How to Stop Caring About What Other People Think

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Life can be hard enough without always worrying about what other people think. How can you ever expect to relax if you are constantly concerned about how others are viewing you? It’s time to take a step back and look at how much the opinions of other people or your perceived ideas of how they are viewing you are affecting your daily life and your overall standard of living.

If you are living your life constantly checking how you look, watching what you say and how you behave, it is time to shake off this obsessive behaviour, and start living your live for yourself and not for the benefit of the people around you.

Don’t Over Analyse

Despite what you may be telling yourself, you are not the centre of the universe and the people in the street are not judging your every move. Truth be told the people that you see on the street probably don’t even notice you let alone pay you any attention. Think about how you view the world, do you make a judgement about every person that you see on a crowded street, do you mentally judge their clothes, hair or the way that they carry themselves? If you do then you probably need to sort it out for more than just your own self-conscious behaviour. In reality you probably pay them very little attention at all, focussing instead on how they are perceiving you when the truth is you are barely a blip on their radar. One way of testing this theory is to do something totally out of character to what you would normally do; the chances are that the only people who would notice any difference in your behaviour are your close friends, to the man on the street it would mean nothing.

Gain Some Perspective

Try talking with your closest friends; ask them how they feel when they walk down the street, find out whether they are concerned about how other people view their appearance and their behaviour. You will probably find that they really don’t care, that there are more important things in their lives that require their attention much more than worrying about whether a random stranger pays them any attention or not. Once they discover how you feel and how your life is dominated by worrying about what other people think they will probably all offer the same advice along the lines of ‘life is too short to spend your time worrying about things that don’t matter’ or ‘you need to enjoy your life and stop worrying about what other people think’.

Give Yourself Time

Change doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time for you to alter your thought process but it can be done. What you need to understand is that people’s opinions change all the time and there is no way that you could possibly dress or behave in such a way as to please everybody that you meet, it a physical impossibility, so instead, focus on dressing and behaving in such a way that it pleases you. Whatever you feel you were being judged on one day could be of no significance at all the following day, you need to gain perspective on your life and give yourself time to accommodate the changes that you need to make.

Be Confident

The clothes that we wear are a form of self-expression, we generally wear clothes that are comfortable and that make us feel good. There are times when we will all give a passing thought to what someone else thinks of us, for example when we are trying out a new style of making a bold colour statement, but what you need to do as a constant worrier is to limit the amount of times that you give the matter constant thought, so that you find it happening less and less. If you feel confident in what you are wearing and what you are doing it will show, and the other thoughts or opinions that others will have of you is that you look confident and happy, no more than that. They won’t care about your colour choices or the way that you walk or whether you are wearing a hat or not, it is all insignificant.

Emotional Control

When you start to alter you behaviour you will find that you also have to compete with some new or mixed emotions about the whole process. You will probably start to feel stressed and fearful about what the changes are going to mean to you, and as the process goes on your feeling will alter again as the stress alleviates and you start to relax and feel a sense of relief and happiness. And therapy or process of change will set you off on a roller coaster of emotions and you need to learn how to control the ride and see it through to the end. Here are some tips on gaining control of your emotions:

  • Identify the emotion that you are experiencing i.e. fear, anxiety or worry.
  • Monitor the emotion as though it was a separate entity in your mind’s eye.
  • Note that if this emotion is totally separate to you, it can never be a part of you.
  • As you disengage from the emotion watch as it disappears.
  • Be aware that as soon as you observe an emotion you are placing yourself outside of it, separating yourself from it and once separate from you it can no longer survive.

Self-Acceptance

Start accepting yourself for who you are. If you are constantly judging yourself and the way that you look are act you cannot possibly have self-acceptance, and unless you accept who you are you will never be able to but your paranoia about what other people think behind you. Try this exercise to get you into the correct mind set.

  • Make a list of all of the things about yourself that you are not happy with.
  • Look at the list and see if you can actually change any of those things to make them more acceptable. For example if you don’t like your hair, go and get it cut.
  • The things that you can’t change, such as your height need to be the first things that you learn to accept.

Revisit your list every couple and months to see how well you are getting on accepting the things that you can’t change, and get that list narrowed right down until it is unnecessary.

Things to Remember

Always remember that you are in control of your own life, you are responsible for your actions and feelings. You have no control over the way that other people think or view the world around them. Accept that you are who you are and life will start to be fun, let your personality shine and start living your life for yourself without giving a thought to how others see you and worrying what they may think.

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About the author

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Keith Hillman

Keith Hillman is a full time writer specializing in psychology as well as the broader health niche. He has a BSc degree in psychology from Surrey University, where he particularly focused on neuroscience and biological psychology. Since then, he has written countless articles on a range of topics within psychology for numerous of magazines and websites. He continues to be an avid reader of the latest studies and books on the subject, as well as self-development literature.

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Keith Hillman

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Keith Hillman is a full time writer specializing in psychology as well as the broader health niche. He has a BSc degree in psychology from Surrey University, where he particularly focused on neuroscience and biological psychology. Since then, he has written countless articles on a range of topics within psychology for numerous of magazines and websites. He continues to be an avid reader of the latest studies and books on the subject, as well as self-development literature.