How to Stop Worrying About Other People’s Expectations of You

Focus on your bottom line, not theirs.

Kevin Horton
Apr 30, 2020 · 4 min read
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Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Most people want the best for themselves, but most people aren’t sure what that means.

They have dreams, goals, and ambitions. But they haven’t examined them to find their underlying meaning. Instead, they’re fed the fluid concepts of achievement by people who don’t know themselves.

It’s fair to say many of us have different views of what it looks like to reach the point of success. These views are fed to people who want to do more than simply exist — people like you.

Yet, even after you’ve crossed that threshold, something is missing. You can sense in your heart that this isn’t where you want to be.

That feeling comes from the reality that you aren’t pursuing a goal that matters to you.

You’re chasing a dream that isn’t your own

You’ve become more concerned about what they think the dream is.

So you throw on something that would make them happy. You fix yourself up to impress faces who could probably care less about you than you want to believe, all for winning head nods and cheap smiles.

But you aren’t happy. You aren’t okay with those pants or those shoes. Deep down, you want to return them and buy the clothes you wanted.

Sometimes the issue isn’t even them. Sometimes we’re too nice. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so we follow through on what we internally despise.

There’s a big difference between being selfless and treating yourself as if you don’t exist. It’s not wrong for people to desire to see you living your best life. If they only want to see you fail, on the other hand, that’s where the line gets crossed.

But what hurts us the most is not knowing what’s best for ourselves. Having no clue where to turn, we leave our future in the hands of others. And we suffer for it.

These are a few ways you can combat your tendencies to take yourself out of the big picture.

You can’t expect to change if you live in denial. The first step, then, is to confess your deep desires to live up to other people’s expectations. Only then can you move forward and get rid of them.

This holds a lot of people back from reaching their full potential. They believe they’re okay with conforming to the ideals of someone else, going so far as to call themselves “authentic” when the opposite is obvious.

You’ll never improve what you refuse to see.

Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence caused by living in your head. Perhaps you spend more time guessing about other everyone else’s thoughts about you than you do building your self-esteem. Either way, you’ll be less prone to make decisions that truly benefit you.

This one was hard for me. But I realized after some time that I was spending my days comparing my life with people I’d see on Instagram or Twitter, never doing anything to improve my life.

Scroll after scroll was like taking pins and sticking them in my eyes. It was taking a toll on my mental health.

There are people out there who will say, “Social media’s not the problem. It’s the people using it you should be worried about.” And while that may be true, it still doesn’t escape the reality that more people are depressed today than ever.

Why is that?

The constant update from other personalities is affecting the way you see your current position. Giving yourself a break from a virtual sphere of people you don’t even know will bring your mind back to a state of clarity and awareness of what you need.

That’s what will take you farther on your journey of self-improvement. It may even reignite the level of productivity you thought you’d lost.

When the biggest priority in your life is being liked for what you do, the main goal becomes just that. The bottom line will be gaining approval for your career choices, financial decisions, and overall standing on the popularity scale.

This is when we replace critical thought with overstimulated self-criticism. We no longer think for ourselves but for other people, too.

Hm. I didn’t get a thumbs up for that used car I bought to save money, must be doing something wrong.

You’re not doomed if you don’t know exactly which way to turn right now. You still have an opportunity to clarify both your goals and the path to get there. Just know that worrying about other people’s expectations of you will cause you more pain and stress than visualizing the future ever could.

The truth is, most people don’t know what’s best for you. They simply want to validate their view of success by seeing you live it out.

Everyone won’t like who you are.
Everyone won’t like what you do.

But that shouldn’t stop you from carrying out the steps that matter in your life. You have values. You have goals. Don’t replace them with someone else’s just to gain a few brownie points.

Expect more from yourself. Push for greater levels of success. Just don’t let other people tell you what success should look like.

Kevin Horton is a photographer, student, modest book-worm, and wanna-be web developer with a new-found love for writing. He writes helpful words about creativity, productivity, and the enjoyably simple life.

’Til next time. Thanks for reading!


A better you for a better us.

Kevin Horton

Written by

Believer. Listener. I write for people who realize that life is bigger than themselves. Join my email list here:



HopeTree exists to uncover ways to be a more creative, mindful, and productive community. We’ll discuss the ups and downs of life that form our deepest selves.

Kevin Horton

Written by

Believer. Listener. I write for people who realize that life is bigger than themselves. Join my email list here:



HopeTree exists to uncover ways to be a more creative, mindful, and productive community. We’ll discuss the ups and downs of life that form our deepest selves.

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