Most people care about what others think of them, and that’s normal.
As human beings, we have a distinct desire to be appreciated for our intelligence, talent, personality, and nature. However, when we start to rely on other people’s opinions, we use their criticism to shape our lives.
It’s easy to fall into this habit, but it’s not healthy to live your life according to the expectations of others. It’s a vicious cycle, and it will turn you into someone other than who you really are.
Giving your power to somebody else provokes you into leading a life in a separate reality, where the only thing that matters is how people portray you. To prevent this from happening, here are a few ways to get rid of your worry – so you can be yourself.
1. Understand Why You Care.
It’s difficult to break a cycle when you don’t understand the basic aspects of how it developed.
Learning where the negativity and worry is coming from can help you loosen the grip that other people have on your mentality. As society has developed, we’ve set social standards for what we see as normality. From birth, and throughout our entire lives, we are taught by others to act a certain way.
We grow up instructed to follow specific directions and ideologies, dress a certain way, buy certain products, and adhere to societal standards. As social media has come into the picture, we’ve begun to take these standards to extreme levels. We now focus on getting as many people as we can to like us – and it is all posted for the world to see. In addition, it can be quite a chore trying to manage our real and online personas.
Many of us have been taught throughout our lives that taking specific actions will bring acceptance, and other actions bring the opposite. On the other hand, there are always times where we realize that this simply isn’t the case. This is a form of social conditioning, and you must learn how to release yourself from it.
2. Realize That People Don’t Really Think About You That Much.
If we could see the struggles that others go through, or the worrying thoughts they face, we would probably find that they’re incredibly similar to our own. Most people spend the majority of their time focusing on their own lives, their own problems, and their own actions.
To put it simply, most people don’t think about you very much – unless you are important to them or have an impact on their everyday lives. Even your close friends and family don’t think about you that often when you’re not around.
On a similar note, while you may feel as if everybody is paying attention to you, people you see walking down the street or in the grocery store most likely just walk past you, without giving you a second thought.
3. Stop Apologizing.
Sometimes it can be hard to recognize your own anxiety or worrisome thoughts. If you’re the type of person who repeatedly apologizes for being yourself, then you’re most likely spending too much of your time worrying about other people’s opinions of you.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apologize for anything… If you’ve done something wrong that warrants an apology, go ahead and say you’re sorry – but don’t get caught up in being remorseful for who you are as a person.
Being yourself, having your own opinions and values, being quirky or eccentric, or caring about what’s important to you are not reasons to apologize.
4. Remember What Is Important To You.
Many people find themselves shifting their lives in a different direction only because of what others think they should be doing. But often, listening to other people’s advice instead of our own, doesn’t work out so well.
Whether it’s getting a job that makes your parents happy, or turning down a big opportunity because you think your partner wouldn’t approve of it – it’s impossible to be happy if you can’t be your authentic self.
Your main priority shouldn’t be to impress anyone. It’s your life, and you need to learn to take action driven by your own goals. Focus on the things that are important to you, and what YOU want.
5. Get Out Of Your Head.
The tendency to over-analyze everything often leads to caring immensely about what others think of you. Once you’ve fallen down that hole, it’s hard not to stress yourself over every action you take or every word you say – no matter how insignificant it may seem. If you tend to do this, stop it!
Don’t waste your time or energy on situations that you have no control over. You need to accept that people will judge you – but know that they probably won’t judge you as much as you think.
You are the master of your destiny, and how YOU feel about your choices is what’s most important. Remove the mental strain – and concentrate on what makes YOU happy.
6. Be Really Conscious Of Who You Surround Yourself With.
Although it may not seem like a big deal, the people you surround yourself with actually have a huge impact on how you live your life.
Befriending negative people can crush your hopes and dreams and put a serious strain on your mental health. Instead, make positive friends – whose goals are to inspire you and help you be the best you can be – and make sure to do the same for them! Of course, you won’t agree with everybody you meet – and why would you?
Life wouldn’t have as much meaning or purpose if we all conformed to the same ideas and beliefs. However, having a small group of friends whom you can be yourself around, can be extremely beneficial. The more time you spend with these people, the happier you will be.
7. Know That You Have Full Ownership Of Your Feelings.
When you base your feelings on other people’s opinions, you ‘sort of’ allow them to determine whether you feel good, or bad. For example, maybe somebody ignored something you had to say, and that caused you to feel upset.
Perhaps you got the impression that you weren’t worthy of their time, or you’re not good enough for them to pay attention to. But, it isn’t that person’s fault that you feel upset because of their action – because in reality, they have no control over how you feel. Only you have control over the feelings that you ‘associate’ with the actions of others.
It’s unhealthy to give away ownership of your emotions, and you will find that it only makes you feel worse. When you think about it, you are the only individual who can hurt your own feelings.
If you want to change how you react to other people’s actions or opinions, you need to learn how to respond constructively. This may take some work – considering that our thoughts are typically automatic or even on the subconscious level – so it may take a while to get to the root of what’s causing you to react a certain way. But once you’ve figured out how to do that, you will find yourself feeling a lot better in the long run.
8. Change The Stories You Tell Yourself.
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. The things that we tell ourselves are the most important, because we have trust in our own thoughts. If you tell yourself to act a certain way for whatever reason, then you’re going to trust yourself that it’s the right thing to do.
The problem with this is, that we don’t question what we tell ourselves enough, even though we should. It’s important and beneficial to take a close look at your thoughts, and look for where they are irrational or unfounded.
If you can recognize the unhelpful and negative thoughts, then you’re making more space for helpful and positive ones.
For instance, if you believe that everybody judges you for how you look or what you wear, simply remind yourself that it’s the opposite. Other people aren’t actually that critical of you, and they’re probably busy thinking about themselves.
9. Get Your Expectations Right.
It’s important to consider whether or not you have unrealistic expectations of what people will and won’t accept. There are countless individuals in the world who automatically predict terrible outcomes for every social interaction they encounter. Perhaps they’ve had multiple embarrassing experiences in the past, or they may just be negative in general.
Whatever the reason, with this mindset, you’re going to be fearful of other’s criticism of you. Not only that, but if you’re expecting people to dislike you and waiting for your conversations to turn sour, you’ll probably get that result.
On the other hand, you may have had some pretty good social interactions where you realized that people aren’t necessarily as mean or stuck up as you expect them to be. Next time you catch yourself predicting a negative outcome to a scenario, instead, consider how things could go right.
10. Exposure Therapy.
Exposure therapy is a technique used to help people overcome their fears.
It involves exposing someone to their fears – in order for them to find ways to directly confront their fears, or rationalize their reactions to them. In this case, you could try putting yourself in a situation where you think people may judge you for how you look or who you are.
Perhaps get that edgy haircut, go out without makeup on, or voice your opinion on a particular subject. Whatever the situation may be, if you think people may judge what you look like, what you think or what you’re doing, just do it anyway!
It may seem terrifying in the moment, but you’ll probably find that the world is not going to end if you continue to be yourself. Your fears of public embarrassment or failure are usually uncalled for, and being yourself provides an exhilarating feeling of deliverance.
It’s reassuring and relieving to be yourself, and when you decide to do so, your mind will relax itself and begin putting an end to those scary thoughts.
11. Be Your Own Friend.
Although it’s not something we like to believe, not everybody is meant to be your friend or stay your friend, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. And no one else can do it, either.
It’s crucial to accept yourself for who you are, but also to recognize that not everyone can accept that. Be proud of your accomplishments, and learn to like yourself – flaws and all.
12. Be The Person YOU Want To Be.
As I mentioned in a previous point, by letting other people’s opinions of you affect how you feel, in a way, you’re handing them the keys to your life.
You may end up changing every aspect of your life, just to conform to a persona that you believe will cause others to accept you, and you may also believe that this will eradicate your worrisome thoughts. But it won’t…
You will never know exactly what they want you to be, and this ultimately only adds to your worries. Furthermore, living your life according to other people’s expectations, prevents you from leading a life of your own – and you’ll likely regret this as time goes by.
Look deep down, and ask yourself what type of person you really want to be – and then be that person. You’ll stop caring what other people think, and soon, you will be in complete control of your life.
13. Learn To Appreciate And Embrace The Individuality Of Others.
Once you’ve mastered the art of living your own life, and free yourself from your insecurities, remember to show others the same courtesy. Even if you may not be particularly fond of someone, let them express their unique personality – and encourage them to be themself.
Avoid gossiping or thinking negatively about those you don’t understand. But most important of all, avoid being quick to judge! It’s easy to get caught up in what other people think of us – and letting go of those thoughts can be very challenging. And while it does take time and effort, you CAN let go – and the world becomes so much more inspiring when you do.
Some people will accept you for who you are, and others won’t – but none if it is anything to trouble yourself over. Make the choices that you want to make, and do the things that you want to do. Take full responsibility for who you are and what you want to do with your life. When you do, you’ll give your ‘self-esteem’ a boost – and the power to control your life, will fall right into your hands.
What do you think?
Do you care too much about what people think of you?