5 Secrets to Worrying Less About What Other People Think - Dr. Kristie Overstreet | Certified Sex Therapist + Clinical Sexologist

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5 Secrets to Worrying Less About What Other People Think

June 15, 2020

So, there you are, stuck in your head with worry about, “What will they think?” You worry that they will think less of you. You think they’ll judge you. I get it. Regardless of how confident I am in different parts of myself, I’ve struggled with what others think.

I’ve worried about what my parents or someone back home will think when they see another post about my work as a sex therapist.

Or when someone asks, are you married, and I tell them I’ve been with my partner for over 12 years, and we don’t want to get married.

Or when someone asks, do you have kids, and I answer I love kids but, I don’t want any.

Each time I’ve felt I had to explain my decisions and make it smoother for someone to hear. That’s my issue, not theirs.

Over the years, I’ve worked on caring less about what people think. But small waves of worry still surface. Here are my five secrets to caring less about what other people think when these waves of concern hit.

1. They are not thinking about you; they are thinking about themselves.

Even though it may not feel like it, people aren’t worried about what you are doing. They are only thinking about themselves, even when they ask about you.

When your mind is spiraling about, “What will _________________ (insert name) think?” Remember that they are stuck in their thoughts, and they’re not about you.

Don’t give them your energy.

2. If they have something to say, it means you’re probably right and they can’t handle it.

If they talk about you or give you a hard time, it’s because you are doing something right. Whether it’s right for you or not depends on your decisions, but don’t wait on them to tell you that you’re making the right decision.

They may be jealous, insecure, or feel superior to you. It’s not your issue. It’s theirs. So, don’t get stuck in your head about it, let it go, and do you.

3. Let go of the ‘why’ because you won’t get an answer.

Have you ever thought, “Why can’t they just let me be?” or “Why do they care so much?”

Don’t get caught up in trying to understand the ‘why’ they behave a certain way or say something about you. The endless question of ‘why’ will keep you spiraling because you’re not going to get an answer.

Let go of your ‘why’ and move on.

4. Replace your ‘what if’ with ‘so what.’ 

It is easy to get caught up in the ‘what if’ questions when you worry about what others think of you.

For example, “What if they think _________________ (insert any worry)?”

Your ‘what if’ will keep you stuck in a spiral without an answer. The next time you catch yourself saying ‘but what if’ replace it with ‘so what.’

So, your new way of thinking is “So what if _________________ (insert your worry)?” Reframing it makes you realize that it isn’t such a big deal. It minimizes the potential outcome of your worry.

5. Try using empathy when you view the other person.

I know this sounds like a stretch, but hear me out.

Let’s say that you’re worried about what a family member or friend will think when you tell them a big decision you’ve made. Of course, you’re concerned because they will disagree and tell you that you’re making the wrong decision.

Instead of focusing on how you will convince them to agree with you or try to get them to understand why you’re making the decision, try to use empathy.

To do this, think about how hard it must be for them to hear your decision and come from a place of love when sharing with them. Empathize with them when they tell you their concern, but stay firm in your decision.

Using empathy doesn’t mean you change your viewpoint, stance, or decision. It just means you approach it differently. Saying to yourself, “It makes sense that their concerned about what I’m doing, but I’m staying firm in my decision.”

Staying focused on you doing you and not letting others sway your decision making can help build up trust within yourself.

It’s normal to worry about what others think of us because we’re human. But, we can’t let it change who we are or what we do. I hope you find my five secrets helping the next time you worry about what others think of you. With practice, I know you can feel in control of your thoughts and decisions while standing firm in who you are.

Let’s work together