Why Do We Worry About What Others Think?

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I often hear people say, “I wish I didn’t care so much about what other people think.”

Or some people think of themselves as “people pleasers” and notice that a lot of time and energy end up being devoted to other people.

Wanting feelings of approval are common to most of us.  Nearly everyone is worried to some extent about how they appear to other people.

Human beings are social creatures.  We need each other in order to survive and thrive.

But just like anything else in our lives, there is a need to be able to find balance about considering others, and also doing things for our own individual needs and wants. 

Thinking about what others think is not always a bad thing: Part of having social conventions is so that we have an understanding of a shared moral code. 

We can thank this part of who we are to maintain social order!

Of course, when we end up worrying too much about what others think, we can end up being too careful and less spontaneous, which can amount to feelings of not knowing ourselves or living for others.

What Would it Mean to Live Your Life More on Your own Terms?

  • Recognize that most people care much less than you think. As much as we worry about the opinions of others, the majority of the time, others are busy worried about themselves. 
  • When you avoid judging others, you’ll worry less about people judging you.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people. When you have people that support you, you’re less worried about those that don’t.
  • It can be helpful to remember that it’s the unique parts of you that are the most valuable. It’s the unique parts of you that are the most valuable to the world. Another human quality we have is the ability to innovate, without our individual uniqueness, we would not have made the essential and progressive developments over time. 
  • Test the fear that others will judge by trying something you think that others won’t approve of and see what happens. Pay attention to what exactly it is that you are worried about.

A good resource is that discuses more about this is Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

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