What others think of us and our actions should not trace the path we decide to take.
Many people tend to worry a lot about what others may or may not think. The (in)famous “what will they say” is a common source of anxiety and obsessive thoughts. And although being constantly stressed by what others say about your life is hard enough, that is not the most painful result.
If you care too much about what others think, it’s likely that you’ll try to please them and make decisions based on what you think others want from you. The most regrettable outcome of this situation, then, is regret.
In fact, the number one regret of the dying, according to author Bronnie Ware is this: I wish I had the courage to live the life I wanted and not what others expected of me.
Author Morra Aarons-Mele argues that the more we try to win the approval of others, the more easily we stray from our path and move away from our goals.
I was caught in a cycle of achievement, of working hard for someone else’s dreams or expectations, and not my own. It was only when I accepted that I needed a quieter life, needed to reframe success on my own terms, and figure out the tool kit I needed to get there, that I could find joy at work. Becoming “less successful” set me free.
It’s common to do something just because we believe that it’s expected from us. Many times we try to please someone else even more than we try to please ourselves. However, if these attitudes become our routine, if we live to please others and we want to reach absolute perfection, what we’ll find is more a recipe for disaster than everybody’s approval.
What should you do if you worry too much about what others think?
1. Define what success means to you.
It’s important to think about what we really want and the values and feelings we pursue. There are as many definitions of success and well-being as people in the world. If you’re clear about what you’re looking for, it will be easier to find it. This way, what others think, although it may have certain level of influence, won’t govern our actions.
2. Create your own action plan.
This blog post by coach Nia Shanks called The Ultimate Guide on How to Not Care About What Other People Think of You and Live the Life You Want might inspire you.
A moving truth is that people are not paying as much attention to our mistakes as we usually believe. For more on this, check out The School of Life’s video: A Reason Not to Worry What Others Think
However, I’d like to suggest that, if the opinion that others may have about you causes you constant emotional discomfort, please consider seeking professional help. Changing this pattern is not easy, but it is possible.
Investing in our mental health and well-being is not only necessary, but very rewarding.