How to Stop Worrying What People Think of You

How to Stop Worrying What People Think of You

by Maria Stenvinkel

Let’s be honest. We all worry what other people will think about us. I’m not here to make you immune to people and their (potential) opinion about you. Then, I’d turn you into some emotionally numbed psychopath. We don’t want that, do we?

No, this planet needs more caring, empathy and love, and if you’re reading this for sure you have those qualities.

Here’s the thing, if you’re a regular human being you do care what other people think of you. That’s normal.

But, what you don’t want is to turn that care into fear. Fear that will keep you stuck, paralyzed or awake at night, because then you’ll do nothing, and that’s not what you or others want.

As Aristotle said,

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

You have ideas to spread, messages to deliver and love to give. Your caring is your gift – but if you don’t choose wisely, you might end up caring about things that don’t bring you in the right direction. So, we’ve got to pick what we care most about.

For example:

Do you care more about what friends and family might think – or about living a life true to yourself?

Do you care more about potential negative comments – or about making a difference in someone’s life?

Do you care more about society’s judgment on you – or to be a role model for others who really need you?

Bottom line is, you have great care in you. That’s awesome. But, you have to choose where you place that care. Either, you spill it on irrational fears or to something that truly matters. Ask yourself, “What matters more than what other people might judge, criticize or think about me?”

Is it about making a difference? Is it about spreading an important message? Is it about creating the life you truly want for yourself?

Seize through your worry.

So, now that you’ve found things you care more about, let’s look at 4 powerful ways to see through those worrying thoughts when the shit hits the fan.

1. Realize that it’s not about you

What other people say or think about you, isn’t a reflection of you – it’s a reflection of their wounds, experiences, and perspectives. It’s a mirror of their fears and limiting beliefs.

For example, when I left my corporate job to start a business I heard comments such as, “Do you even know how hard it is to start a business?” and “You left your well-paid marketing job to start a BLOG?!” At first, I took those comments very personally. Then, one day, it hit me – this was their fear and perception talking, not mine.

2. Know that you’re not a mind reader

Do you really know what people think of you? Or do you just assume? The thing is, assumptions can often lead to bad conclusions.

When I started working as a yoga teacher, several of my students looked angry during the course. It freaked me out to the degree that I even started changing the structure of the class. Then one day, one of the “angry” ones walked up to me and said that this was one of the best yoga courses she had ever taken.

She wasn’t angry, she was concentrated. So we might think we know what others think, but most of the time we don’t.

3. Get insights from your worry

Yep, there are valuable learnings here! Your worry or critique from someone could be telling you something important. Maybe it’s a key in helping you to get to where you want to be?

Since I started my business, I’ve been afraid of sounding sales like, desperate or just irrelevant when it came to selling. For a long time, that fear kept me stuck from communicating about my courses. Once I realized my worry, I could understand my fear and work with it. I didn’t want to push stuff onto people, I wanted my marketing to be valuable and entertaining, no matter if someone bought the product or not.

When I dared to look at what was stopping me, I gained a lot of insights into how I could move forward in a direction that is aligned with me. Voilà!

4. Stop judging yourself

Here’s the thing, we have an ability to think others judge us based on what we judge ourselves for. Pause and really take that in. What are you afraid others will say about you? What are you afraid they will think?

This is something you judge yourself for, right? So, who’s judgment are we really talking about? That’s right, your own. When we accept our flaws, imperfections, and stumbles and falls we have no need to fear judgment from others.

Care about things that truly matter.

When we feel insecure, frustrated, or in doubt, it’s easy to worry about what other people might think about us. But, that only leads to more fears, worries, and feeling stuck.

Instead, become aware of what matters more to you. Take your power back to where it belongs: YOU. Then deal, hands-on, with worries as they come up. Learn from them, see other people’s fears and struggles and choose to use it as fuel for your endeavors.

You and your caring matter immensely. Use it to create, not destroy.

Maria Stenvinkel

about the author

Maria Stenvinkel

Do you want to find your passion, make a career change, or live a purpose driven life? Maria Stenvinkel is on a mission to help people find work they truly love.


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