When You Want to Stop Caring About What Other People Think
When it’s a Problem
If you do any of these you’re spending too much time and mental energy worrying about what other people think:
- You’re not doing something that you want to do because you’re scared of people judging you.
- You’re ruminating on what people think of you.
- You struggle to make decisions when you don’t know what people will think.
Even though most people are thinking more about themselves than you I’m not going to lie and tell you that no one is judging you because people judge. But keep in mind that you can never know for sure what other people are thinking, nor can you control it. And people frequently make incorrect assumptions about what other people think.
Caring is Normal
Ironically, Even though you can’t ever know for sure what people think, trying to not care at all what anybody thinks is a losing battle and will involve lying to yourself. We’re wired to care about what people think of us for survival. If you don’t care at all it might mean you’re a sociopath.
The good news is that you can care about what others think while also being comfortable with the idea that some people might be judging you negatively. It doesn’t have to be a problem.
The key is to care more about what YOU think than what other people think.
How to Start Caring More About What You Think
- Get really curious about the situation: Start with whatever it is you are worried about being judged about and ask yourself a lot of why questions about what you are assuming, what you want, what you are scared of, and what’s at stake. Get clear on your values, and who you want to be, and consider possible outcomes. Don’t forget to imagine the best-case scenario (too many of you only imagine the worst)!
- Be specific: Who specifically are you imagining judging you, what do you imagine them thinking, and why does it matter to you? Seriously, be specific and detailed with your answers and make sure you’re writing this down because when you see it in writing you might immediately realize that your inner drama queen has taken over.
- Get meta: What do you think about your thoughts about them thinking about you?
- How are you judging yourself? In Kickstartology we say “Collect data not judgements” because when you add the weight of judgement to your self-evaluations it reduces clarity. High emotion leads to low intelligence.
Just so you know, the more you judge others, the more you will judge yourself and assume others are judging you. And it also goes the other way. Just saying.
Get on your own team
Learning to focus more on your own thoughts is something that will come more easily with practice. Once you know what you think, it’s much easier to accept that others have their own thoughts that may not even have to do with you. Once you dial down the feelings and it is easier to make decisions in your own best self-interest.
Remember, other people’s thoughts are never the problem, it’s your thoughts about other people’s thoughts that are holding you back.
Once you care more about what you think you might still have thoughts about what others think, and moments of self-doubt or fear, but it won’t hijack your brain. It feels so good to be on your own team.
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