ourselves permission/validation to approve and love ourselves and our choices. Those compliments and comments from others give us permission to be happy with our choices. If we don’t get that it makes us question if what we’re doing is a worthy thing – like maybe I really didn’t have permission to do that. I should stop. They don’t like it. If we LOVE our choices and reasons for those actions we can validate OURSELVES. We won’t NEED their compliments for us to thrive (compliments are still nice and an added bonus but they should never dictate how you show up in the world). It’s okay that they don’t like it – I like it, I know why I’m doing it and that’s enough.
2.) LET THEM BE WRONG ABOUT YOU
A little harder to do but totally doable. This goes hand in hand with loving yourself because the more you LOVE you – the LESS you’ll care what they think about you…really, it’s true. If you can be clear about WHY you’re doing what you doing to yourself then it’s easier to let others have their own opinions and thoughts and you still be okay with your choices. The only reason this is “harder” to do is because we’re not used to doing it. We want others to understand us, to know that we’re a good person with good intentions. But…we can’t MAKE others feel this way about us. We are only able to control OUR thoughts and opinions so why not learn to LOVE what we do and let others be wrong about us occasionally. You can choose to think, Of course they think that. They just don’t know me well enough yet. (EVEN if it’s a family member and someone you think SHOULD know you – they don’t – we’re always continuing to learn about others. Our entire lives we are still learning about the people around us. It’s okay for them not to know yet and it’s a much nicer thought than I can’t believe they think ___________! Instead, Of course they think that.They just don’t know me well enough yet).
3.) DON’T EXPLAIN (unless you WANT to) – you never, ever, ever have to explain your reasons for what you choose to do or choose not to do to any one – ever. Our brain really likes doing this though. We want others to understand us so we give them a laundry list of reasons why we’re doing something to prove to them that we’re still a good person and that your reasons are valid. Think about this: WHY would you give them power over you – power to tell you if what you’re doing is valid – WHY put it in their hands?
It’s NOT their journey. They can’t understand fully your reasons so don’t give them that power. Validate yourself and continue to love them even when they’re wrong about you.
4.) LOVE THEM ANYWAY
Normally when others say something negatively towards us/about us our default as humans is going to be to retreat and hide, don’t do anything and just feel terrible, or get angry and confront them. This is the whole concept of Fight or Flight (or Freeze). But what if we could make our choices confidently and do something completely different??? What if we let them be wrong about us and LOVE THEM ANYWAY. Love your choices, validate yourself, let them be wrong about you, and still show up in a loving way towards them. This is a game changer for sure!
When two people disagree there’s generally some contention simmering that could easily escalate into something huge – but what if you’re prepared enough to continue that relationship with love? What if you can let them think whatever they want to think about you – and still you choose to think loving thoughts about them? Only you experience what you feel. If you get mad then you experience that emotion of feeling mad but love feels so good. Why not try to feel loving? Chances are they too will simmer down and you can continue that relationship but now in a much deeper and more authentic way.
It’s quite a beautiful thing. It just takes a bit of practice! Remember: LOVE you, Let them be WRONG about you, Don’t feel like you have to justify or explain, and continue to LOVE one another. It’s empowering and life changing. You’ll see – give a go this week!