We all want to be liked, yet if we find ourselves spending too much time and energy worrying about what others think of us, it can turn into an unhealthy pattern that limits our success and self-esteem.
It’s very normal to care about what others think about us, and likely has an evolutionary reason connected to surviving within groups. Yet problems can arise when the pattern becomes too strong, and when we start to measure our self worth through the eyes of others more than we decide it for ourselves.
To maintain a healthy emotional state and a healthy level of self-esteem, it’s important to worry less and relax more.
Here Are 7 Ways To Stop Worrying About What Other People Think Of You:
1. Understand Why We Worry
Humans are social beings, and it’s natural to care about and interpret certain signs and actions that signal how a person is thinking about you. Whether one is friend or foe, and whether we can relax or need to defend, is often decided by our interpretation and thoughts about what we believe the other person to be thinking. Worry can also reach higher levels, sometimes resulting from childhood experiences that cause individuals to look for external validation from parents and teachers more than relying on their own ideas and reason.
Executive leadership coach Nihar Chhaya mentions that, “If everything that happens to you is based on someone else giving you the thumbs up or green light, then you’re going to be at the beck and call of external factors.” This can lead to feeling dependent on the choices and decisions of others, and worrying when another dislikes or disapproves of anything related to you or what you’re doing.
Work on understanding the feelings and thoughts behind each worry, and understand where it comes from. Being clear on the reasons is an important first step.
2. Recognize the ‘Spotlight Effect’
People consider and critique us far less than we think they do. Our own personal ideas of our faults and weaknesses often go unnoticed by others. “As human beings with egos and an innate self-awareness of our own feelings, actions, and thoughts, we tend to notice and greatly exaggerate our flaws while assuming everyone around us has a microscope focused on faults, mistakes, and slip-ups,” says Melody J. Wilding, workplace psychology coach and professor of human behavior at The City University of New York Hunter College. In reality, others do not notice nor care about our so-called “flaws” as much as we imagine them to, they are more concerned and preoccupied thinking about themselves and their own imagined “flaws.”
It’s important to remember that you’re not always in the spotlight when it comes to the attention of others.
3. Develop Your Own Story
Take the time to develop your own compassionate story in terms of how you think and feel about yourself, so that when it’s tested by the worry of what another thinks, you have a positive self-image and positive story to fall back on. Remember the facts about positive things you have done, and positive aspects of yourself, and choose to think about them when the inner critic tries to speak.
4. Question Your Inner Critic
If you’re worrying about if someone doesn’t like you, ask yourself; ‘Do you have any evidence that this is true?’ Stick to the facts of a situation, and try not to insert or inject any ideas that you don’t have solid proof on.
It’s important to use positive self-affirmations and self-compassion as well to remind yourself that you are a lovable and worthy human being, as this healthy level of self-esteem often curbs irregular worries we might have.
“I am lovable, I am enough” is a beautiful affirmation to remind yourself of daily, and is important to remember whenever a voice of an inner critic tries to convince you otherwise.
5. Clear Up Any Untrue Ideas Related To Worry
“If I Worry, I’ll never have a bad surprise.”
“It’s safer if I worry.”
“I show I care by worrying.”
“Worrying motivates me.”
“Worrying helps me solve problems.”
These are all untrue myths related to worrying, as we can’t foresee everything, superstition does not predict outcomes, empathy is different from worrying, worrying decreases motivation, and worrying interferes with solving problems.
It’s important to both love and nurture the part of yourself that is worrying, and it’s also important to let go of any ideas that worrying is helping the situation.
6. Remember, Most People Are Not Thinking About You Too Much
Most people spend their time thinking about their own lives, the same as you might be doing now. Even when people express their opinion about your life, remember that they did not spend a lot of time thinking about it, and question how much importance you should give to a brief and not fully understood opinion.
7. Ask Yourself: If They Really Think Negatively About You, Do You Really Need To Value Their Opinion?
People who care a lot about the ideas and opinions of others tend to be kind and compassionate people. If you happen to worry about someone else interpreting you or judging you in their own minds, ask yourself this question; “Do the kind of people I respect; kind, loving and honest people with integrity, do these kind of people go around thinking negative thoughts and behaving negatively towards others?”
The answer to this question is; of course not! The people we look up to, respect and admire are usually those who have grown to be successful through their own use of positive thinking and compassionate giving. When one of these wonderful people look at you, they’re only going to think of your good side, and then try to encourage your wonderful potential.
If someone thinks negatively of you, it’s likely that their opinion may not be all that compassionate and is rather negative, and do you really want to invest your energy in worrying about the opinion of someone like that? The people whose thoughts are most important are the ones who uplift and inspire you, the naysayer’s opinions really aren’t that valuable, so don’t worry about them.
You are appreciated, you are worthy, you deserve the best, and you are loved.