One of the biggest challenges I faced when I was in my Twenties and early Thirties was being emotionally paralyzed by worrying what other people will think if I say, behave or act on a certain thought.
Every situation called for major analysis, thoughts raced through my head and anxiety built entirely around what "may" happen if I say the wrong thing, stand a certain way, take a certain risk or accept an invitation to shine.
I have largely overcome these feelings today and it no longer impacts the way I live (more on how in just a minute), but I know many of you struggle with the same challenges.
When you suffer with this fear of "screwing up", you are worried about…
- Looking weak
- Offending someone
- Losing their respect
- Appearing weird or unlike who you believe they would like you to look like
- Lose a cherished or desired relationship
- Lose out on future opportunities
Yet, you become very aware that this constant worry, anxiety and self-analysis holds you back, is tremendously stressful and frustrating and paradoxically, is perhaps more harmful than the fear of messing up.
Often, we are aware of our tendencies and want to change, even know we HAVE to change…but just can't quite figure out HOW to change.
3 Ways To Stop Worrying What Other People Think
There is no doubt, worry about what others will think is a major obstacle that hold you back from personal happiness and fulfillment AND prevents you from showing your absolute best to the world.
To change from being anxious and stressed over how others perceive and respond to you, we are going to show you how to radically change 3 fundamental beliefs that are holding you back so you can finally be free to act without worry preventing you from sharing your true potential with those around you.
1. You Are NOT The Center Of Their Universe
Many people who find themselves paralyzed by how they are perceived by those around them (managers, potential relationship partners, peer groups, those they look up to, etc…) believe that their problem lies in a lack of self-confidence, in most cases however that is NOT the case.
More often this incredible analysis and focus on their role in social situations is brought on by their own ego because they have placed themselves as the single most important factor in these social interactions.
Being obsessed and paralyzed by how others perceive you is NOT an issue with self confidence so much as it is an issue with your perspective of YOU in the world.
Those of us who stress over everything we say, do, behave and how we are perceived actually put WAY too much stock in our meaning to others/in the world.
We tend to see ourselves as the center of every interaction when that is clearly not the case.
What really hit me about this is that my own ego was inflating how important I was to any given social situation to a point where I had set myself up for failure in every interaction. No wonder you have anxiety…you have convinced yourself that every single word, action or thought you have is the ONLY thing those around you are paying attention to…doesn't that sound a little silly?
Once you change that belief – that people in any given situation are dealing with a TON of stuff and that you are only one tiny part of that – it takes the pressure off.
A great way to put this into action is to change your focus in situations that used to intimidate you or make you think too much about your image…instead immediately tune into the others and think ONLY about them…what are they saying, how are they acting, what are they REALLY meaning, etc…
When your mind is on THEM, it can't be wrapped up in worrying about how you will come off. You get the dual benefit of being attentive (which people thrive on) and you block out your own self-limiting thoughts.
2. There Is No Better YOU Than The Real/Unedited You
The BEST you is the REAL you.
There is no fabricated, non-instinctive avatar you can create that will be more than you as you really are. You are at your best when you are non-editing.
This can be seen again and again in terms of the people we admire…it's always those that are being themselves, comfortable in their own skin. By definition this means you will have those who dislike you, even hate you…but on the flipside you will have people that deeply admire and respect you not to mention what that means for your own personal respect, happiness and fulfillment.
3. Stop Trying To Control Everything
I struggle with this one…my tendency in all aspects of life is to control it.
I control my schedule, my finances, my work, who I choose to be around, etc…
Social situations, especially with people you do not know intimately, is by definition a BIG unknown.
To those of you who are control "freaks", being placed in a new social situation is like the Wild West…you have no idea how they are going to respond, what they will say, how they will perceive you and that is incredibly stressful for those who are used to controlling every other aspect of their lives isn't it?
To change into a state where you worry less about how strangers perceive you, you want to work on two things:
- Know that not everyone will connect with you and that's ok – having a few very strong relationships based on your TRUE self is far more valuable than having a wide variety of friends based on "fake" representations of who you really are
- Your best shot at forming like-minded, meaningful, valuable and fulfilling relationships is to be yourself – period!
Work on these beliefs – focus on them daily and you will find, as with any practiced behavior, you will begin to change in the weeks and months to come.
Realize today that your fear, anxiety and limitation around worrying what other people will think of you comes from your own beliefs and those beliefs can be changed by you alone.
Use these 3 techniques to write your own script…living a life free from worry over what others think of you, how they perceive you and how your life is impacted by them is an incredibly powerful force in living a happy and productive life.