7+ Experts Reveal (Effective & Powerful) Ways To Stop Worrying About What Other People Think About You
“Comparison is the death of joy."
~ Mark Twain
Seeking others’ approval is a plague on the planet and unfortunately something that continually leads us to repressing our authentic nature and living mediocre or unfulfilled lives.
We worry so much about how others are going to perceive us, that we play small, fly under the radar, and definitely, definitely, do not push any limits.
You see, the way we have historically showed up in the world is a conglomeration of all the judgments and condemnation we experienced as children up into our adult years. We believed the words spoken over us and have made others the authority of what is right and true. We then replay the words we heard and consider them truth thus, attaching a certain negating energy to our lives.
The problem with this is we can never manifest our dream life when we are choosing not to be seen. However, we can overcome this paralyzing place by making the marked decision to retrain our minds.
It’s time to take your power back and here is how to do it:
1. Know yourself better than others know you. With this others cannot convince you of much because you already know in your core who you are and what you believe in.
2. Understand that judgment from others is fear-based. If they cannot see and celebrate your light, it’s because they cannot see or celebrate their own.
3. You were not designed to play small. You are a brilliant expression of life! You came to this world with innate gifts and talents that could help heal the world. Every person on this planet has purpose. Know your worth! We need you!
4. It’s not personal. What others do and say is an expression of their inner knots. No matter what, someone is going to turn their nose up at you and it’s not because you suck, it’s because you shine!
5. Always do the best you can. When we do our very best, there can be no argument. I did the best I knew how at the time. The end.
6. Stop judging yourself. When we love and accept ourselves holy and wholly, our entire world softens. It’s not gain acceptance first then love yourself. It’s love yourself first then gain acceptance!
What we focus on we manifest in our lives. All empowerment work begins within by changing our thinking, patterns and unserving beliefs.
I did it and I know you can too!
Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor – www.sweetempowerment.com
In my business, I work almost exclusively with members of the LGBTQ community.
So many of my clients come to me because they are so concerned with what others might think of them or how others might react to them that they find themselves struggling to find happiness and authenticity.
I spend several of my hours, every single week, asking people one simple question: “Who would you be if there was no ‘they’?”
Of all the questions I’ve ever asked my clients, this one seems to be the most valuable. And I almost always get one of two types of response.
Either the client knows the answer immediately, which in turn instantaneously enables him or her to recognize that the answer to his or her happiness lies within him/herself, and the trick is to just become it, or the answer is a long pause followed by a “I’ve never thought about it”.
It is these clients that truly break my heart.
These individuals have been so caught up in worry about what they THINK others want them to be, that they have lost all sense of who they actually are. Who they are, then, becomes a reaction to their perceptions about others. This enables us to have conversations about what would life look like if we lived off of perceptions.
What happens if I perceive an interaction with a boss as negative, so I quit my job reactively, when in reality my boss was testing me to see if I was up to the task of being promoted? In this case, my perception, coupled with my reaction to it, led to me quitting a job that I was about to be promoted in.
There is a saying “what others think about you is none of your business” and this couldn’t be more true.
Others too, base their reality off of perceptions. Each of our lenses is a reflection of our past combined with our values, belief system, goals, etc. We are each unique, and to be successful in living a life focused on how to be what you think someone wants you to be to me seems about as easy as holding air. So the trick is to actually be who you are if there was no “they”, because the only way you can possibly be the best YOU is to actually be you. Why? Because everyone else is already taken.
Kelsey Shane, MA, LPC – www.lookinsidecounseling.com
There are many reasons we can worry what others think of us, but most of them aren’t helpful. These worries hold us back from being our authentic selves and reaching out to achieve goals or passions.
There are a few things that can help if you want to learn to worry less what others think about you.
1. Build up your self-esteem.
If you feel good about who you are, you are less likely to worry as much about what others think. If you don’t feel good about yourself, no amount of praise or acceptance from others will increase your self-esteem! And if you feel good about yourself, being judged, unaccepted, or criticized will hurt, but you will bounce back more quickly, remember how awesome you are, what you’ve overcome and move on!
2. Prune toxic, judgmental or mean individuals out of your inner circle!
You may still have to work with them, see them at gatherings, etc, but you can surround yourself with caring, accepting people who like you just as you are! Your inner circle of people who have earned your trust and to whom you can speak your mind might start out as one person, but as you work on loving yourself, you will find others who can join this elite group.
3. Stop mind reading.
We all do it! We think we know what someone else is thinking, but that doesn’t mean we’re right. If you trust the person, then check it out and ask what they’re thinking. Ask for feedback and let them know why. If you don’t trust them then work on noticing your thoughts and fears about the situation. Coach yourself through the situation as though you were your own best friend.
For example, “If someone thinks badly of me, it doesn’t mean they’re right. It doesn’t mean I should be silent! It may mean we disagree, it may mean they’re being unkind, it may mean they’re trying to feel better about themselves by making me feel worse.”
4. Get input from people you love and trust to see how they deal with these situations.
The vast majority of us have felt this way at one time or another! If you want to feel better, seek out ideas from people you respect and see what helped them. You may find their ideas helpful or they may spark an idea more suited to your situation.
5. Use your voice!
You have a right to speak your truth and be yourself! As you begin speaking up, you will learn that having someone disagree with you doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You will learn about what’s truly important to you and that will guide you in your life. As you speak up and share your authentic self, you will find others who do the same and cheer you on. You will find that you are stronger and braver than you ever thought you could be. You might even help someone else who is afraid have the courage to be themselves as well!
Fear doesn’t have to hold you back! You have a right to be yourself, use your voice and build a supportive inner circle who isn’t there to judge you. Practice these steps and take special care with the first one – building your self-esteem. Loving yourself will free you from the fear that has you withdrawing or behaving like a chameleon.
Chris Adams Hill, LCSW – www.southvalleytherapy.com
I am a recovering people pleaser and approval junkie, so it was a challenge to learn to be authentic, and not worry so much about what others thought of me.
I was simply terrified of disapproval and avoided it at all costs. I found the more I gave myself away for quick hits of approval, the more lost I became.
The first step in my healing was to admit I was addicted to approval from others; family, friends, men, bosses, strangers. That is a humbling moment.
Next, I had to come to grips with the fact that my decisions were being ruled by fear of rejection, disapproval, and abandonment. Since I didn’t understand my worth, I thought I needed to earn it.
I faced the dark. “I am afraid”, became one of my favorite mantras to say out loud. Instead of denying my fears, I let them come to light. In the bright light of truth, they began to lose their power.
Then, I was ready to embrace my vulnerability and share my story with others.
I had to come out of isolation. I sat in a circle of chairs in a support group, shaking from head to toe. My turn came and I said, “I know I’m not supposed to be here, but I don’t know where else to go. My dad died 27 years ago, and my mom died 17 years ago. I’ve tried to get over it, but I’m stuck.”
I was certain the participants, all who had just lost loved ones, would look at me, horrified that I was taking up space when clearly I needed to get a grip and move on. I raised my head and looked around, expecting rejection and disapproval. Instead, all I experienced was love.
That was the day my fear got yanked out by the root, and I began to understand that no loss, no bad decision, nothing could ever diminish my worth. Nothing.
Finally free of being rooted in fear, decisions that honored my authentic life came much easier.
I learned to say no, I practiced setting healthy boundaries, and learned more about who I really am.
Turns out freedom was available all along, and so was a life of peace and purpose. I just needed help understanding the truth. I am enough. I always was. So are you.
Sue Markovitch, AFAA Certified Advanced Personal Trainer – www.clearrockfitness.com
Your only truth lies within you! We can imagine, guess, or predict the opinions of others, but these constructs are wrapped up in the others’ histories, insecurities, and projections. While it can be nice to get feedback and validation from others, only you have the information necessary to make the best decisions for yourself-your thoughts, feelings, desires and dreams.
A great way to tune out the external and to get focused on only the information that resides inside you is to practice mindfulness.
Here are a few mindful ways to get in touch with the only one whose opinion is truly important- yourself.
1. Take a passive body scan- Scan your body from head to toe slowly noticing where you are holding any tension, tightness, or discomfort
2. Notice your breath- Let your breath “breath you”. Pay attention to the effortless way your breath operates naturally with no force. Is it fast? Slow? Shallow? Deep?
3. Focus on your senses- Pay attention to what is present for each of your senses? What do you see? What sounds do you hear? Is there anything you smell? What are the textures you feel?
4. Name your present emotions- Unpack any emotions you may be currently experiencing. There may be one overarching sense of joy or sadness or some more complex mixed emotions- like being excited and scared simultaneously
Being present with yourself can help to tune out the external and allow your internal forces operate and direct you on s path that is best and truly unique to you!
Dr. Sari Fleischman – www.phillypsych.com
Ending the practice of worrying about what others think of you is much easier said than done.
I could tell you to stop worrying because it doesn’t serve you, but the next time you want to speak up at a meeting or present an idea or simply be heard, you will revert back to your old way of thinking (to worry about what others think) because this action is deeply entrenched in the neural pathways in your brain.
The “worry” reaction now feels like an instinct for you.
This likely stems from an event or a collection of experiences in your childhood that essentially sent you a message that you are not enough. If you believed you are enough, you would not be bothered by what others think of you because you wouldn’t have the need to prove you are enough. If the words that come out of your mouth aren’t earth shattering or no one likes your idea, you would be fine because your worth and value aren’t tied to how others define you.
1. Do the deep work of figuring out where the “I’m not enough” belief came from.
It may have been spoken directly to you or you assumed the meaning. Replay the memories and tell yourself you are enough. (This practice may require the help of a therapist if the memories are non-existent or cause you emotional or mental distress. Attachment-based approaches, Emotionally Focused Therapy and EMDR are powerful methods for transforming negative messages from past experiences into positive ones.)
2. Remind yourself that you are enough when you feel the exact opposite.
For awhile you will continue to worry about what others think of you. Over time, as you continually refocus your mind on “I am enough” you will diminish the voice of the “I am not enough” neural pathway in your brain.
3. Invite some friends you can be real with (who probably have their own “I’m not enough” issues).
We heal most profoundly when we are on the journey with trusted friends.
This seems so simple when read in black and white. The reality of this journey is it took a long time to solidify the negative belief, it’s going to take a long time, filled with intention, to change it. The journey is so worth it! Stay in there!
Karen Thacker, LPC – www.journeyforward.net
Have you heard the metaphor, life is a stage and we are the actors?
As actors, we play many roles; ultimately adding to our plot along the way. No actor or person is alike, thus adding to one’s uniqueness and individuality. If all actors or people looked and acted the same, the plot would not be interesting.
In society, when people try to fit in or worry about what others think of them, it slowly erases their distinctiveness, which sets them apart from others. Don’t give someone else that power over your life.
In order to break the negative cycle of worrying about what others think, ask yourself five question:
What feeling is arising?
Paying attention to your body will enable you to know yourself more.
Take notice to the time of day the feeling is present.
Evaluate the type of environments where the feeling is present; work, meetings, school, etc.
Why are you feeling the way you do?
When people worry about what others think, it is usually because they are feeling judged.
Finally, how can you eliminate this type of negativity from your life?
You hold the answers to your problem. Consider the way you think about yourself verses what others think of you.
It is like what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, is the greatest accomplishment.”
Take back and keep your power by setting the stage for a better you!
Robin Ennis, LMSW, CPC – www.prominentpathways.org
Have you ever stopped yourself from pursuing a dream because you were worried what your family might think?
Have you ever held back on expressing your authentic self due to concern over your friends’ critical opinions? Have you ever silenced yourself or squashed your true feelings because of fears about how society might view you?
All of us have probably done at least one of these limiting behaviors in the course of a lifetime.
Caring what others think of us isn’t all bad, and perhaps it’s hardwired in us as humans. Imagine the “caveman” days; we needed to get along with each other in order to coordinate resources and to keep ourselves and our clan alive. Problems can crop up in today’s world, however, when we’re spending so much energy worried about potential rejection or judgment from others that we inhibit our own growth.
Here’s a tip to remember: people are thinking about us a lot less than we think they are.
Moreover, we’re not in control of their thoughts and perceptions of us. We can only control our own choices. Chances are, if someone has a negative thought about us, it’ll last a couple of seconds until it’s replaced by wondering what’s on tv tonight, whether to make lasagna or lentils for dinner…you get the picture. They say each of has approximately 70,000 thoughts a day. Don’t spend too many of yours thinking about everyone else’s 70,000.
Marnee Reiley, M.A. LMFT – www.youroctherapist.com
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