Am I too sensitive?do I feel too much?
Asked by Dadu
Thank you for your message.
We all care, in one form or another, what others think of us and our choices in life. The funny thing is that it’s usually not a stranger in the street offering their opinion, but more often than not, a family member or a close friend. Someone’s opinion of you can have a huge impact on your life if you let it. But there’s a huge difference between caring and worrying about what other people think of you.
If you care, it’s more likely to mean that you respect their opinion and viewpoint and that you’ll consider and review it, but still choose to go your own way. However, if you worry all the time, this makes it a whole lot further and can soon affect your decision-making. You may become a people pleaser who listens to every opinion but your own, which, in the long term, can chip away at your self-belief.
It’s human nature to want to be liked and respected, but how much you care about what others think is up to you. With this in mind, I would like to share some reminders about what to remember when you care too much about what others think of you. (I'm sharing that with myself as well)
People don’t think about you as much as you think they do.
Most of the people around you think in terms of themselves and what affects them and their lives. You and your choices rarely come anywhere near their radar, and if they do, it’s not as often as you might think. Think about it for a moment: how often do you think about a decision your friend has just made? Okay, maybe for the first few minutes, but I very much doubt you sit there consciously thinking and fretting about it for days on end.
It’s none of our business.
What people think about us is their business and not ours. Even if you find out what their opinion is of you, it cannot change who you are or how you live your life. The only way it changes your life is if you let it control you and make other people’s thoughts your priority. You really cannot control what other people think, so give up now and concentrate only on what you think about yourself.
The one and only unique you.
This is a great one to remember. When you worry about what other people think of you, you start to let it take away your individuality, and you think you should conform in some way. Instead, look at it differently and remember that you are the only version of yourself: you are unique, special, and perfect in your own way. Treasure your uniqueness, get all your hair cut off if you want to, wear some outrageous clothes, and get that piercing you’ve always wanted to get. Be who you are. Respect that and you will be much happier.
Why does it matter to you anyway?
How does it really affect you and your life if someone disapproves of something you’ve done or said? Are you going to change every time someone says they don’t like something? I think not. Try to imagine whether a comment about how you look or what you say will really matter to you in a week or so. If you try to look at things in this way, you’ll save a lot of worrying for nothing.
How do we exactly know what others think anyway?
If we have ‘special powers’ and are well-versed in using a crystal ball, we’ll know what people are thinking. But so far I have not met anyone who has that power yet besides those in the movies, so my question is: how do you know what others are thinking? You see, the problem here is our thinking, and what we are assuming they are thinking. Interesting, don’t you think? Will we ever fully know what others think? If not why are we trying so hard?
So unless we can read minds, give up caring about how others think of us might be wise.
Accept how other people think of you is their problem, not yours.
How many times have you looked at someone from a distance, judged them by their appearance, and then subsequently met them and changed your whole opinion? Many times, I am sure. You see, you never really get the full picture about someone, not really. So if someone forms an opinion about you without all the information and based on superficial things, then that’s their problem, not yours. Let them worry about it while you get on with your life knowing the full story.
Choose to be mindful of yourself and present at all times.
This is about working out how you want to feel on a day-to-day basis. Do you want to be consumed with constant thoughts about other people and what they think of you? Stop worrying about a past comment or worrying about something someone ‘might’ do or say in the future. Be ever present in the here and now and remember that you have full responsibility for your own thoughts. It all boils down to how you want to live your life. Do you want to be miserable and a people pleaser, or a happy, good person who understands that some people have opinions, but it’s your choice whether to let it affect you or not? That is life!
Surround yourself with people who accept you.
Being able to count on good friends is important for your health and mind, so perhaps it’s time to avoid spending time with people or family who doesn’t accept your way of life or the choices you make. There will always be some people who don’t agree with you, so you can either choose to ignore them or move on without them. Remember to surround yourself with the positive, uplifting, and inspiring people who accept you, warts and all.
Everyone cares what others think about them.
You are not alone in this thinking. Everyone else has the same cares, worries, and thoughts. It’s human nature to do this. So next time someone criticizes you, try to imagine it from their point of view. Perhaps you are bringing something out in them that they wish they could do, so their first reaction is to put you down. Be mindful of this and you’ll rest a whole lot easier when you sleep at night.
Be true to who you are.
Being who you are means being honest and speaking out even if it scares you to death. Today nearly everyone is on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Posting our status updates, our pictures, and sharing our most intimate stories seems to be the norm, so if you are going to do it, do it with honesty and integrity. Speak your mind and do not worry what other people think. As long as you aren’t setting out to intentionally hurt anyone, do it with pride. Above all, don’t fake it. Be who you are and those who care about you will accept you, while those who don’t want. So stop apologizing, stop just existing, and start living!
Hope this will light up your path in being more of yourself and spending less energy chasing after an answer that we will never ever find: what others think of us.
After all, please remember that as you are thinking what others think about you, everyone with whom you come into contact also is guessing and caring what you think about them. We are all in this boat together.
Looking forward to talking with you more, enjoy learning and practicing each day :)
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)