On Sunday I was lounging around at home in my comfy “indoor clothes” as I didn’t have any plans to go out for the rest of the day. Later in the afternoon, I realised that I needed to quickly run down to the supermarket so I started to change my clothes and then I stopped. Why did I need to change my clothes? Was I really that worried about what other people would think of me in my comfy indoor clothes?
How often do you hold back on doing something because you’re worried about how it might come across? If you do, you’re definitely not alone. Wanting to fit in and get the approval of others is pretty natural but that isn’t to say that it’s a healthy desire.
Worrying about what other people think of you can have a big effect on your self-esteem and can be destructive. According to research, we tend to overestimate how often we’re thought of by other people and how negative these thoughts are. Sometimes, we convince ourselves that people will think badly of us when this isn’t actually the case at all.
Our worries may not be in line with true reality but the stress and anxiety that they create can be detrimental to our mental wellbeing. At its worse, it can be completely self-destructive. Worrying less about how you come across to other people is important from a self-love perspective.
Here are some tips to help you to worry less:
Don’t judge yourself
It’s often true that your concerns about other people are actually triggered by how you see yourself. If your beliefs about yourself are negative, you may be expecting to see them reflected in the actions of other people and this can be at the root of your worries.
Showing yourself more love is a crucial first step in worrying less about other people and it can mean that you don’t need to seek approval from others at every turn. If you can treat yourself the same way that you’d like to be treated by other people, it can start to break the desire to get approval from them. This is where self-love becomes important. Once you can stop judging yourself, you can channel your energies in more positive ways.
Move away from cultural norms
Do you feel that you have to act in a certain way for people to like and accept you? Cultural norms can fuel concerns about what other people think of you, especially if you’re not following them to a tee.
If you want to stop worrying about what other people think, it can be helpful to break away from the idea that you have to fit in with the crowd. Permit yourself to live how you want to and not how you feel you should. If you answer to anyone at all, make it to yourself. Focus on how you can be a better version of yourself, rather than trying to please others.
Because mindfulness is all about being in the present moment, it can be great for filtering out the past and the present. Most of our worries about what other people think of us are focused on things that have already happened or that are yet to occur in the future.
If you practice mindfulness regularly, you’ll get adept at keeping your attention on the present and on what is happening right now.
Fulfil your passions
Channel your energies into doing things that make you happy and bring you personal fulfillment. As a bonus, you’ll come into contact with people who share the same interests and passions as you. You’re likely to feel more comfortable in this situation and crucially, show your natural self. When you’re operating from a place where you feel good about what you’re doing, you’ll worry less about what other people may think as you’ll know that you’re doing what feels right for you.
Be more ‘other-centred’
We often define ourselves through our relationships and this can mean that we’re caught up in how other people see us. It’s only natural to want people to like us but putting so much focus on it can cause stress, anxiety and self-doubt. This can be picked up on by other people, which can affect the quality of your relationships and the friendships you’re able to build.
One way around this is to have an ‘other-centred’ approach to your relationships. In a nutshell, this means being compassionate and kind towards other people. Knowing that your actions are genuine and that you have the best intentions makes it easier to stop worrying about how others will perceive you.
You can’t control how people will behave towards you or what they will think but adopting an ‘other-centred’ approach gives you the compassion to recognise that it’s less about you and more about them. If you can’t control it and you know you’re not to blame, why worry about it?
So, the next time you need to run down to the shops in your “indoor clothes” why not do just that and try not to worry about what anyone else will think of you.
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