By Nadine Araksi, Toronto-based Story Coach

The One Where She Stopped Letting Other People’s Opinions Decide Her Future

“Oh! But how would that look?”

You want to do something that feels bold, but you worry about other people’s opinions. What will they think? It stops you from going for it. Oh, you couldn’t be the person who does THAT thing! How would it look?

Like many kids of immigrant parents, I grew up in a house where everything we did as kids was measured against how it would make the family look. “But what will they say?”

Who were “they?” The aunts and uncles, the family friends, the religious leader, and the community at large. Anyone whose opinions may influence our family’s social standing (and, therefore, opportunities) in our tiny community.

(Needless to say, it did not go over well when I decided to get divorced as the mom of two at 42.)

Are you stuck in: “But what would they say?”

What will they say if you wear that outfit? Take up hip-hop dance classes? Decide to walk away from your “safe” career or announce that you’re launching a business?

I meet so many women who are hiding because they’ve experienced rejection, failure or loss in the past, and it’s caused them to create protective behaviours around themselves. They have unresolved shame around being seen, perhaps from a long-ago event that felt embarrassing or deeply uncomfortable. They fear that stepping into the spotlight will leave them vulnerable to judgement or ridicule. A 2015 study found that this kind of avoidance is more common in those prone to anxiety. (Funsies!)

When I come across women who are hiding due to fear of embarrassment, I get goosebumps because the Kickstartology Alignment tools can help, and fast! Once you recognize that your past experiences are affecting your present and future and decide you really want to change that, it’s time to build up a stronger, more resilient self-image—something we spend a fair bit of time on in the program because it takes practice.

We also have 20 Laws of Alignment in the program. And when trying to rewrite our stories around fearing judgement or needing validation, two helpful ones are:

  • “Collect data, not judgements.”
  • “Stop being an a$$hole to yourself.”

Why you worry about other people’s opinions

When you worry you’ll be judged, it’s often because you are judging yourself. Fortunately, we can teach you how to reframe that thinking and move towards what you want with more confidence and ease. We’ll show you how to tap into deep self-compassion. How to avoid being a judge-y a-hole to yourself, using curiosity to collect information that will help you make decisions more quickly, without mind-drama, overthinking and spinning. And when you’re working towards a self-image that resonates, you’ll learn that what you want for your life matters more than what anyone might say about you. And then: Look out, world!

While for me, that looked like recognizing I’d outgrown a relationship and starting over as a single person in my 40s, your change doesn’t have to be so huge. But no matter what kind of change you’d like to experience, it’s about giving yourself permission to try the new (without the weight of other people’s opinions) and seeing how it goes, self-judgement-free.

So imagine doing that thing if you didn’t fear the “What will they say?” What might that feel like? If you’re tired of letting others dictate who you are and what you do, and you’re ready to define yourself in this next stage of your life, book an exploration call to see how we’d apply the Alignment Framework to where you want to go.

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