A fear that many women struggle with is this one – ‘fearing other people’s opinions of themselves’.
If you can focus on what matters, be aware of how you talk to yourself (remember you are always listening) and get a little more comfortable with the unknown, you will soon find yourself in a place where you are happier and less fearful of what others think about you.
Before we get into this in more detail, a little reminder to you. Everyone on the planet (at some point) has stopped themselves doing something because how they feel it would be perceived by other people. Deep down we are all the same, we have the same doubts, fears and negative thoughts. I want you to know that you are not alone and that I am here to help you.
At the end of this blog I leave you with my top tip (and something I use daily) for squashing the fear of other people’s opinions!
Read on till the end… it’s an easy action that is sure to inspire you and get your positive thinking right on track!
I cant think straight
‘Help, I can’t think straight’… do you catch yourself saying this? I am raising my own hand up to this one. Did you know Fear and anxiety weaken your ability to think straight?
When you are worrying about something, you put yourself in a place where you are unable to make rational decisions. Every thought is consumed by doubt. In this mood, taking positive action, just ain’t gonna happen!
The first thing to focus on in overcoming the FOOPO (fear of other people’s opinions) is to get familiar with the actual fear that is driving you to think this way.
It sounds a little deep, so let’s break it down.
- What is it that you are fearing that’s relatable to other people’s opinions of you?
- Do you feel you are not good enough?
- Are you worried about being rejected or judged in some way?
- Are you doubting yourself and what you are capable of achieving compared to others?
When you ask yourself these questions, you start to uncover the real truth.
Let’s slow down the train of thoughts that are going on inside your mind and try to understand why you are worrying about how other people perceive you – is there something that you are seeing in yourself that you are not happy with?
Self-acceptance is a big player in this game. Accepting yourself for all that you are, is the first step to overcoming this fear that consumes your thinking. Self-acceptance is the key to less anxiety, worry and stress and builds confidence, self-esteem and a happy life.
Do they really care anyway.
Fear is one of the most basic human emotions. It works to protect us when danger strikes and instinctively forces us to act in a certain way.
Let’s not forget though, the fear of other people’s opinions isn’t life threatening. You are not going to get eaten by a saber tooth tiger like you might have done thousands of years ago! When it comes to FOOPO, nine times out of the ten, you are worrying about something that doesn’t even exist. It’s just your thoughts that are playing havoc with your mind.
The majority of people that you think are talking about you behind your back, have exactly the same fear. It’s crazy when you think about it. No-one really cares about what you are up to, they are too busy with all the stuff going on in their own lives.
I know it’s a bitter pill to swallow but, you are not the centre of the universe to anyone else…. but… YOU.
This is what happens when you care about others’ opinions of yourself. You attach yourself to an outcome that you have no control over. This makes your anxiety worse because we all want to feel in control.
You can’t control what other people feel, think or say, so why even bother trying.
Negative self talk.
“I am not good at this”. “I can’t do anything right.” “Why me all the time.” Negative self talk is so damaging. It affects your confidence, motivation and plays havoc with your thoughts. You can see how this plays out when it comes to fearing others opinions of you. If you don’t like you, it makes sense that other people feel the same way….Right? …
WRONG! It’s all in your head and you need to change your thinking, it will change your life.
Putting a stop to the negative self talk that goes on inside your head, will force you to see yourself in a more positive way.
You will start believing in yourself and recognising the amazing qualities that you have, rather than focusing on the negative stuff that isn’t important.
Start being a little kinder to yourself. Some of the stuff you say to yourself, you wouldn’t say to your worst enemy, so STOP!
When you hear the negative chat start up, replace it with something that’s good. Think about all the beautiful qualities that you have and repeatedly replay that talk over in your mind. This is a great way to develop positive thinking and bring about all the lovely stuff that you want in your life.
What is it with us women and the need to think a zillion different thoughts all at once!
It normally plays out a little like this….
You go for a drink with your girlfriends, one glass of wine leads to a bottle and before you know it you are dancing around, having fun, loving life!
The ‘Morning after’… you wake up fretting and embarrassed about your actions. What did you do? Were you sick? Who saw you? What did you say?
From having a great night and feeling on top of the world, you go to feeling down, ashamed and like you want to curl up underneath a rock… why is this?
Apart from the red wine the night before, it comes down to your overthinking and the feeling that you have to ‘people please’ all of the time.
There is only one way to get past your overthinking and it’s pretty simple… just stop doing it. (I did say simple not easy!)
Next time you start….
Take a few deep breaths, forget the nightmare scenarios and remind yourself that it’s just your thoughts. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Remember this goes for any scenario.
Mediation is a great way of slowing down a racing mind. I love to listen to Deepak Chopra and recommend Deepak’s morning meditation . It’s great for calming the mind and will help you focus on the meaningful things in life.
Overcoming the need to please.
Everyone wants to be liked and accepted. The problem is, the more you bend over backwards for other people, the less you end up doing what makes you happy. Not everyone is going to like you but that’s ok.
If we were all the same, life would be very boring. Being different and having different values and perspectives on things is what makes you the amazing individual that you are!
In life you will attract the people that have the similar beliefs as you and will repel the ones that don’t. You have to accept that fact and move on.
Living your own life in line with your beliefs, wants and desires is the most important thing.
Focus on what matters, get comfortable with yourself.
A BIG ‘High Five’ to this one! Focus on what matters and in every case, that means you!
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your own rules for life?
- What do you value?
- Who do you want to be in this world?
When you spend time proactively building the life you want, you spend less time worrying about everyone else’s.
Embrace your own future and what’s to come, don’t spend your time living in doubt and fearing the unknown.
Create a life that you love, not one you feel you need to escape from. If something makes you happy, no-one else’s opinion matters, you’re not living for them, you’re living for you.
My ‘Top Tip’
The ‘5 years from now’ question ?
Finally, that little ‘to do’ I promised you.
This one has helped me to take action many times in the past when I feared what other people would have to say.
Ask yourself the ‘5 year question’, which is… “Will this matter to me 5 years from now?”
The majority of the time, what you are worrying about is insignificant and will be completely forgotten 5 years from now. And there is a good chance that it will be irrelevant within 5 weeks, 5 days or even 5 minutes time!
This question puts everything into perspective and helps you focus on the positive actions that you can take to build the life you want.
Insecurity is an ugly thing, it makes you dislike people that you don’t even know – you have to let that crap go.
Never forget that someone’s opinion of you doesn’t have to become your reality. You get to decide how to live your own life – the power is in your hands.
A quick recap…
- Work on your thoughts. Try and understand what actual fear is driving you. Self-acceptance is the key to fearing less of how others see you. When you love and accept yourself the FOOPO is gone.
- People care less about you and your actions than you think. Don’t worry about an outcome that you have no control over. You can only manage yourself, not others.
- Speak kindly to yourself. You are always listening to what you are saying. Stop the ‘self bullying!’
- Ditch the overthinking, it’s never as bad as it seems.
- The key to failure is trying to please everyone – don’t people please!
- And… always remember, ‘YOU MATTER’. Get comfortable with who you are. Live your life in line with your truest beliefs and values. Life is tough enough without self-sabotaging. It’s time to be your “No.1 fan”!
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