How To Stop Worrying About What Other People Think

by Raven Ishak

If you're anything like me, you constantly worry about what other people think about you. You probably want everyone to like you and might completely stress out when you sense someone doesn't. But why does this happen? Why should someone else's thoughts about you determine how you should feel about yourself? In reality, there's absolutely no way everyone in the whole world is going to like you. And let's be honest: you're not going to like everyone either. So why stress out over something you can't control? Well, there might be a legitimate reason.

"We worry about what others think only when we do not value ourselves enough. The single most important way to release the judgement of others is to stop judging yourself. Ask yourself, 'What would life look like if I suddenly stopped giving away my power?' For some, that is a scary thought, because the answer is ultimately that you are responsible for your journey. There is a safety in being judged actually; we can blame someone else for being stressed or nervous, etc. However, when we release that and own our own path, we suddenly melt into confidence and with that self-trust, comes indifference to others' opinions," says zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva in an interview with Bustle over email.

It's important to remember that no one in the world can determine your self-worth besides you. And there's no need to worry about what other people think, because no one is perfect and their opinions should not change how you should feel about yourself. But if you're having a hard time letting go of this worry, here are 13 ways to stop worrying about what other people think about you.

1. Accept That Other People Have Different Opinions

Remember that it's totally OK for someone to have a different opinion than yours. Because that's exactly what it is: an opinion, not a fact. You don't want to change yourself just so someone can like you. It's not worth it. They should like you for you. "Accept that others may have different opinions or may think in a negative fashion about you. This is OK and you are OK. If there isn’t a diversity of opinions about you, then you would just be a chameleon," says psychologist from LiveHealth Online Dr. Jennifer Gentile, PsyD, MMHS, in an interview with Bustle over email.

2. Write Down Your Thoughts

If you're having a hard time letting go of your worries, try writing them down so you can review them later on. "If you have no one to talk over your worries with you can write them down, put them in a sealed envelope, and put the envelope away for a few days. You can then read the worries after a couple of days. Were they that big of a deal? You might find that they seem unimportant now. If not, then find someone to talk to and a way to solve the problem that is worrying you," says Gentile.

3. Keep In Mind That People Focus More On Themselves

Honestly, people are so concerned with their own faults and insecurities that they might not even notice the things you're worried about. "Most people are too self-involved to worry so much about others so likely others aren't as interested or critical to be thinking about you," says Gentile.

4. Challenge Your Thoughts

Every time you start to worry about what other people think of you, ask yourself why you're concerned with their opinions. "Think about whose opinions you are worrying about. Are they people who are important to you? Do you respect their opinions?" says Gentile.

5. Think Positively About Yourself

It can be easy to worry about what other people think of you when you don't feel great about yourself. Don't downplay your personality just because someone says something negative about you, especially if it makes you feel insecure. "Recognize that the inside of us is always looking at the outside of everybody else and, because our insides may feel inadequate, insecure, and anxious, we think others will see this, when actually their insides might be looking at our outsides and thinking the same thing," says Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW in an interview with Bustle over email.

6. Try Not To Engage With Your Negative Thoughts

Even though it's natural to have negative thoughts every once in a while, you don't want things to escalate by engaging with them. "Do not engage with thoughts that are concerned with what people think of you and instead, say to yourself, 'Oh, there’s that old, silly thought again. I’m going to ignore it,'" says Koenig.

7. Focus On Yourself, Not On Other People

While it might be hard to not focus on what other people think of you, it's important to remember to take their opinion with a grain of salt. Instead, just focus on yourself. "Focus on what you think of yourself and feel proud of yourself above all else," says Koenig.

8. Listen To Your Inner Voice

Just because someone has an opinion about you doesn't mean that it's right. Take a moment to listen to your inner voice to help guide you in the right direction so you can live a more positive and healthy life. "We want to be liked and accepted. It’s in our social DNA. However, we need to work towards listening to our inner voice; it will bring us the most piece of mind. Worrying is a counterproductive use of our time and energy and can lead to anxiety. There’s a time to absorb outside opinion and a time when we need to cancel it out as unnecessary noise," says Jess Weiner, confidence expert and CEO of Talk to Jess, in an interview with Bustle over email.

9. Exercise

Not only is exercise good for your body, it can provide you the mental strength to overcome your worries and stress. "It’s as beneficial to your body as it is to your mind. Focused breathing and releasing endorphins can be incredibly cathartic. The clarity a sweat session produces brings perspective and promotes self-discovery — the journey we take to better understand who we are," says Weiner.

10. Challenge Yourself To Do Something That Scares You

Who has time to worry about what other people think when you're too focused on making yourself a better person, amiright? "Afraid of heights? Try bungee jumping. Scared of water? Take swimming lessons. Whenever we are pushing ourselves past fear, it can focus us on our own inner growth instead of looking for outside approval. It builds the relationship you have with yourself and makes it stronger," says Weiner.

11. Be Grateful For The People Who Truly Know You

Your friends love you for you. Don't let someone else make you feel small when you already have a great circle of friends. "Focus on the gratitude for the people who truly know you. Studies show that gratitude has a significantly positive effect on mood," says licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Kim Chronister in an interview with Bustle over email.

12. Remember That Their Thoughts Don't Alter Your Life

Just because someone doesn't think highly of you doesn't mean that it's going to destroy your life. Let them think that way because everyone is entitled to their own opinions. "Remember you have a 'Real Life' outside of work and school that gives you authentic joy and support," says Chronister

13. Become Centered

Rather than focusing on what other people think, concentrate on making yourself feel better from within. "Engage in physical activity, mindfulness, and stay connected with people who like you unconditionally," says Chronister.

Remember that you are perfect just the way you are and you don't want to waste your energy worrying about what other people think about you. Focus on yourself, listen to your inner voice, and don't engage with your negative thoughts. The only opinion that matters is yours and yours alone.

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