We all care what others think of us. We all want other people to like us. That’s simply a very normal human trait. It’s human nature to want to be liked and to seek approval. But for your own sanity, and health, you have to understand that it’s what you think of yourself that’s important not what others think of you.
We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do. Olin Miller
Life would be so much simpler if you weren’t always worrying about what other people think of you. If you can start to realise that worrying about what others think of you is a waste of time, then you can start living. You’ll live your life because it is your life, doing what you want to do, when you want to do it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you driven by a need for approval, or avoiding disapproval from others?
- Do you constantly tell yourself that the recognition of others matters to you?
- Do you worry about what others people are saying or think about you?
- Are you sometimes afraid to act even when you think you have a good idea or your intentions are good?
- Do you spend more than you need to on clothes, cars, home furnishings etc?
- Do you constantly seek approval or avoid disapproval?
- Are you afraid to speak in public?
- Are you afraid to speak your mind?
- Have you ever changed your mind, backed out of something or even given up on a dream … because you were afraid of what someone else might think of you?
Are you frequently asking the opinions of others, asking for their approval in ways such as:
- “Do you agree?”
- “Am I right?”
- “Do I look OK?”
- “Am I doing the right thing?”
- “What do you think?”
Living like this you can’t move forward without the confirmation from others. You will keep stressing out about other peoples opinions of you. When you care about what other people think, you are not yourself.
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt
Have you reached the point where you have become sick and tired of trying to please other people and would like to have the mental freedom to just be yourself?
One of my clients lived like this for all too long. He was unhappy with his life. He felt that he was a third rate citizen putting everyone’s feelings first. He had to be a husband, a father, a son and a friend, before he could just be himself. Before he could make any changes, let alone decisions, he would worry about what his wife, family, friends and colleagues thought.
For years he went on with an unhappy marriage. The situation was getting worse and worse. Tension hung in the air all the time. He felt very alone. He didn’t want others to know, and he didn’t want people thinking he had made a failure of his marriage. He didn’t want his children having to go through a split. He didn’t want anyone feeling bad about him. His health was deteriorating and his performance at work was declining.
Sometimes you have to make a decision to change a bad situation that is making you increasingly unhappy despite all those possible consequences that till now have stopped you from doing anything about it.
When finally my client took the big step and left his wife, not worrying about everyone else’s opinion, he quickly found it worked out the best for everyone involved. Those looking in from outside, well there opinion didn’t actually matter. He would tell them, get your house in order before you try and tell anyone else how to live their life.
Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. Les Brown
At times the only solution is to do what is right for you, no matter the outcome. When you are able to let go of caring too much about what other people think and make your decisions free and clear of other people’s opinions, you can easily and powerfully move forward and make changes in your life.
When we believe in ourselves, trust our own opinions and decisions, not being reliant on other people’s thoughts, we are more likely to make decisions that move our life forward because we’re no longer holding ourselves back. To live based on the opinion of someone else is to hold yourself back, passing control to them.
There are people in my life who of course are important to me, and me to them. They believe in me. They champion everything I do. They understand my goals, my quest, my causes. They make me feel good when I’m around them, make me laugh and they allow me to be myself. They make me feel relaxed, comfortable when I’m with them. They’re the people who really matter, the one’s who are going to love me for who I am.
What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates his fate. Henry David Thoreau
My advice to all of you, is just be yourself. Don’t care about what people think. Start being yourself and you’ll probably find people will actually like you more for who you really are. Just be you and you can’t go wrong. Never try to change who you are to try to be what someone else wants you to be. Just be you. My attitude has always been, people will always love me, or hate me, but they’ll never forget me. It’s my life and I’ll live it how I want to live it, not like how everyone else wants me to live it.
You’ll always know that other people have their thoughts. They could be thinking about you. Maybe good, bad or indifferent. So what? Your opinion is what counts. We know the saying, that you can’t please everyone all of the time, and there’s no need to try to.
Next time you’re worrying about what someone might think of you, ask yourself ,
- Does what they think really matter?
- What matters to you?
- Can their opinion actually hurt you?
- How do I want to live my life?
To finish, I would like to offer you this quote from Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.