Written by Jiovann Carrasco, LPC-S
Imagine all the ways being overly concerned about what others think about you has kept you from doing something important. Has it kept you from speaking up in a business meeting? Has it kept you from dancing at a party? Has it kept you from talking to that girl? Why do you avoid her when she only rejects you in your mind? We spend a lot of time trying to read other people’s minds. Here’s why that is mostly a waste of time.
People don’t think about you as much as you think they do.
It is you who are preoccupied with you. And guess what? They are most likely preoccupied with themselves. They are worried about what other people think of them! And this doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or don’t like you. They just happen to have a locus of observation that originates outside of your head. So leave them to their perceptions, regardless of how much space you think you deserve to take up in their consciousness.
Nobody is living their life at you.
Every day you will see people who you assume are doing much better than you. They’re prettier, thinner, wealthier, more confident, funnier, smarter, better dressed, and are much, much cooler than you. But they aren’t being who they are AT YOU. They’re living their lives the best they know how, regardless of how you measure up. Yet, we can be very judgmental toward these “better-off’s” as if they are shoving their success in our face. Being successful at us. And this goes for people whose opinions offend you, too. There is nothing that anyone can say that is not going to offend someone. If you have an opinion about anything, I guarantee you there is someone who is going to disagree. And if they do, it isn’t because of you.
Nobody can determine your worth.
The problem is not that others do not regard you as significant or worthy or whatever else you would like people to think of you. They do not have the power to determine your value. All they can do is confirm what you already believe about yourself. If you think you are worthless, nobody will ever convince you otherwise. And if you do value yourself, then other’s negative evaluations will just not matter a whole lot. So you have to . . .
Learn to love yourself.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all know that it’s true, but how do you do it? This isn’t easy, especially if you have a long history of devaluing yourself, which is often instilled by unsupportive parenting. We learn to love by being loved as children, so without loving role models we are left to figure it out on our own. But if you can, think of love as a verb, it may be easier to start. What does a parent do when they love their child? They quickly respond to his cries of distress. They hold and soothe him to bring him comfort. They spend quality time with him and give him special attention. They smile at him and would move heaven and earth to make him laugh. They feed him nourishing meals and are proactive about keeping him healthy. They tell him, “I love you!” several times everyday. When’s the last time you did any of those things for yourself?
You are your responsibility.
Take care of you and let other people think what they want. Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” You are the sculptor of your block of stone. And they are the sculptor of theirs. You can do nothing about theirs and they can do nothing about yours. So grab a chisel and get to work.
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Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.