Do you struggle to make a decision without worrying about what other people might think? Read this.
If you’ve ever thought twice about posting an Instagram photo for fear of how many likes it’ll get or second-guessed the contexts of a message just in case you seem ‘too keen’, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to care about what other people think.
While caring about what other people think isn’t always a bad thing – it’s only natural to take the thoughts and feelings of those closest to us into account, after all – having the views of complete strangers direct your day-to-day decisions can quickly become problematic.
However, while most of us would like to adopt a more care-free attitude, getting to a point where you care less about what other people think isn’t always easy.
So, to help you get started, we asked Luke Kennedy, a motivational speaker, mental health advocate and author of the new book Sex, Drugs And A Buddhist Monk: A Stepping Stone Towards A Silent Mind to share his top tips. Here’s what he had to say.
1. Do some ‘inner-work’
One of the most valuable things you can do to help yourself care less about what other people think is get to know yourself a bit better.
This doesn’t need to be some massive journey of self-discovery – simply spending some time developing self-awareness will help you to feel more confident in what you think and your decisions.
“By building your self-awareness and doing work to understand your behaviours, labels, limitations and beliefs, you’ll feel stronger in who you are and reduce your need to try and impress others,” Kennedy explains.
“The only time you doubt your worth is when you’re trying to be someone you’re not because the mind’s idea of who you are is so fragile that a single word could make it crumble, leaving you feeling like you’re under attack.”
2. Flex your discomfort muscle
If you tend to care a lot about what other people think, chances are you try to avoid being in uncomfortable or challenging 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’ll only make you more fearful about what other people think.
“If you haven’t made a mistake recently, embarrassed yourself or felt awkward, you’re playing life too safe,” Kennedy says.
“Playing things too safe drops your resilience and results in the anxiety of trying to not ‘slip up’ in front of other people,” he continues.
“Build this resilience by making it a weekly practice to do one of the above – make a mistake that other people see, embarrass yourself, and lean into situations which make you a little nervous.”
3. Reflect on your people
Being around judgemental people will exacerbate any feelings of insecurity and self-doubt you might be feeling, so try to avoid spending time with those who make you feel this way.
“When you reflect on who you’re spending most of your time with, are they bringing you up or bringing you down?” Kennedy says.
“Do they leave you happy and inspired or drained and angry? Who we spend time with can dictate our behaviours and thoughts.
“If you are hanging out with judgemental people, you’re going to feel judged, and if you feel judged all the time, you’ll be in your head and concerned about what other people think.”
Sex, Drugs and a Buddhist Monk: A Stepping Stone Towards a Silent Mind by Luke Kennedy is published by Rockpool Publishing and is out in paperback on 13th October 2022 for £14.99.
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