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Stop worrying about what others think of you

Even if we deny it, we have all fallen into the trap of worrying a little too much about what others think of us.

Almost overnight, we went from complete anonymity to the games of social networks exposing our lives... our desires, our vacations, our setbacks, our cries of despair and our successes... While only the celebrities were under the spotlight, we too have become prey to human tabloids, anonymous people like us, who have transformed themselves into sensational reporters and can judge us, ridicule us or intimidate us at any time. This is certainly not a comfortable place for anyone, let alone highly sensitive people. Self-criticism is already a tyrant in our lives without adding the often gratuitous criticism of others.

woman thinking

So how can we deal with possible non-constructive criticism to which we are exposed today in life, in general?

Boycott the tools that bring us together and offer us information to which we did not have access before? This is a solution. But we are no longer in the days when we knocked on doors to sell our services. The Internet and social networks have become essential and so valuable when used well.

Would I have friends on other continents today? No. Yet just by writing this post, I am exposing myself to reactions. Am I procrastinating in my head, will I post this post or not? Yes. Is it fear? Yes.

Fear of being excluded or rejected, fear of receiving harsh and critical comments, a bit like at school, and for a large part of my life, where I did everything to hide my sensitivity and please everyone. Therefore, I let myself down at every moment by doing like everyone else.

So not only was I deceiving others, but I was deceiving myself.

A few years ago, when I was debating lies with a friend, she cut me off and said, “But you are the biggest liar I have ever known.” Imagine the freeze frame at that moment. I believe that on my face there were all the emotions, from astonishment to gloominess, from questioning to offense... including laughter because of the ridiculousness of this statement. Then she continued: “All your life, you played a role in never displeasing others, and often, to your detriment, you went above and beyond to please them.” At that moment…silence. I had never seen my “comedy” as a lie. It was one of those moments that not only stuck with me, but lifted a veil over what I was doing, and what the repercussions were. Treason to myself !

My thoughts went in all directions, thank you hypersensitivity! After a lot of work on myself, a change in attitude (which caused me some losses along the way), I was no longer in comedy but in tragedy, because of course, not everyone understood what happened to me when I started to say “no”.. But I was free! Authenticity had freed me from a huge burden.

In the labyrinth of my thoughts and deep work, one question always came up: Why?

Quite simply because I feared rejection because I was convinced that I was not enough. So I used to focus on other people's opinions to be appreciated and loved by everyone. During that time, I got lost in what others thought of me, instead of introspecting and working through the hurts and wounds I was hiding while playing a role.

It took a friend calling me a liar for the mask to fall, but what a relief!

So, what impact does worrying about what others think of us have on us?

I'm going to be harsh and blunt, but it impacts every area of our lives. Absolutely all of them. We can't be ourselves when we let fear of judgment and the opinions of others rule our lives. This means that we are not authentic and not in frequency with ourselves. It can prevent us from achieving our career goals, from being aligned with our outlook on life, and it can also undermine our relationships.

How can we have authentic and deep relationships if we only adjust “on demand” even if it means being in complete opposition to ourselves?

How can we feel real happiness for an accomplished project if it does not correspond to our view on the subject?

How can we not lose confidence in ourselves if ultimately this project is still criticized even though we executed it according to the “norm” while refraining from making our opinion heard or putting forward our vision?

By acting under fear, it can help us in the short term to relieve our feelings of rejection, because we can feign success, have some semblance of a rich social life and belonging. But in the long term?

In the long term, this will prevent us from reaching our full potential and asserting our uniqueness. This will block the path to new opportunities and halt our growth. By being in control mode all the time, we will never be able to be vulnerable, explore new relationships and ultimately have self-esteem.

How to stop?

So far from me the idea of no longer caring at all about the opinions of others, they also help us to grow, to improve, to open debates, to broaden our possibilities, to correct ourselves, to remain humble and also to have more empathy.

So the opinion of others has great advantages and benefits, if it does not become excessive and obsessive to the point of losing us in the equation.

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To remain authentic while being open to the opinions of others, here are some tips:

1. Know who you are

The first step to no longer restricting yourself for fear of what others will look at is very simple (on paper): get to know yourself inside out. The more sure you are about something (or someone), the less you will doubt it.

In order to be more comfortable with your image and to analyze the way you reflect it to people who cross your path, spend time with yourself. These moments will allow you to get to know yourself and gain confidence in yourself. By building this self-awareness and working to know your behaviors, boundaries, and beliefs, you will feel stronger about yourself and have less need to impress others. Knowing who you are, what your values are and what parts you can improve to try to be a better person, will be the only thing that matters.

2. Identify your personal values: the key to a life aligned with your convictions

Our core personal values are essential to our personal and professional success. They help us create a strong identity, make better decisions, build meaningful relationships or meet life's challenges with resilience and integrity. Identifying them, adhering to them and respecting them allows us to lead a more fulfilling and motivated life.

So rather than focusing on what others think, be clear and firm about your personal values. They are your moral compass and will help you not give so much importance to the opinions of others.

3. Accept criticism: a major asset for progress

First of all, it is essential to know what criticism is. Generally, criticism refers to something negative. A way of judging or devaluing a person. And indeed, some criticism can hurt and hurt. They can sometimes even call into question the existence of a person.

But, criticism is not just that! It is also the ability of a being to judge something at its fair value after having taken care to identify the merits and defects, but also the qualities and imperfections. This is a form of criticism based on a whole and not on a single impression.

You heard me about the definition of criticism and yet that doesn't stop you from hating it when others make remarks to you? You are not alone ! Criticism is easy, and no one likes to be the target. However, and paradoxically, if we are honest with ourselves, we are often on the other side of the fence commenting on the behavior or choices of another person. Very often too, we are also called upon to give our opinion on a job or on a situation, and we do not shy away. This therefore often puts us in the position of the critic. However, the situation is less pleasant to live with when we are the center of attention. We may feel like we are the subject of an undeserved trial. And yet, knowing how to accept criticism is a real asset to progress, because criticism is not only negative.

  • Criticisms help highlight areas for improvement

  • Criticism is useful for learning to accept your faults

How to deal intelligently with your detractors:

Keep your cool

Even if you feel angry or frustrated when receiving negative criticism, do not let your emotions carry you away by reacting in anger. On the contrary, keep your cool and listen carefully to your interlocutor. By remaining calm, you will be able to better understand their point of view and will have all the elements to provide an appropriate response.

Take the time to analyze negative reviews

Have you just received criticism, but were able to demonstrate Olympian calm? Congratulations ! You can now take a step back to deeply analyze what you have been accused of. With this in mind, answer the following two questions honestly:

Was it a justified criticism or a personal attack to hurt you?

Is the criticism received constructive to help you progress or too imprecise to be useful?

Adapt your response to the negative review received

Should you always accept negative reviews? No, you are not a punching bag! If you believe that a comment is not justified and is purely jealousy, spite or rivalry, you can:

  • Politely indicate that you have heard the remark, but that it is of no importance to you;

  • Don't waste your time and energy reacting.

On the other hand, if the criticism is well-founded and constructive, keep a positive state of mind! In this sense, recognize your mistakes without putting yourself down and deepen the discussion to learn from them. By officially admitting that you have room for improvement, you will demonstrate your excellent ability to question yourself, but above all you will take the first step on the path to progression.

Knowing how to accept criticism is a major asset for progress. Of course, you won't change in the blink of an eye. Learning to deal with blame takes a lot of work on yourself. But, by training yourself to master this superpower, you will be able to improve throughout your life.

test: are you highly sensitive?

4. Accept the diversity of opinions and therefore the fact that you cannot please everyone

The sooner you accept that everyone has their own opinions, and therefore that a person can have an opinion about you, the less power the criticisms and views of others will have over you.

It’s not your mission to please everyone, because that’s simply impossible. It's also not your job to convince someone that you deserve to be in their life or that you deserve to be loved. You can't control other people's judgment, but you can control how you respond to it.

So have confidence in yourself, in your values, and be authentic.

5. Don’t silence your vulnerability, honor it.

This is of course easier said than done, but allowing some judgments can be quite liberating. If you tend to worry a lot about what other people think, chances are you try to avoid getting into uncomfortable or difficult situations for fear of making a mistake. However, while this may make you feel more comfortable in the short term, in the long term it will only make you more afraid of what others think, and prevent you from sharing or being vulnerable.

So even if you are judged, reassure yourself that it is not up to you. However, remaining open to others and who you are is definitely worth it. Step out of your comfort zone and honor your vulnerability.

6. Learn to be uncomfortable

If some people are determined not to understand you, that's their problem, not yours. On the other hand, if you make a mistake, if you fail in a project or if you don't feel in your element in a task, it is not an end in itself. Don’t play it safe to avoid difficulties and the opinions of others. It could even have the opposite effect and make you even more anxious. Whatever happens, you will receive criticism during your life, so as much as it arises for things that are close to your heart, which represent you and which define you, rather than for things copied and pasted so as not to take any risk and align yourself with general opinion.

I can’t say it enough, be authentic. Authenticity will be your success. Being a replica (possibly mediocre, because it doesn't stick to you) of what everyone else is already doing will never make you stand out from the crowd. So stop worrying about what others think of you!

To conclude and move you forward, remember:

  • Even though humans are social creatures, programmed to want the approval of others, external validation can only remain healthy when it is expected within reason, to avoid letting them parasitize our minds;

  • Criticism or the opinion of others can be positive or negative, but only constructive and justified criticism is of interest, because it allows areas for improvement to be identified;

  • Remaining open to criticism and analyzing it is useful for accepting your faults;

  • You can't please everyone, so don't try and risk losing your dignity and not being in alignment with yourself;

  • By neglecting what makes up your personality - your talents, your beliefs and your values - to conform to what others think or do not think of you, you sabotage your potential by playing it safe so as not to be criticized or ridiculed. or rejected;

  • Above all, don't parasitize yourself, don't betray yourself. Be authentic, your success, your growth and your happiness depend on it!

I will end with my signature: “Be you… always!”


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