How to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think of YouJun 02, 2021
When I finally put an end to my lifelong struggle with food and weight, I experienced a sense of inner peace I didn’t even know existed.
- How much time do we spend worrying about what other people think of us?
- How often do we avoid speaking up because we’re afraid we might say the wrong thing?
- And how many times do we hide our true selves because we just don’t think we’re good enough?
The physical weight on our bodies is often just a representation of the mental and emotional load we’re carrying. And that stuff doesn’t release through diets alone.
Understanding the following 3 things really helped me release the weight of other people’s opinions of me.
1 — Back in the day, worrying about what other people thought of us was essential for our survival
Thousands of years ago when we were roaming around the African planes, being accepted by the tribe was essential for our survival. Because 50 people going up against a tiger — pretty safe, right? But one person alone? Not so much.
Avoiding rejection is a primal instinct that’s been instilled deeply within, and still affects us to this day. And it’s all because, back in the day, rejection by the tribe would have guaranteed our death.
These days, however, we can survive rejection. There’s no more tigers lurking around the corner waiting to jump out at us. And most rejection actually happens in our own minds.
Which brings me to my next point.
2 — All rejection is self-rejection
If I were to tell you: “Omg, your blue nose looks absolutely ridiculous. I just can’t get over how stupid that things looks!”, you’d feel pretty neutral about that, wouldn’t you?
Chances are, you don’t have a blue nose. Hence, you don’t feel self-conscious about your blue nose. And thus, this comment won’t even touch you.
However, if I were to say something about your weight, your performance at work or anything else you feel insecure about, the rejection would be instant — and it would sting.
We only ever experience rejection from other people if it’s something we’re already rejecting within ourselves. Therefore, the key to overcome our fear of rejection is to stop rejecting ourselves.
3 — Other people’s opinions of us mirror how we see ourselves
Let’s get one thing straight: what other people think of us is really none of our business.
But most of the time, it’s not their actual opinions we fear. It’s the things we think they’re thinking about us.
Let’s be honest. We typically don’t know what people truly think of us — bar the occasional internet troll who thrives on letting us know. But in real life, there’s not really that many people who rejoice in such confrontation.
So when we’re worrying about what so-and-so might think about the extra couple of pounds we’re sporting around our waistline, we’re really just projecting our own thoughts onto them.
Meaning that what we actually fear is our own opinion of ourselves.
The good news is that, with time and practice, that’s something that can easily be changed.
Overhauling your self-image can feel like a bit of a project, especially if you tend to be quite tough on yourself. So, start small.
1. Start by paying attention to the things you worry other people might be thinking about you. That will give you some good insight into what you’re actually judging yourself for.
2. Ask yourself whether you really believe this about yourself, or if it’s a remnant of that time where your 6th grade teacher made a passing comment that you took to heart (it typically is).
3. Upgrade those beliefs to something that’s just slightly more neutral than your current negative judgment of yourself. If you’re feeling self-conscious about your weight, don’t go all the way to thinking “I’m beautiful!” because your mind will just call bullsh*t on that. However, replacing it with something like “I’m open to believing not everyone judges my weight as harshly as I do” can go a long way in releasing some of that pressure you’ve been putting on yourself.
With time, you’ll start to see yourself in a whole new light. And you won’t think twice about what anything else might be thinking about you.
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