Do you sometimes feel like you are holding yourself back because you care too much about what other people might think of you? First of all, don’t worry! Many of us feel that way and as social beings, wanting to be accepted by others lies in our nature. However, when you care too much about what others think, it becomes unhealthy and can even stop you from living your best life and realize your true potential.
The reasons why you care so much about what other people think could be:
- Fear of judgement
- You want to meet certain expectations/ not disappoint people you like (e.g. your parents, friends, peers, teachers, colleagues, etc.)
- You (subconsciously) want to maintain your current self-image and “status” among others. People already see you a certain way and you are hesitant to change that
- Fear of rejection
All these reasons are related to shame. We usually want to avoid the experience of shame at all cost. So let’s imagine the following scenario. If you were a really shy person and would finally want to speak up and stand up for yourself, it’s likely that your mind kicks in and you suddenly have thoughts like “What if they laugh at me and I start to blush like a tomato?” “What if they start talking behind my back?” The list goes on and on…
You would have these thoughts because our minds are designed to protect us and keep us safe. That’s generally a good thing but not helpful in some situations. Doing something outside of your comfort zone, seems “dangerous” to the mind and it wants you to stay exactly where you are now. Once you become conscious of what is going on and decide to no longer allow your mind to overpower you, amazing things will happen.
SO HERE ARE 10 POWERFUL WAYS TO STOP CARING SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK:
1. See the bigger picture
I think it’s super important to put things into perspective and see the bigger picture because to be honest, 95% of the time, people don’t even think about you. If you are prone to overthinking, it’s pretty likely that you sometimes overanalyze people and situations. So the next time you find yourself overthinking things, keep the following fact in mind: People have their own jobs, responsibilities, problems and insecurities to worry about. I know it’s easy to think that you are the center of attention but most likely you are not and most of these scary things only happen in your own head.
2. Let go of perfectionism
When you care a lot about what other people think about you, chances are you are a perfectionist. You want to do everything as perfectly as possible to avoid the experience of shame. However, when you please others all the time, you lose yourself in the process and don’t know what you stand for. Let go of unattainably high standards for yourself, embrace failure and learn to say no.. Know that making mistakes is not a sign of personal failure but a normal part of learning and growing. You might also want to look into developing a growth mindset.
3. Know your worth
I want you to know that you are worthy, you are loved, you are beautiful and you are unique. No matter what other people may think or say to you, you have unique intrinsic value as a human and nobody can take that away from you. And ask yourself the question: Is the opinion of someone else really important enough to hold me back from going after the things I want in life? You only have this one life and it’s really not worth it to care so much about what other people think. Make your dreams a priority and embrace your life purpose!
4. Write down daily affirmations
Your thoughts matter! You have probably already heard the quote “What you think you become” and it’s so true. What you think and say to yourself on a daily basis matters. This goes both ways. Someone who always tells themselves that they are miserable and not good enough, will probably not experience a very pleasant reality in their day-to-day life. But if you, on the other hand, consciously decide to say positive things to yourself, you can definitely change your self-image and thereby, also your reality. I find writing down affirmations super powerful but it’s important to stay consistent with them. It’s best to do it every morning. If you want to become more confident and not care as much what other people think, here are some good ones:
- I am valuable and I have so much to share with the world
- I am powerful and love trying out new things
- The only person I have to impress is myself
- I let go of all external pressure and allow myself to follow my inner guidance
- I live from a place of inner peace, love and confidence at all moments
It’s completely fine and normal if you don’t “feel” what you write down right away. This will come with time since you first have to reprogram your subconscious mind with these new affirmations.
5. Go a little crazy and get out of your comfort zone
I know that the comfort zone feels just soooo cozy and nice. However, it doesn’t serve you at all. If you want to learn how not to care as much what people think about you, you really have to be dearing, YES dearing!! Everyday, do something that scares you.
This could mean:
- approaching strangers and having a conversation
- asking for things (e.g. where the bathroom is, for discounts in stores)
- wearing bold clothing that makes you feel beautiful
- saying no
It’s only the first time that is hard but once you did it, you will be incredibly proud of yourself and the results are amazing.
6. Be your own biggest cheerleader
It’s so important to like yourself and become your biggest cheerleader. Nobody will believe in you if you don’t believe in you first. I hear you asking “Yes Jenny, I would love to be my own biggest cheerleader, but how do I do it?“ The first step is to create self-awareness, and by that I mean MASSIVE self-awareness. I want you to define your 10 core values and write them down, know yourself really well and this includes everything from your strengths to your weaknesses to your dreams and what kind of relationships you want to attract into your life.
I believe that confidence comes from truly knowing yourself and your values + staying authentic to them. If you don’t know who you are, you are much more sensitive to criticism and influence by the external world.
7. If someone says negative things about you, it’s actually about THEM, not you
No matter what you do, there will always be people who criticize you. You probably know it from social media. Even the best, most positive youtube video will receive some hateful comments. The important thing I want you to know is that it has nothing to do with you. Some people are just so unhappy with themselves and their lives, that they spread negativity everywhere they go. “Hurt people hurt people”, it’s really like that. So PLEASE don’t take everything so personally.
8. You don’t have to be liked by everyone
This one is so powerful! You don’t have to be liked by everyone and if you are, you are doing something wrong. If you are not liked by some people actually means that you have values and that you stand for something. So instead of having the ideal of pleasing everyone, be your authentic self. Thereby, you will attract the right people into your life who will like you for who you are. Another reason for not having to be liked by everyone is simply the fact that it’s super hard to please everyone and play different roles when meeting different people. It’s energy-sucking and you can use this energy for more important things.
9. Travel alone
Sign up for a language course abroad, do work & travel or volunteer in a faraway country. There are so many beautiful ways to travel somewhere alone. This will get you out of your comfort zone because you simply have to ask strangers for things to get along and there is a need to be more courageous. When looking back, travelling really helped me to change my self-image. When I was 16, I travelled alone to Spain to do a language course, at 17 I travelled alone to Peru and at 19, I spent 8 months in Australia where I was working as an Au-Pair. All these experiences have helped me tremendously and I think that it’s even easier to change when you are abroad. You wake up in a completely new city as a stranger, nobody knows you, so nobody is biased and you can take the actions needed to create your new self-identity.
10. Put yourself out there
Finally, it’s time to put yourself out there. It’s a great way of practicing all the things you want to be – confident, going after your dreams and just doing what you like, regardless of what others may think.
There are many ways to put yourself out there but here are some suggestions:
- Start a youtube channel
- Hold presentations
- Start blogging/ podcasting
- Speak up in class/at events/ in public
When putting yourself out there, the most important thing is that you stay authentic and honest. I know you can do it and you will feel incredibly proud of yourself!
Finally, I can tell from experience that it’s really possible to change, even when you feel like it’s not possible now. Growing up, I was super shy and cared way too much about what other people thought of me. This restricted my life in many ways and I was even too shy to ask for things like the bathroom. Once I implemented all the points from above and told myself that I want to be finally free and told myself a different story, everything changed. When I could do it, you can do it too!
I’m sending you lots of love and light
See you next time,