How To Stop Caring About What People Think Of You
Have you ever held yourself back from doing something that was really important to you or something that would have brought value to your life? Maybe you wanted to speak up in a meeting or make a bold business move to increase your sales or start a conversation with beautiful woman, but you held yourself back because you were worried about what other people might think of you.
This is one of the strongest forces affecting the confidence we need to go after what we want in life: What are they going to think of me? Today we’re going to dive into that fear and learn how to not be scared of what other people think.
The first thing you need to understand when facing this issue is that there is no hive mind. What do I mean by that? Let’s say you’re in a meeting and you have an idea that you decide to share with the group. Afterward, however, you start to tell yourself that everyone there thinks you sound stupid or that you don’t know what you’re talking about or that you’re not a good leader . . . everyone thinks you’re awful, right?
Our minds go there almost instantly—they lump everyone together, whether it’s three people or three hundred people: They all think ___. That’s the hive mind, and it doesn’t exist.
We convince ourselves that the other people around us share a brain, when the reality is, there is no “they.”
Everyone doesn’t look at you the same way. Let’s get realistic and consider what’s really going on while you’re taking a chance and speaking your mind: one person is engaged, one person is curious about what the results might be, one person is checked out because he’s thinking about his mortgage, and maybe one person thinks you suck (can’t win ‘em all). The response to anything we do is going to be complex and varied because we, as human beings, are all so different. No two people are the same, so no two people are going to have the same reaction to you.
This pattern of thought is so ingrained in us that it can pass under the radar. We have to notice it as it is happening and put a stop to it. We must remind ourselves that there is no hive mind.
Once we begin to understand that everyone thinks differently, and that everyone is not collectively out to destroy us, we can begin to understand where those negative thoughts come from in the first place. After all, if there is no hive brain, who creates all these negative affirmations in the first place? You do.
In clinical psychology, the tendency to displace unwanted feelings onto another person is known as “projection.”
Projection a defense mechanism that, in part, allows us to believe that our judgments about ourselves are really the judgments other people have about us. Whatever negative identity you associate with yourself—I’m not a good speaker, I’m not attractive, I’m not capable of making money, I’m not intelligent—that’s what you’ll imagine other people think about you. The psyche likes this because it allows you place the blame for your negative thoughts on someone else.
The good news is that once you discover the truth and stop projecting your negative thoughts onto other people, you can stop trying to control everyone’s perception of you (you’d be surprised how often people try to do that, and it’s a losing game).
What you have to do is start taking stock of how you view yourself and how to shift that view to get on your own side. How can you acknowledge how great you are in various ways while still taking note of areas that you want to work on? How can you approach your self-image with compassion and support for yourself?
You need to learn to shift your thoughts from awful opinions of yourself to thoughts that offer you a chance to move forward productively. If you really want to learn how to do that and take this work to the next level, check out my course, The Confidence Code. There’s an entire section in there on optimal self-coaching and recognizing the toxic ways you talk to yourself. The main thing to take away here, though, is to understand that there is no hive mentality and that you can adjust your perception of yourself in order to dissolve a lot of those fears.
You can “like,” subscribe, and share your questions and comments below. I always say that the best stuff happens after the episode, so I’d love to see what people have say about this topic: What thoughts and fears hold you back? What are you doing to move forward and shift your mentality? Dive into the conversation, because the more you focus on the work—and the more you learn from others—the more your life will transform.
I look forward to speaking with you in future episodes. Until we meet again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know that you’re awesome.