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Do You Worry About What Other People Are Thinking of You?


To afflict with mental distress or agitation; make anxious; to move, proceed, or progress by unceasing or difficult effort; to feel or experience concern or anxiety; fret


A view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter; belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge; a generally held view; a formal expression of judgment or advice by an expert

“You don’t know how much I don’t care about what you
think of me!”

That was the opening statement of a speaker at a conference I attended. He was making the point that he was not interested in any unsolicited opinions.

In previous posts, I have discussed Narcissism—where individuals are completely self-centered—and how that unhealthy condition can impair normal functioning. In this article, I suggest that the opposite character trait also can be destructive—where we constantly worry about what others are thinking about us.

Now before you deny you are part of that “worry” mindset, think back to any time in your life where your behaviors and/or actions were driven by what other people might think or say about you. I am not talking about illegal or rude behavior . . . just normal actions.

Last month, one of my family members wanted me to change the shirt I was wearing. According to them, it was out of style. They wanted to see me in something more modern. Now the person does have a keen eye for fashion, but isn’t fashion simply society’s take on what’s currently “in”? I didn’t care about the style, but they did.

Here’s my point: Whose thoughts should matter to you? Yours!

In today’s social-media-driven society, individuals can rant online to anyone about anything. I recall seeing on YouTube two total strangers communicating in a very abusive way about a TV show. Why engage in such juvenile behavior?

One psychologist noted in her research that we have become a reflective-criticism society—“Looking for the negative in just about everything and telling everyone else about it.” That’s a sad commentary on the current direction of our culture.

Although many marketers suggest our client communities can provide invaluable feedback about our businesses (I partially agree with that), the criticism or critique should never apply to our personal and professional lives. If I am constantly responding to what others say about me and who I am, what do I stand for?

You can’t stand for anything if you base your life and your decisions on what other people say about you; you would have to shift and change constantly, according to the numerous opinions of others.

Yes, we want to be liked and respected by others but that should not be a goal or an objective.

Our goal should not be to fit in,
but to be real, be seen, and be authentic in who we are!

Many individuals are living a life that is being projected on them by others. They are busy worrying about what others think of them, rather than embracing their own values, goals, and desires.

Unless your conduct is unethical, immoral, or illegal, don’t worry about what other people think.

Dan Shechtman is an example of someone who did not worry. He was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry—for the discovery of quasicrystals. For 10 years, Dan’s colleagues had abandoned him and called him nuts; many professional societies and affiliations rescinded his status as a “member in good standing.” Even a previous Nobel Prize winner openly criticized Dan’s work . . . until Dan’s research findings were independently verified. What if Dr. Shechtman had listened to the noise from others? His breakthrough discovery never would have happened.

Unfortunately, the truth is that if you are making a difference or stand for something, the haters may appear. One expert in professional development says she stays sane from all the hate emails through reading this statement on her wall.

“Don’t try to win over haters. We are not jackass-whisperers.”

It simply means ignore the comments from the mean-spirited individuals, they are not worthy of your time, energy, or space.

Read and consider the Action Steps below to help you maintain a direction that is not driven by popular opinion or worry about what other people might say.

Action Steps

Do You Worry About What Other People

are Thinking of You?

  1. Do you worry about what others think about you? If Yes, exactly what do you worry about?
  2. What has it cost you to let the opinion of others influence your decisions? For example, did you turn down a new job or opportunity?
  3. Do you try to fit in? Why? Why not?
  4. Do you believe in being seen and authentic for who you really are? Why? Why not?
  5. Have you decided to do something because of peer or societal pressure/expectations? Do you know exactly why you made that decision?
  6. Think of a time when you did not fit in and you did not worry about what others thought. How did you feel?
  7. Create “a shortlist” of close family, friends, or advisors whose opinion you do value.
  8. Remember: Haters have their own issues. Don’t engage them or try to convert their opinion. That’s a waste of emotional energy.
  9. To assist you on your journey to choosing life and relationships on your terms, clarify your values and style through CRG’s Values Preference Indicator(VPI)and the Personal Style Indicator (PSI).
  10. To help you understand your tendencies and to become equipped to be yourself and realize your strengths and potential, take our eCourse The Quest For Purpose so you live your purpose!
  11. In the end, it is your life—not someone else’s! Do what is right for you without infringing on someone else’s space. I encourage you to stop worrying about what other people might or might not think—or say—about you. Your life is way too important to put into someone else’s hands.

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose.


Ken Keis

The Quest For Purpose eCourse
is designed to Show You EXACTLY how to find Purpose in Life!

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