We all want to be liked and accepted. However, many of us spend far too much time and energy worrying about how others perceive us. This makes us question ourselves; we become people-pleasers and we stop living in the present moment. It is almost impossible to be yourself when you are caught up in constantly worrying and wondering: • ‘What will they think if I wear this?’ • ‘What will they think if I say that?’ • ‘What will they think if I change career?’ • ‘What will they think if I date him?’
Yep. I’ll be honest...the above worries were all mine.
Worrying about what other people thought of me was the main reason that I held myself back in my business as an Image Consultant in 2007.
Worrying about what other people think affects your relationships; your career; your choice of hobbies; your health and ultimately your LIFE.
This keeps us stuck. This keeps us waiting in the wings.
This is not a way to live.
Here are 6 steps to help you break free and release the need for approval:
1 :: Get out of the vicious cycle
If you find you are changing yourself for one person what’s to stop you from changing when another person or group may not like you? Keep doing this and you will end up on a vicious cycle of continuously trying to please people. Become aware of where you do this. Awareness is the first step to any change.
2 :: Define WHO ‘they’ are
Do you even know who you are worried will criticise you? Write down WHO you fear judgement from. Are ‘they’ your parents, partner, peers? Often ‘they’ can be complete strangers.
3 :: Tot up the price YOU are paying
Get really honest with yourself here! Ask yourself what price you are paying by worrying about others' perceptions of you. Are you putting your career, relationships or even just being yourself on hold? Think of all those wasted years. When I realise that I was putting the opinion of people (who I didn’t even particularly like!) stop me from changing my career, I knew enough was enough. Where are you on hold for fear of what ‘they’ might say or think? How different would your life be if you released this fear?
4 :: It’s NONE of your business
"What you think of me is none of my business," Terry Cole Whittaker.
If you are worrying about what people think about you then you're attaching yourself to an outcome that you have absolutely no control over. Because, try as you might, you have NO CONTROL over what people say, do and think about you! Not only will people think what they like about you but they are entitled to. Your job is reminding yourself that your worth has absolutely NOTHING to do with others. Your self-worth is the relationship you have with yourself. People’s thoughts, even the ones about you, are their own business.
5 :: Realise how SELDOM they do
“You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realise how seldom they do,” David Foster Wallace
I realised I was making myself far too important in other people’s lives. How much of ‘their’ precious twenty four hours a day do you think they are devoting to thinking about you and your supposed inadequacies? Most people are far too busy focusing on themselves and their own lives.
6 :: Work out whose opinion REALLY matters
You could go through your whole life waiting for others to fully accept you. Sadly, you will probably never get ‘their’ permission. I have seen through my own personal experience, and that of my clients, that the person you really require the acceptance from is YOURSELF.
The higher your self-esteem the more you value yourself; the more you value yourself and your decisions the less you need others' approval. Self-acceptance is the key to going after your dreams regardless of what others may think.
If you struggle with accepting yourself book a Discovery Call to find out how I can coach you to gain the confidence and self-worth you deserve.
In what areas of your life are you worrying about what 'they' think? I'd love to read your comments in the boxes below.
Until next time,
Photo credit: Pinterest