By Kathleen E. Murphy
I learned a long time ago it really does not matter what other people think about me, as long as I am confident in myself and comfortable with the choices I make in my personal and professional life. However, I do not believe my thinking is as common as I would expect it to be with other. I also regularly have conversations with people about how they are “worried” about what others will think about what they are going to be doing, or have already done. This seems like an exhausting way to go through life, and it certainly is not productive in any way. So why do so many people care about what others think of them?
Perhaps people care about what others think about them because they lack the confidence they should have to rise above and not concern themselves with others perceptions of them. In fact, what other people think about you is really none of your business, and I almost guarantee you it is not accurate. Most people are generally not good at being self-aware let alone mastering the art of fully understanding why other people do what they do and why they do it.
Consider the last time you had some type of evaluation either by your boss, or informally by your family or your significant other. Was their opinion and recent commentary about you 100% accurate? I doubt it, and yet did you push back and ask them why they perceived you the way they did? In general, this would be considered confrontational behavior, and the majority of people do not like confrontation, but I also know plenty of people who do. My commentary on being confrontational is that if it is constructive information being shared, then it is acceptable behavior. However, if it is not, and is verbally harmful and not constructive, this is when people get into difficult communication scenarios, and when what the other person thinks of you causes problems and friction.
My advice to you if you are the type of person who is perpetually worrying about what others are thinking of you is to do these three things:
- Think about why you are so concerned with what the person or people are thinking about you. Ask yourself the question – Why does it matter and will it change anything if I keep thinking about this?
- Is this a good use of my time and energy to be concerned about what others are thinking about me? This is a rhetorical question, and the answer is “no”, so apply your time and energy towards something or someone else which is more constructive.
- Write down five reasons you are “awesome” and read them out loud to yourself. This will help to divert your mind from your negative thinking and worrying about what others are thinking about you, and refocus you on why it does not matter what others are thinking about you.
Simply because you think others are thinking of you does not mean they are. Have you ever considered the fact that others if they were thinking about you might actually be thinking something positively about you? Why do humans have more of a tendency to assume others are only thinking negatively about them? If people are in fact thinking negatively about you, it really should not matter to you, because it is more important for you to be spending your time and attention on not caring what others are thinking, unless it is constructive feedback or a compliment they wish to pay them. A personal example of this is when I had been seeing a woman at my gym who was clearly trying to get in better shape and health. I have seen her at the gym on a regular basis for about six months, and she has probably lost well over 50 pounds during this time. I was thinking how inspirational she has been to me on those days I do not want to go to the gym, so I walked up to her the other day and told her this, and complimented her on how fabulous she looked and told her to keep up the great work she was doing. She thanked me profusely for telling her this, and flashed a million dollar smile at me and said I made her day.
Can you stop caring about what others are thinking about you and perhaps help someone else to do so too? Think of how much better you and they will feel when you each focus your energy and thoughts on something more worth your time and attention. Seriously, now go put this into practice.
Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.