Worry only about giving yourself the thumbs up, first and foremost. Image courtesy of sattva at freedigitalphotos.net
As human beings, who need other people, a part of this can be fear of rejection or fear of disapproval. When we are rejected or face disapproval from someone we value, it’s difficult – to varying degrees it is important to us that we are accepted and thought well of.
As a result of this, as social animals then, we can often care, to varying degrees what other people think of us. Do they like us? Are they judging us? How would we deal with others’ disapproval or gain their approval?
I am not sure what percentage of people have these concerns. However I am guessing that at least a large majority at some time, and to some extent, do care about what others think.
However this very human and I am guessing common issue of worrying about what others think of us can cause us trouble.
We can get so caught up in those concerns that we are ineffectual. For example in public speaking…we are on the look out for the expressions of the faces of our audience. If we believe, whether it is true or not that someone disapproves of us or rejects us, if this person is important to us it can be painful. As a result we can be distracted from carrying out our every day tasks.
Ideally, we would only care if we had our own approval. If we are able to truly say to ourselves “I am trying my best. I do sometimes make mistakes, but I am a worthwhile person” then we can carry on in a healthier way. We would only care about being true to our own values, and as long as we are not hurting someone else then if we do make a mistake we can just worry about personal forgiveness and then moving on.
When we begin to worry more about what others think of ourselves instead of or more than what we think of ourselves, we can risk behaving inauthentically. We can become distracted with what others think and start acting in ways that would win their approval not our own.
At the end of the day, and at the end of life itself, we face ourselves only ultimately. If we acted the best we could, in line with what we believed in, if we forgave ourselves even if others judged, we would move on.
I don’t want to risk at the end of my lifetime thinking someone approved of me but lost as to what I exactly thought of myself.
Secondly, we can never really guess what someone thinks. We can believe they approve, but that could just be the message they are conveying. We may think they disapprove, but deep down they aren’t judging us.
Thirdly, we can never ever “have all of the people approve of us, all of the time”.
I think as social animals, it is natural we are always going to care to some extent. However, if trying to win others approval, avoid risking disapproval or rejection is more important then what you think, or causes you great distress or worry,
at the end of the day think of your successes. Congratulate yourself. Validate yourself.
if you made mistakes, ask yourself “did I do the best I could with what I had”? If you didn’t, then you don’t want to have to forgive yourself for dwelling on the failures…ask yourself how you could have done better, resolve to do it, and move on.
put yourself mentally in the future…could you live with yourself?
if you feel you have particularly judgemental people in your life, invest time and energy into those who accept you for who you are.
Get a reality check. Do you think of others in this way? Probably not. Then why should they? Most people are too busy talking about other things, not you.
Remind yourself you are not the only one who regularly makes ‘mistakes’ or slips up on their goals. Everyone does.
remind yourself that a bigger mistake is wasting time and energy on worrying when you could be moving forward.
Be true to yourself, be honest with yourself, be your own judge, and remember even if others didn’t approve, is there anything you can do to change it? People will think what they will regardless. Take a mental note of exactly how much time you spend worrying about what others think.
At the end of the day it is what the man in the mirror thinks, that is important.