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Why You Care What Other People Think (And 5 Ways To Put It Aside)

Woman sitting upset in a hallwayFirst let me say that once you have mastered the art of not caring about what people think, congratulations. It’s a skill that most people work on all of their lives. And some don’t even realize they are evading their dreams or apologetically defending their original lifestyle until someone points it out.

It is normal to care what others think of us. It is a natural human reaction, like a flow of saliva, to see a thick ribeye sizzle on the grill. We all want to be accepted (and not rejected) by our colleagues and loved ones, so it is of course important to us what they think of us.

However, there is a big difference between caring and worrying about being judged all the time. When you worry about others judging you for your actions and decisions, thoughts of self-destructive self-eruption will increase. Thoughts like:

  • I shouldn’t have said that …
  • I hope you don’t mind …
  • I think you’re mad at me …
  • I hope you don’t mind …
  • I’m not sure if I should do this …

Sound familiar? To be honest, I am constantly busy with mine Health coaching Customers. They fear their friends won’t want to hang out with them unless they throw back nachos and beer every Friday. They wonder how their family will react if they bring their own paleo side dish to holiday gatherings. And they worry what others will think of them when they decide that a soul sucker is no longer enough for them and decide to follow their passion for something more meaningful.

It’s not your fault that you care so much

In a study by Babson College in Boston, 62% of students said that their self-worth was strongly tied to the opinions of others. This means that 62 out of 100 people cared more about what others thought of them than what they thought of themselves. The worry of not being accepted is not just psychological (although research shows that rejection triggers the same neural pathways that activate when you experience physical pain) but biological. It’s in your DNA.

The fear of rejection goes back to the days of the hunter-gatherers. If you have been rejected by your tribe, you may not have the food, warmth, or shelter necessary to survive. While there aren’t the same dire consequences in the modern world, this concern can be extremely intrusive – especially when you are just leaving your comfort zone or feel that you have done something to endanger your place in the world (e.g. the Losing a job, falling off the car, embarrassing yourself in public, or having a social mishap online).

Most of us worry about how others will perceive our mistakes and shortcomings. However, studies show that we overestimate how badly and how badly people judge us in such situations. The researchers in this study divided the participants into four groups and asked them to imagine they were involved in one of four social errors. The first group imagined having experienced intellectual failure in public, the second and third groups were described as embarrassing by others, and the fourth group expected to be judged harsher than they actually were. The researchers found that when participants focused on their unhappiness and the feared consequences of their situation, they experienced increased levels of social anxiety and their expectations became even more pessimistic.

Basically, the more they thought about how bad it was, the worse they felt. But what is really at the root of this experiment is the deeply uncomfortable feeling of shame.

What does shame have to do with it?

Shame arises when you violate an expected standard or perceived moral code. It leads you to believe that you are worth less because you made a mistake or did something that you regret. And if it’s chronic, it can make you feel fundamentally flawed or “not enough”. All of this leaves you looking for external confirmation.

The problem is, no level of external validation can fill the void that creates shame. Not only that, it enables you to rely on others’ opinions about you and urges you to do whatever you can to receive positive reinforcement and to avoid conflict, negativity, and rejection at all costs.

5 ways to master the art of not caring

When you feel that most of your actions and decisions are shaped by how you think others will react, it is time to put an end to it. This is my plan to help clients stop obsessing over what they think and start living their lives on their terms.

  1. Spending time alone
    To know what is really important to you, you have to get the voices of others out of your head. Take the time to reflect on your values, goals, and what makes you happy. Write it down, write it down, start a meditation practice. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it.
  2. Ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
    Armed with the knowledge that you can’t please everyone and that most people are busy taking care of themselves anyway, wonder what’s the worst that could happen the next time you do something, want to be or say that you are authentic. Chances are, nobody calls you or thinks badly of you. And when they do, you just know it’s a reflection of them, not you.
  3. Let go of perfectionism
    When you shake off feeling that you need to do things right, you are loosening the reins of judgment – of yourself and of what others think you think. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. It’s part of being human and can be a great catalyst for growth.
  4. Develop internal validation?
    Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling again without judging or looking for someone to give you permission. Work on expressing yourself, having self-compassion, and treating yourself with kindness rather than criticism.
  5. Know that others have luggage too
    Even if you believe that others think negative things about you, it is likely because of their own problems. Often times, people project their own insecurities onto their friends, family members or co-workers because they have difficulty handling their own luggage. Share some empathy for those around you.

Ready to stop worrying about what people think?

There is a big difference between caring about your actions and sidelining yourself when you feel like you are being judged. Whether feeling is holding you back from achieving your goals, following your dreams, or just being who you are, follow these five steps when you are tired of making decisions based on your fear of what others think:

  • Spending time alone
  • Ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
  • Let go of perfectionism
  • Develop an internal validation
  • Know that other people have luggage too

And you? Do you care what other people think?

Primal Kitchen Hollandaise

About the author

Erin Power is the coaching and curriculum director for Primal Health Coach Institute. She also helps her clients reestablish a loving and trusting relationship with their body – while at the same time restoring their metabolic health so they can lose fat and gain energy – through her own private health coaching practice. eat. simply.

If you are passionate about health and wellness and have a desire to help people like Erin does for her clients every day, consider becoming a self-certified health coach. In this article, learn the 3 simple steps to building a successful health coaching business in 6 months or less special info session hosted by PHCI co-founder Mark Sisson.

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