6 Tips To Worry Less What People Think And Live As Your True Self
Are you always worrying about what people think? Not doing something because of a fear of what people will say? You’re not alone.
Learn why you care and how to figure out what to keep and what to let go of.
Why Do We Care What People Think?
We evolved to survive better in groups so it’s in our nature to want to feel accepted. A study by the University of Michigan found that parts of the brain activated when you experience social rejection are the same parts activated when you feel physical pain!
“Approval from others gives us a higher sense of self-esteem. We’re convinced that their recognition matters to how deeply we value ourselves.”
- Tom Ferry
The irony is that what starts out as an effort to ensure our acceptance and happiness can end up having the opposite effect. When you put more weight on what others think about you than what you think yourself, it’s time to have a look at how you filter what you’re hearing.
How Caring What Others Think Holds You Back
Caring too much about what people think can lead to people-pleasing, exhaustion, and losing yourself. Instead of living as your true self, you’re focusing on avoiding criticism and not standing out. Trying to be “cool enough, rich enough, or attractive enough”. You may take things personally and ruminate on comments, etc. for days, weeks, or even years.
It makes sense to care, to a degree, about how your behavior affects others, though. It’s a part of functioning in society. By valuing the opinions of others, you’re also forming important relationships. Trusted feedback is needed from time to time and can help you to become a better person, develop your career, your relationships, and more.
6 Practical Tips To Worry Less What People Think
While it may not be possible, or even practical, to completely stop caring, it helps to work on being yourself. Here are a few simple tips on how to avoid putting too much weight on what others, especially strangers, think of you.
1. Mind Your Thinking
Be mindful of your thoughts: don’t over-analyze or jump to conclusions. Take some time to question why you’re concerned about what others will think — you may find that you’re worrying about something that is only in your mind.
Some questions to ask yourself:
• Do I care what people think or am I worrying about what people think?
• Who is speaking or thinking this? A trusted friend or someone who doesn’t know me?
• Am I seeking to learn more about myself through others or seeking validation and approval?
• Is this the truth or someone’s opinion?
2. Let Go Of Perfection
Perfection is an illusion that exists in social media filters and Instagram-styled bedrooms. It has no place in real life. If you’re constantly striving for an unattainable unreality, you’re setting yourself up for misery. Work towards what makes you happy and forget the rest.
3. Use Comparison As A Motivator Only
Using the success of others as inspiration can work well as long as you remember that you’re not that person. You’re you. Ask yourself how long it took that person to gain their success and how much work they put in to achieve it.
When you find yourself on a comparison spiral, take a moment to recenter yourself and your goals. Use competition and comparison only as a motivator, not as a scale.
4. Find Your Tribe
We find value and acceptance in groups or communities. Nurture relationships with people who value you rather than judge. Where you can be the best version of yourself without fear of what others are thinking. Your tribe is also often the go-to place for feedback when you’re feeling uncertain.
5. Get To Know Yourself
By getting to know your likes and dislikes, your philosophies and beliefs, you’re forming a version of yourself that is authentic and not based on what others think. Practice self-acceptance of the incredible person you are. This makes it easier to not take things too personally. There’s nobody quite like you. You’re wonderfully imperfect.
6. Keep Things In Perspective
Most people are too busy with their own lives/problems/worries to be concerned with what you’re doing. Nobody knows your life as you do or what’s best for you, so their opinion shouldn’t count as much as yours.
Life is too short to worry about what everyone else is thinking and doing, especially since we can’t control what anyone else says or thinks. Keep the focus on yourself.
See It For What It Is: Opinions
You’re the one following your dreams, and you’re the only one who can be you. So as much as possible, be yourself, follow your intuition and take input from others for what it is: their opinion, not yours!
Originally published at https://samiraholma.com on April 14, 2022.