The wise and great philosopher, Dr. Phil, says at least once a week, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what other people thought about you if you knew how little they did.” Most of us, especially in our teen years, early twenties, and well, many times along life’s path, fixate on what others think about us. Whether it’s a potential significant other, a friend, or a co-worker, we can get caught up in the impression we think we are giving to others, but should it really worry us what others think? I am so glad you asked!
Just Don’t Go There!
Worrying about what other people think about you can easily get your mind wandering to dark places whether you pick apart everything that makes you who you are. Going down those negative self thought paths can trigger feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and insecurity. I know it is easier said than done, but when you feel like you’re overly concerned about what others may think of you, put the brakes on your thoughts and stop. You have no idea what people think when you are in their presence, yet we usually go to the worst place and think, ‘I know they think I’m stupid,’ or ‘Why did she wear that?’’ or ‘Why did she get the promotion?’ There are a few things you can do to keep from focusing on what others think about you and more on what you think about yourself.
Realize That You Are Not a Mind Reader
Many times we put people in a box that they don’t deserve to be in. Because of some comments they may have made in the past, you think they wouldn’t be supportive of you if you shared a life change or feeling with them. But, you may be missing out on a friend who is going through the same stage of life that you are. I remember when I was going through my separation, I was sad and felt like a failure, so when I saw a friend from church in the grocery store, I literally ran up and down aisles to keep from seeing her and being asked any questions. Come to find out, she was going through a separation at the same time and her life wasn’t as perfect as it looked. We could’ve been a good support to each other had I not sped away with my cart.
No One Judges You Like YOU Judge You!
We have an ability to think others judge us based on what we judge ourselves for. Just pause for a second in your reading and think…what you’re afraid others will judge you for is really what you judge yourself for, isn’t it? So whose judgment are you really concerned about?
Stop Judging Others
Judging is a bad habit to get in. The more we judge others, the more we think they judge us. It’s an ongoing vicious cycle that you must break. So, instead of judging people, appreciate them for what they are. See others as your teachers, helping you to learn about life, improve your life, and develop into a better person.
Realize It Is Not Always about You
People’s negative reaction or treatment of you says more about them than it does about you. Trust me, this one took a long time to learn. I had a family member, who from day one, had it in for me. I was clueless as to what her problem was with me. She always had a chip on her shoulder and I was the one, when around her, that she hurled that chip at and most of the time I let it hit me. After a couple of decades, I realized there were qualities and traits in me that she wanted, so it made her feel better to put me down than to look at herself and try to improve. Instead of working on herself, she did everything in her power to hurt me. I took it personally thinking I was a bad person and even went to counseling over it. I’ll never forget, the first time with my counselor, I shared all the mean things my family member had done to me over the many years, how I tried to smooth things over, and my counselor said, “I hate to tell you this, but the wrong person is sitting here with me. I’d say the person with the axe to grind should be in therapy.” He was right.
There are many things that come with age and one is self acceptance and awareness. When you doubt yourself, it is easy to think others think negatively about you. But when you see yourself as an ever progressing and evolving person, you will give yourself the breaks that you deserve.