Written By: Nicole Ellis
How I Stopped Worrying About What Others Think
This blog post. Some people will hate it.
They won’t relate. They’ll think it’s boring. They might even think I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Some will love it. They’ll feel like they’re talking to a friend. Two completely different responses from the same blog post.
This is why I can’t be living my life worrying about what others think. If I changed for one person, I would lose another.
Easier said than done, am I right? Okay, let’s get into how to stop caring what people think.
You Stop Worrying About What Others Think When You Live Your Core Values
I think we can agree that life is not easier when you’re doing what other people like. For one, as mentioned above you’ll bend over backward trying to figure out what that is and won’t be able to please everyone.
Also, you won’t be happy if you are giving up part of yourself to please people. What I did was look hard at myself and the values that I want to emulate. I named the values that get my heart beating and that I am happy to act on.
For example, I eat a very plain diet. I never go to restaurants. This is very different from what other people do. When you are doing something different, it’s easy to think people don’t like it. What if they think I am stuck up? What if they think I have an eating disorder? What if they think I don’t want to hang out with them?
I treat my autoimmune disorders with diet and one of my core values is perseverance. I am not about to give up on something that I love to make someone think a certain way about me.
When we do anything different from other people we start to think about it from other people’s perspectives. Once I identified and established my core values, they were more important to me than what other people thought.
What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business
There are a lot of things on my plate. I don’t have enough headspace for everything that should be on my mind. How do I sometimes manage to spend time worrying about what others think?
I decided to stay in my lane. If something is none of my business then I don’t have room for it on my overflowing plate. Other people’s interpretation of my actions is their business. Whether they like the way I handled my health challenges or not, it’s none of my business.
When I fully believed other’s interpretations of myself were not my responsibility, I stopped worrying about what others think.
I Stopped Assigning Meaning to Others’ Actions
Someone didn’t invite you to their wedding. You decided they didn’t like you enough. You weren’t fun enough. You weren’t cool enough. Maybe they are annoyed that you won’t eat their food.
But all of those things are from you. That was how you interpreted it and it’s not reality. You are responsible for your feelings that come from your interpretations.
To change how others make you feel, you have to recognize that others can’t force you to feel a certain way. I can change the way I feel about a situation by changing my interpretation of it.
She had a small budget and could only invite close friends and relatives. Is this correct? I don’t know because it’s none of my business. If I am going to make assumptions, at least I can make them with good intent.
I Challenged my Automatic Thoughts
When something happens, the thoughts start rolling in like a thunderstorm. As soon as you are not invited to the wedding, the thought that they don’t like you comes automatically. That’s okay. As long as you notice that the negative emotion is coming from that thought, you can change it.
I may first think they don’t like me. I then take responsibility for that thought and decide it is none of my business. If you can’t conclude that it's none of your business then assign a meaning to it that isn’t personal to you. Such as, the wedding was low budget.
Of course, other people will assign meaning to your actions but it's not your responsibility to be in control of what that is.
Act With Good Intent
I am not telling you to disregard others’ feelings. I am telling you that when I focus my actions on my values I no longer worry before I do something. When I take responsibility for the meaning I assign to situations, I don’t overflow my plate with what others think about me.
Next time you are trying to decide if you should go to the gym, you might worry bodybuilders will think you don’t belong. You wonder if you should do a home workout instead. Ask yourself this: will you let this have any effect on your core value and goal to take care of your physical health at the gym? It’s your choice, and it all depends on what you value most.
You might be wondering, why do I care so much about what others think? Nobody wants to be alone. If you decide others don’t like you, you feel alone. This is completely normal. You can however be intentional with who you put in your life. Find the people who share your values.
Also, focus on what you can do for other people. Be a good friend. Be kind. If someone doesn’t want to be your friend, that is fine. If you act with good intent, it’ll always be their loss.