…so why do I care so much about what others think?
I want to stop worrying.
Worrying about things that won’t ever change.
Worrying about things that won’t change my life.
Worrying about things that no one else worries about!
Worrying about things that are out of my control.
A lot of my decisions in life are based around what other people think. No, not because I’m shallow, and no, not because I like to show off; just simply because I worry about being accepted by others, worry about being liked and well, worry pretty much about everything else so why wouldn’t I worry about this?
I read a quote recently on the ‘Mind, Body, Green’ website that made me really think about this irrational worry! That quote read “what other people think, is none of my business” and I liked it! Essentially, it’s telling us that we can’t stop people from thinking what they want to think. We can’t change their minds or make their minds up, they will think whatever they want despite what we want them to. I will also never be able to read anyone’s mind so even trying to would be a waste of time. I only ever think I know what they’re thinking! Do they care what I’m thinking? I don’t think so!!
I am, as you are all aware, travelling on my journey of happiness. I want to make sure that at every stage in my life, I am the happiest I can be and that means I must work on this irrational fear otherwise it will never get better.
This worry has dramatically changed the way I act around others:
- my confidence has completely dropped and I am sometimes awkwardly quiet (especially with new people). Whenever I meet someone new I want to make a good impression straight away and I put so much pressure on myself that I can’t be natural or normal. When I first started university, it took me 2-3 YEARS for my university friends to know the real me (some of them even joked that they didn’t think I could speak). It didn’t stop there, when I first started working in my previous job, it took me the same amount of time (maybe a little less) to relax around others. That’s YEARS of my life!!! That’s a long time for me to be worrying about what others think about me and I know that now!
- I sometimes avoid going to events or activities out of my comfort zone and I stopped going to the gym. Partly because I’m a little lazy sometimes but a huge part of it was because I was conscious of not knowing many people there. It has nothing to do with the other people. In fact the people in the gym were incredibly welcoming and warm. They were always trying hard to make me feel comfortable. Crazy right?
- I find it hard to make decisions, I always want other people to. That way, I know they’re doing what they want to do and are happy!
- I also find it very hard to say no, out of fear of upsetting people. I find it hard to do what I want to do out of fear that other people won’t be happy with me. The worrying thing about it all is that I also find myself, at times, being quite unhappy because I am sure I upset people or I am sure that people think badly of me! In fact, I worry so much that I think “sorry” is my most used word EVER. It’s terrible because just by using the word, you make other people think you’ve done something wrong, even when you haven’t. I spoke to my friend Nic the other day and told her how I’m attempting to cut down on my use of that word. If I ever say it or type it, I stop and think about why I’m actually saying it and whether I need to. Over the last few weeks I have deleted the word sorry soooo much!
Ridiculous isn’t it? As I’m typing all of this and reading through, I can see how ridiculous it is but I do find it hard to snap out of.
But really, when you think about it, after all is said and done, WHO THE HELL CARES what other people think? As long as I am being the best version of myself, I am polite and I am treating others how I want them to treat me then what they think is irrelevant, isn’t it? I’ve probably said this before but it feels more prominent now than ever; my mum once said to me “if the criticism isn’t valid, don’t accept it.” She doesn’t mean argue with that person until they agree you’re right, what she means is if you don’t agree with what they’re saying then let it go because it’s just not worth it! How true is that?
So, at the moment, at this very second in time, I am working on getting rid of this fear and I have to be honest, I feel that in the last few months, I have made real progress. I have put myself into some very new situations which has meant meeting A LOT of new people and doing A LOT of things that are out of my comfort zone. I have gone to more events, took part in new activities and been able to ‘let go’ of the things I can’t control (other people’s thoughts).
Some pictures from my first ever blogging events – loved them!
I have gone up to new people and I have started the conversation! I have been myself and relaxed a little around new people which has made a huge difference. I recently had a new job working in retail (which was VERY new to me) and when I started, I really worked on being myself and it worked. I met some amazing people and felt relaxed because I was just being myself. I went home and I still had similar thoughts in my head “I wonder if they liked me. I wonder if they could be new friends.” but I didn’t spend ages worrying about it and I thought, as long as I am myself, I am me then they have no reason not to. I don’t think I’m amazing but I do think I can be a good friend.
I have also started to say no to things that I don’t want to do. Don’t get me wrong, I still do things for others if they want me to, I haven’t become a complete bitch but if there’s something I really don’t feel like doing, I wont. I am slowly and surely becoming the best version of me (I think so anyway). Don’t get me wrong, I’m still shy and I will still blush when I have a little too much attention on me but being shy and worrying too much are two very different things. Being shy is just fine with me!
We can’t change the mind of others but we can change our own.
Fear is in the mind, we quite often think that we can’t change what is in our minds and I am not saying it is easy, it’s far from that but the point is, we can do it and if we want to be happy, we have to try. We can control what our mind is doing, we just have to find effective ways of doing so. I guess in a way it’s training our brain to not be so afraid sometimes. So below I’ve listed 5 ways (that I am trying and testing) to help people when trying to stop worrying what others think:
- Have new experiences – go out and experience things, events you never thought you’d go to & activities you’d never thought you’d do! I recently went to TWO blogging events in one week. I’ve never been to one before and I very nearly didn’t go! However, I am soooooo glad I did! I had a lush time, met people who love what I love and I came away feeling great!
- Meet new people – this one kind of comes hand in hand with the first one but it’s YOU that has to put yourself out there. Go and say hi to someone at an event, what’s the worst that can happen? Offer to make someone tea in your new job, ask someone you’ve just met to go for a coffee and tell someone you like their scarf if you do! WHAT IS THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?
- Letting go – If the criticism isn’t valid, let it go!
- Do something for you and be proud – What do you love doing? Don’t let the thoughts of others stop you from doing it, get it done and show it off! Be proud! For me, it’s blogging! Not everyone “gets” why I do it but I love it and I don’t care what they think! (See? Progress!)
- Let others tell you what they’re thinking – if people aren’t happy, they’ll tell you! IT’s not for you to second guess, if they want something to change, they have to be the ones to say and if they don’t then guess what? That’s not your problem!
I hope this helps you in some way and if not, I hope it amuses you how irrational my mind can be! Haha! I’m proud to say I’m working on it!
Happy Sunday people!