Jon Bon Jovi once very wisely said that ‘no man is an island’, and sometimes this is all too true. People surround us no matter where we go and what stage of life we are at. Family members, friends, work colleagues, people on the street … people are everywhere, and along with people comes judgement and opinions. We can’t help it; as humans we are programmed to judge ourselves and each other. There is nothing we can do about stopping people from having opinions about us, but what happens when what other people think starts becoming an obsession and starts affecting us? If you find it difficult to express yourself or be yourself because of fears of what other people will think, then this is for you.
Often the happiest people are the ones who do not care about what others think. After all, others’ opinions do not directly affect them. Think about last time you were walking the streets and you saw something out of the ordinary – perhaps a man in a dress, or someone singing to themselves as they walk. They don’t care what other people think about them, and they have the confidence to be themselves and express themselves individually. You may look at them not in judgement, but jealousy. You wish you could be that confident and wear what you want, and do what you want, but you can’t because of what you are worried that other people think.
If your world and how you carry yourself is dominated by how other people think about you, and this is driving you to the point where you are losing your sense of individuality and trying to imitate what others’ feel is “acceptable”, follow these steps so that you can begin living a fuller life:-
Caring too much
If you spend more than a second in a day worrying about what other people think, or if you change your behaviour because of others, then this means that you care too much. At the end of the day, most other people actually don’t care what you think or what you do, as long as you don’t offend them or get in their way. There will be the odd person who will have an opinion that is not needed, but it is important to realize that they are in the minority. Don’t let them ruin your day. Think again back to when you saw someone expressing themselves. Did you stop and judge them or think bad thoughts? Probably not. So why would other’s be doing it to you?
Is it your own imagination?
A lot of the time when we think that other people are judging us it is our own imagination at work. If you are walking down the street and think people are staring at you, chances are they are looking at something else or worrying about themselves. When you are feeling self-conscious just stop and reflect. Are people looking at you or past you? Is anyone actually stopping and pointing? Are your workmates actually stopping a conversation when you enter the room? Or is it your imagination? Chances are it will be the latter, as at the end of the day people have better things to do than judge you (especially people who don’t know you or have anything to do with you). Stop letting your imagination run away with you – it is not your friend.
Learn to love yourself
If you love yourself, you will find your confidence soaring. And with an increased level of confidence, your self-doubt will disappear. And confident people with no self-doubt rarely if ever worry about what other’s think. It all starts with loving yourself. Sit down and think about things about yourself that you like – whether it be the shape of your eyes, your laugh or your long legs. It can be physical trait or part of your personality, like your incredible ability to make a joke at any time. Don’t focus on things you cannot change, like your short eyelashes – if you concentrate on the positives you will find yourself suddenly looking at yourself in a positive light. And if you radiate confidence and love, then others will sense this. You will also realize that even if someone does judge you or have a bad thought – it does not actually affect you? Really it tells more about that person than it does about you.
If you need to go to an event or somewhere that you are worried about – for example if you need to make a speech – and you are terrified that everyone will be looking at you, then relaxing is the best method to calm yourself down and stop your imagination from assuming every worst thing that people could possibly think (and most likely are not actually thinking). Simple breathing techniques work amazingly – breathe in slowly through your nose, hold your breath for four seconds then slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this a few times and you will find that your heart rate will drop and your confidence will rise. The more you do this the more you will realize that in fact no one is judging you, and you will be free to go about your day and be yourself.
Embrace your individuality
At the end of the day, you are you and nobody else is exactly the same. And this is a good thing. Imagine if everyone was identical. How boring would that be? Your individuality is what makes you unique, and is what your friends and family love about you. So even though you may think that you have quirks and be worried about them, without them you would be someone else. So you do not need to worry about what other people think. Your friends and family love you, and really this is all that matters. Stop worrying what other people think, especially the people that do not matter to you or have anything to do with you. If you try to be someone else, or try to conform to something that you think that others want, then you will only end up being unfulfilled and incomplete. Our personalities are there for a reason, and you need to learn to love them, and you will realize that other people also love them.