How To Stop Caring What Others Think Of You video
"What's wrong with wanting others to like you?"
That's what several students asked me in response to one of the last emails I sent them. And they also asked me similar questions over the years. So today, I want to talk about why it's unhealthy to spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think of you, and how to stop doing it .
Simply put, tying your self-esteem to the opinions of others gives you a wrong sense of reality. But before we see how to fix this problem, we first need to understand why we do this...
From wanting others to think we are attractive, to checking the number of likes and comments on our Facebook and Instagram posts, most of us care about what others think. In fact, much of this is an innate desire that we were born with. It has already been shown time and again that babies' emotions often derive directly from the behaviors of those around them.
As we grow older, we learn to separate our thoughts and emotions from everyone else's, but many of us continue to seek (and in many cases beg) positive social validation from others . This can cause serious problems when it comes to self-esteem and happiness. In a survey we conducted with 3,000 coaching students and clients, 67% of them admitted that their self-esteem was strongly linked to what others thought of them.
As human beings, we naturally respond to everything we experience through the lens of our learned expectations; a series of deeply ingrained beliefs about the way the world is and how things should be. And one of the most prevalent expectations we have involves external validation and how others 'should' respond to us .
More than a century ago, the social psychologist Charles Cooley identified the phenomenon of 'The mirror self', which is when we believe that 'I am not who I think I am, and I am not who you think I am; I am who I think you think I am . " This type of external validation has insecurity at its core, and relying on it, even for a short time, can destroy almost all of our self-esteem and self-confidence.
The biggest problem we have is that we tend to forget that people judge us based on influences from their own lives, which have absolutely nothing to do with us. For example, a person may assume things about you, based on a negative experience they had with another person who looked like you, or someone who shares the same last name, etc.
Therefore, basing your self-esteem on what others think puts you in a state of vulnerability; you are literally at the mercy of their unrealistic prejudices . If they see you in the right light, and respond to you positively, then you feel good about yourself. And if not, you feel like you've done something wrong.
Bottom line: When you do everything for others, and you base your happiness and self-esteem on their opinion, you lose your moral center.
The good news is that we have the ability to monitor our thoughts and expectations, identify which ones work for us, and change the ones that don't .
So to stop worrying so much about what other people think, it's time to inject some fresh objectivity into your life and develop a value system that doesn't depend on others every step of the way. Here are five things you can start doing today:
1. Remember that most people are not thinking of you anyway.
Ethel Barrett once said, "We would care a lot less than what others think of us, if we realized how little they do." Nothing could be closer to the truth.
Don't pay attention to what others think of you today; chances are they aren't even thinking about you anyway. If you feel like they're always doing it, understand that this perception that they are looking at you and criticizing your every move is the product of your imagination . It is your own internal fears and insecurities that are creating this illusion.
It is you judging yourself the real problem.
2. Recognize that external validation is only getting in your way.
Spend time clearly and consciously articulating how your thoughts about what others are (potentially) thinking play out in your life. Think about situations where they have gotten in your way, and identify the triggers and the unfortunate responses they provoked in your life. Then look for a new behavior that creates a more beneficial response .
Say to yourself: "Instead of responding in the same old way, based on what I think others are thinking, I am going to respond in this new way based on my new way of thinking about myself." Every time you interrupt your automatic response and respond differently, you are rewriting your brain to think more effectively .
The ultimate goal is to never let someone's opinion become your reality. Never give up who you are, or who you aspire to be because someone has a problem with it. Loving who you are inside and out, while still struggling to move forward. And realize once and for all that no one has the power to make you feel small, unless you give them that power.
3. Get comfortable with not knowing what other people think.
When I first started writing on this blog, I was agonizing over whether people would believe that what I was writing was good enough. I desperately hoped they would like it, and many times I caught myself imagining that they wouldn't. Then one day I realized how much energy I was wasting by worrying about it. So gradually I learned to relax with just not knowing.
Some problems in life, like not knowing what others think of you, are not really meant to be solved. As I mentioned, the way people perceive you may have more to do with them than with you . They may or may not even like you, simply because you remind them of someone they liked or disliked in their past, which has absolutely nothing to do with you.
So here is a new mantra for you; Say it, and then say it again: This is my life, my choices, my mistakes, and my lessons. As long as I don't harm anyone, I don't need to worry about what other people think of me. "
4. Refocus your attention on what matters.
People will think what they want to think. You cannot control them. No matter how carefully you choose your words and gestures, there will always be a chance that someone will misinterpret and twist them. Does that really matter? No, not really.
What matters is how you see yourself.
So when you're making big decisions, get in the habit of staying 100% true to your values and convictions. Never be ashamed of doing what you feel is right.
To help you implement this positive habit, start by listing 5-10 things that are important to you when it comes to developing your personality and living your life honorably. For example:
Having a list like this for reference will give you the opportunity to consciously invoke your behaviors, rather than doing random things just to get external validation. While it may seem overly simplistic, most people never take the time to decide what is really important to them when it comes to their own image; they just let others decide for them.
5. Stop thinking in a "it's the end of the world" way.
All forms of worry (including rejection) feed on the thought "it's the end of the world." In other words, our emotions convince us that an undesirable result ends in our annihilation.
None of these things lead to the end of the world, but if we convince ourselves that they do, we will irrationally fear these results and give our fears control over us. The truth is that we (humans) are inefficient at predicting exactly how future misfortunes will make us feel . In fact, most of the time we avoid consciously thinking about this, which only perpetuates our subconscious fears.
So ask yourself, "If disaster is going to happen, and my fear of being rejected comes true, what three constructive things could I do to move on with my life?"
Sit down and tell yourself a story (write that too if it helps) about how you will feel after the rejection, how you will allow yourself to be angry for a while, and then how you will begin the process of growing from that experience and moving on . Doing this exercise will help you feel less fearful that someone might think badly of you. And you will gradually begin to realize that ...
What other people think of you doesn't really matter that much.
You don't need a standing clap, no bestseller, no promotion, no million dollars. You don't have to prove anything. You're fine just the way you are. Go and meditate on that for a minute ...
YOU ARE GOOD AS YOU ARE.
Worry less about who you are to others, and more about who you are to yourself. You will have less anguish and disappointment from the minute you stop looking in others for the validation that only YOU can give yourself.
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