Gotta love these words of wisdom from my favorite Roman Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius:
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own.”
Why do we care so much about what others think of us?
Your husband, his family, your family, your colleagues, boss, friends, everybody has an opinion about you. Sometimes they even think they know you better than you know yourself.
When we agree with their opinions, especially when they think we’re beyond amazing, all is well with the world.
But when we feel misunderstood, judged, criticized, rejected, emotions like anxiety, worry and fear circle like hungry wolves.
As usual, there’s an evolutionary reason why we care so much.
Our primitive brains quickly learned that making social connections was an imperative for survival.
Back in those scary cave woman days, when your very survival depended on your connection to your tribe, social support and attachment could easily mean the difference between life or death.
Alone=death. Attachment to your group=life.
Within your group there would always be someone to help you care for your children or your aged parents. Someone to bring food for you when you couldn’t fend for yourself. Someone to guide you through the wilderness, help you find shelter and care for you when you were sick or injured.
Our need for acceptance, and the accompanying anxiety that can torment us when we think might not be accepted, deeply influence our thoughts and feelings today.
Today, people-pleasing, co-dependence and even over-sharing on social media are connected to our desire to be included and not left behind.
How many times have you done or not done something because you were afraid of what others would think of you?
How to stop worrying about what others think of you.
Learning how to intercept your fearful, default thinking with more useful thoughts can help your brain neutralize other’s opinions of you. Here are a few new thoughts you could practice to help you get started.
* What other people think of me is only a reflection of what’s going on in their own brains.
Otherwise, how is it possible that some people could adore you and others not want to give you the time of day? Each individual brain interprets the world uniquely. It should come as no surprise that not everyone will like you. What does take some time to wrap your brain around is that their thoughts about you are only a reflection of their internal world. Just as your thoughts and feelings area reflection of yours.
* This is my one and only life, not a dress rehearsal.
You have the right to chose how you will live each and every day. What are the goals and dreams you are willing to make come true? Other people’s opinions about your choices are a reflection of their life experiences and what they have made them mean.
* I can try new things, even if I’m not good at them in the beginning.
Confidence and skill grow in direct proportion to the number of chances you take and the new things you try. Especially those hard or challenging things.
It’s fascinating to watch babies learn to walk. So much falling down and getting up. Teetering. Tottering. Arms outstretched for balance. Then more falling down — again and again. And getting back up — again and again. Within a few days or weeks they’re walking with less and less falling. Eventually, they’re able to run away from us with total confidence and delight.
Babies do not decide, “Hey, wait a minute! I’ve tried this walking thing 25 times and it’s not working. I’d better stop expending all this useless energy and time trying. I’m just going to be satisfied with crawling. I’ve got this crawling thing down pat.” No! They just keep trying walking until they get it, no matter what.
* Sometimes I may want to consider the opinions of people I most respect.
Yes, there are people who love you and have your back. Their opinions may reveal thoughts and ideas you haven’t considered. You may want to listen and consider their analysis or advice.
However, since you are ultimately responsible for meeting your own needs, you are responsible for making the decisions that encourage you to show up in your life as your best self.
Whatever you decide, move forward with determination that no matter what happens, you will have your own back.
* When I am my authentic self, I am my best self.
If someone likes you, let it be for your authentic self, not some manufactured “representative” of your self that you put out in the world. If they’re going to dislike like you, let it be for the same reason! It will all feel so much better!
* Some people won’t like me or approve of my choices, and that’s okay.
It’s not you job to make other people like you. What’s more, you can’t! As we learn again and again, we have no control over another person’s thoughts or feelings about us.
* Everything is figureoutable.
Thanks Marie Forleo!
It’s more important for your long term well-being and happiness that you go after whatever goals and dreams inspire you rather than get hung up about all the hurdles you will have to clear to make progress. Yes, you’ll make mistakes and must endure many failed attempts. Just keep trying again and again until you achieve success.
Don’t be satisfied with merely crawling when walking is absolutely possible.
What are you doing to get other people to like you? Ready to stop people-pleasing and go after your dreams?
Let’s talk about your dreams and goals. What changes do you want to make. Learn actionable strategies for taking the best next steps so you can get started.
I’ve got you. Let’s talk!