What you think others might think about you… is wrong.
From time to time I meet people like me, thinking that others might have a low opinion of them for all kinds of reasons. Those include thoughts of not fitting in, if not wearing fashionable clothes or being a bad host, if the Apartment is not spotless. These thoughts often lead to a obstructed mind or to act under constraints. In my opinion and from what i’ve learned so far, this thinking is nothing more than a projection of negative thoughts, on others.
I was also trapped in this kind of situation and it took me a lot of time before I realized that I have to change my way of thinking. In the beginning I wasn’t aware that I had a problem, I just wanted to do everything to become liked, meaning to be the best, to have awesome stories to tell, etc. However, every time, even if I had something great to offer, I was still thinking that’s not enough and that I could never match their expectations of me. I surely didn’t know which expectations, because i never asked. I tried something impossible.
But how can it be realized, if it is not ending up in something very bad?
For me the following things heavily pointed me towards that.
- Awesome friends who told me the truth, asked me unliked questions and never gave up in asking for party
- People who’re looking constantly happy made me asking myself why i’m not that happy
- A no budget work for a friend which took me 6 weeks working full time and ending up in a broken friendship, because of wrong expectations and unfinished stuff.
- The fear that the work of fiction will be revealed and that I’ll be unaccepted after all.
I have asked myself a lot of questions, which helped me to know my situation and finally to change my way of thinking:
- Why am I not happy and smiling all the time?
- Why am I thinking others don’t notice me, do they?
- Why do others look so stylish and I never find clothes, do they?
- Why do others think i’m not an expert and don’t value what I say, do they?
- Do I have to say “yes” to my friends, every time if they want something?
- Do I have to say “yes” in the Office to every project?
- Do I have to be perfect in everything I do or
have to know everything about it?
- What the hell is my mind doing to me?
By asking myself all these questions and thinking about what might be the answers, I was interested in what would happen if I kept smiling throughout the day and just proposed that others value me. The outcome was a very big surprise to me.
Just smiling, for at least for 20 min a day, greatly changed my mindset, I became happier and my thoughts became positive. After a few days I looked back at some topics and saw that I can be proud of what I’ve done so far and that my doing isn’t as bad as then I thought it is.
Even saying “no” or giving negative but helpful feedback was taken in a very positive manner and cleaned my mind a lot. It is totally okay to say “no”, it’s even better to just say “no” instead of searching for reasons to justify why you are saying “no”.
I could write a lot more because it was so mind-blowing, but at the end everything led to the fact that I stopped to project my worries and negative thoughts about myself on others and valued myself.
That sounds very easy and in fact it is, the hardest part was to do it. The problem and the solution are known but what you have to do is to accept the situation and start to solve the problem, which needs a lot of ambition and courage.
Well, I still have this problem of overloading myself with work, things I want to do for other people and especially things I would like to do for myself, but now I’m aware of that and even know what to do against it.
Here is a list of what you could think about if you face a similar problem:
- Look at things you’ve achieved and find parts you can be proud of. Keep them in your mind and think of one of these at least once a day.
- Accept yourself, your doing and your work and if it is not as good as you want it to be, make a plan to become better, it’s totally ok to not be perfect.
- Be proud of yourself.
- Smile, it doesn’t matter if for a reason or without any, even if you think you’re looking stupid, keep doing it because it isn’t. Some others will smile back and you might change the whole day of someone seeing you in a positive way.
- Block time for your hobbies and for meeting friends in advance, but try never to postpone it spontaneously or to cancel it if you have “negative” thoughts.
- Talk to the people, ask them what they are thinking if you want to know it but stop to think about what they could think.
If you have some more I could add to the list please let me know.