Are you worried about what others think of you?
If you are, you're not alone. We are, after all, social creatures and with or without realising it, we genuinely seek the approval of others. Whether it's family, friends, colleagues or even people we don't know we are always trying to portray ourselves in a certain way to the world.
So what happens when we decide we want to change something about ourselves? Whether it be an internal or external part of who we are, there is always the chance that those around us may not like or approve of this change. Often it takes courage to share our thoughts in the first place, especially if it's something that is really important to us.
We have all been in scenarios where we are enthused about something and are really looking forward to pursuing this idea, and when we mention it to someone else, they shoot us down in flames and pour water on our enthusiasm. At this point we either listen to what they say and go ahead anyway or, as is the most common scenario, we listen to what they say and decide that what they say makes sense - it was a stupid idea anyway.
The usual outcome with the second scenario is that once we've listened to the other person give their advice, and we've agreed with them that it's better to play it safe, we initially feel a sense of relief that someone has made a decision for us by showing us the foolishness of our plan before we might have made a dreadful mistake. However, what we're often left with is a sense of disappointment and anger that we haven't carried through with what was really important to us.
But all is not lost. Things which are dear to our hearts have a funny way of resurfacing throughout our life and when they do, we can once again choose to ignore them as the safer option, or we can choose to finally do something about them. They are after all our heart's desires.
So how do you stop worrying about what people think?
- Spend time with people who are like you and who you like - people who share your interests, passions and attitudes. These are people who accept you as you are and cheer you on.
- If you are really passionate about something, and totally sure that this is what you want more of in your life, people will get caught up your enthusiasm and be less inclined to try and talk you out of it, as they can see how deeply you feel about it. So, rather than start out by asking someone their opinion of your idea, (which they will undoubtedly give), instead show them with your passion and enthusiasm just how important it is to you.
- Be true to yourself and your values. If you go along with people just to keep them happy (but you feel miserable), let it go. Tell them it's not your thing. If they don't understand or appreciate your honesty they're not worth knowing.
- If you are spending time with people who you have known for years but with whom you now have very little in common, move on. You are under no obligation to keep in contact with people just because you were once close. Chances are they feel the same.
- Spend time building up your confidence in yourself. If you feel confident (and it's not an act) people will pick up on this and accept you for who you are.
Also, remember that those people who you suppose are judging you are probably feeling exactly the same way as you!