The start to my new year has taken on the theme of focusing on overcoming the fear of what others think. As a result, I have had a few enquiries from people around what I do to work on overcoming this fear. So here are some short and sweet pointers to consider for anyone who may be working on living a life which meets with their own approval, rather than that of anyone else.
If you are feeling anxious about what others think, remember…
It is important to mind your self-talk.
Paying attention to the opinions that you share silently with yourself during the day will give you a clue as to how much love and belief that you are offering yourself. In fairness, it is hardly fair to expect others to think and speak supportively about you if you are unable to do it for yourself. If you can catch the negative words that run through your mind about yourself, and acknowledge that by nature, we humans are usually subjectively harsh on ourselves, you may be able to detach from your own judgement. This would help to create a supportive setting within yourself to facilitate communication without the fear of criticism.
What other people think of you is none of your business.
You cannot control what other people think. You are just responsible for yourself, your own thoughts, actions, and essentially your own happiness. You are never going to be liked by or gain approval from every single person you meet no matter what approach you take in life, so why stress yourself out by fighting a losing battle. Acknowledging that you only have control over your own actions and destiny will help you to embrace living a life that fulfils you.
Others may criticise your choices for 5 minutes, but you are living your own life 24/7.
Try not to give such importance in your mind to the people who criticise. In fact, all is not always as it seems. Many people who spend time discussing what others are doing in their lives are often avoiding a void or issue in their own personal lives. It is easier for them to criticise the choices of others rather than acknowledge challenging areas of their own circumstances. So remember not to allow their own level of uncomfortableness to be the cause of yours too.
Give people the benefit of the doubt.
If you have had negative experiences of being judged harshly in your past at some stage, your default setting may become to expect it. But it is important to realise that not everyone is out to rain on your parade. Some people may even surprise you! Keep an open mind and try to see the good in people as far as possible unless they give you reason to see otherwise. Choose to surround yourself with people who encourage you to be true to you, and openly love you for being yourself, even if it is only a handful of people. Quality over quantity in terms of the types of connections you have in your life is always a good approach.
It is beneficial to your health to be true to yourself.
If you are living a life that is inauthentic, the stress and pent-up energy within from feeling unfulfilled can take its toll on your system, leaving you feeling low and/or anxious. These feelings can also manifest into physical ailments related to stress, such as migraines, low immune system, insomnia, IBS etc. So you owe it to your overall health to be true to you.
Being true to yourself may inspire others.
If you are speaking your truth and living an authentic life, yes, there will be people who live in fear of your openness or of the insecurity it might subconsciously trigger within them. But there will also be those people who see your authenticity as a prompt to embrace the same type of approach to life for themselves. So be brave when you feel you can be, as you never know who you are inspiring. It may also benefit you too to be surrounded by like-minded people.
There are many ways to embrace self-expression.
Find something that you love, maybe the written word, or another artistic expressive outlet. It may be even through something as simple as the style of clothing that you choose to wear. When you are immersed in a practice that makes you feel fulfilled, you will be brought along by the positive flow of the experience, so much so that you just might forget about the wider world, or that tendency to fear being judged. On a personal note, embracing both dancing and writing has helped me to transition, and to begin to ‘lock in’ that sense of being true to me. If you can find a way that works for you, little by little, you will notice your authentic essence coming forward, without having to make any massive conscious effort to force it, and without fear attached.
Day by day!