How to cope with feeling anxious about what others might think about you…
Worrying about what our friends, family, classmates or even strangers think about us can be exhausting. It can become a great source of anxiety, a niggling, negative voice in the back of your mind. You begin to second-guess others’ thoughts. You choose your words and actions carefully, scared to share your true voice because you worry that you’ll be judged.
You might also:
- Avoid certain people because you’ve convinced yourself that they don’t like you
- Agree to things you don’t really want to because you don’t want to give anyone a reason to be angry or upset with you
- Be indecisive because you’re afraid someone might not like your choices
These are all signs that you may be worrying too much about what others think. This can affect your own self-confidence and make it difficult to live your life the way you truly want to. It’s not easy to stop caring about what others think about you but here are some things to think about to help you stop worrying so much:
- Most people don’t actually care.
Let’s think for a moment. Those worries you have about what people will think of your clothes, your hair, your favourite band… we all have those. Every single one of us. Think about when you’re out and about – do you really give much thought to what others around you are wearing or doing? The answer is, ‘not really’. We’re all much too busy worrying about our own insecurities to give much thought to anything else. Once you realise that everyone else has similar worries and the occasional crisis of confidence, you’ll find it easier to stop worrying about what others think.
- Remember that your voice matters.
You may have been so careful with your words and voicing your opinion that you’ve forgotten how valuable and important your voice truly is. You may even feel as if you’ve ‘lost’ your true self because you’ve spent so long conforming or adapting your thoughts and behaviour to be as agreeable and likable as you can.
Remind yourself that it’s OK to have a different opinion to someone else. It can help to write down the things you like and the things you don’t to remind yourself of your true voice.
- Surround yourself with the right people.
Being around people who bring us down can be really damaging to our self-confidence and mental health so make sure you’re around people who are good for you. Good friends will talk you up and help you to recognise your strengths – they respect your opinions and value you for who you really are.
- Realise you can’t please everyone.
This is the key point to remember – it is impossible to be liked by everyone. Even the most popular person in a room is disliked by someone, somewhere. There will always be someone who judges you at some point in your life, but they don’t matter. What matters is the people you care about most. It’s much better to be respected, loved, and valued by a handful of special people you genuinely care about than liked by everyone.