If you’ve ever found yourself obsessing about what other people think, you’re just like the rest of us. We all have moments when “what other people think” takes precedence over how we feel we should go about our lives. Those moments might come in the form of well meaning parents who (quite vocally) disapprove of our career choices, our choice of partners, or our minimalist lifestyle. They might come in the form of friends who are (silently) judging you for the way you dress or for going vegan. They might come in the form of partners who (adamantly) disagree with your need for alone time or choice of pizza toppings. Okay, that’s petty..but still…
The need to please people around you stems from constantly worrying about what other people think. Instead of being able to decide for ourselves what’s best for us, we try to measure ourselves up against the ideals of other people. Will they like me more if I did this? Will it please them if I chose that? This way of thinking not only puts us in a constant state of stress but could lead us to self sabotage where we stray from our path of growth in order to accommodate other people’s standards.
To stop worrying about what other people think of us is easier said than done. More often than not, the people whose opinions we worry about are mostly well meaning loved ones whom we hate to disappoint. However, the always relevant Dr Seuss said it best when he said: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
No one knows us better than ourselves.
If there’s one advise that can get you to stop worrying about what other people think, it is this. Nobody else is living your life for you. Sure, you can take suggestions, but don’t peg them as the end all and be all roadmap to how you live your life.
Learn about yourself in order to understand what works for you and what doesn’t. Learning could include self care practices like creating art, meditation, therapy, or eating healthy. Focus on getting to know yourself better. That way, no one can shake your confidence. You won’t depend on other people’s approval on how to live your life.
To learn about yourself means that you would make mistakes and failures along the way. Understand that it is part of the process. Don’t be afraid to make them. Nobody is perfect – not even “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge” Kate Middleton.
Catch yourself when the worry starts setting in. Ask yourself who are the people who trigger this worry? Why do they have this power over me? When you’re aware that this is happening, you can begin to desensitise your triggers and address your feelings. Acknowledge the worry and decide whether or not what they think is more important than your peace.
This journey will come in ebbs and flows. It won’t be an overnight transformation. Admit to yourself that on some days, you won’t be able to stop worrying about what other people think. When those days come, practise self love and acceptance.
And remember. What other people think of you, is none of your business.