How to stop worrying about everyone else
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Caring about what other people think of you is part of being a normal human being.
In fact, scientists in one study found that the reward center in people's brains was active when they were told that someone approved their taste in music.
It's only a problem when you're consumed by worries about your reputation — when every decision about what to wear, who to hang out with, and even what career to pursue are based on the fear of looking stupid.
Unfortunately, this habit is hard to shake. To help you out, we consulted the Quora thread, "How can I stop worrying about what other people think?" and highlighted the most compelling responses.
Read on to embrace the full experience of being yourself.1. Remember that people aren't that interested in you
Several Quora users mentioned that people generally don't care about you as much as you think they do.
Sibell Loitz, for example, prompts readers to consider how much time they spend thinking about others and their behavior: "not that much time."
Psychologists call the tendency to overestimate how much other people pay attention to you the "spotlight effect." In a 2000 study, highlighted on Tech Insider, people were asked to attend a party wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Barry Manilow on it (it was supposed to be embarrassing).
Sure enough, those people significantly overestimated how much the other people at the party noticed their t-shirt.2. Tell yourself a different story
No one can make you think or feel a certain way — it's all about the way you interpret their behavior. So by changing that interpretation, you might be able to make yourself think and feel more positively.
Karen Renee gives an example. Maybe you habitually tell yourself: "Today I [action] and everyone laughed. They must think I'm stupid. I'm stupid. Everyone knows I'm stupid. I can't face them again!"
Instead, Renee says you might tell yourself: "Today I [action] and everyone laughed. I think I cheered up a couple people who were having a bad day, even if it was by accident …"
Renee cites Brene Brown's research on getting over shame, and worrying what other people think of you. Brown recently told Tech Insider that her No. 1 "life hack” for lasting relationships is to recognize that your perception of your partner's behavior is "the story I'm making up."
"Basically," she said, "you're telling the other person your reading of the situation — and simultaneously admitting that you know it can't be 100% accurate."University of Exeter/Flickr 3. Meet more people
Marie Stein recommends diluting someone's strong negative opinion of you by getting lots of other perspectives.
"The more people you meet, the more you will realize that every one has a different opinion," she writes. "The only opinion about you that matters, that sticks with you for your whole life, and that you can control, is your own."4. Try to make others comfortable
"How do you know that others with whom you share company are not themselves insecure?" writes Aurora Clawson.
"Others may act secure, but so many time[s] that is an act. How about making a point of helping others feel comfortable? Be a nurturer and you won't have to worry about how others think of you."
Clawson is right — research suggests that we're generally pretty bad at guessing how much others are struggling. Think about what you can do to make their lives easier, and you may find that your personal concerns are less salient.5. Focus on controlling your thoughts, not theirs
Gennaro Cuofano points out that you don't have control over others' thoughts: "Therefore if you spend even one minute of mental energy focusing on what others think of you, you are wasting time and energies."
Instead, he suggests trying to manage your own thoughts about the situation.
Meanwhile, psychotherapist Amy Morin writes that mentally strong people rarely focus on things they can't control. Once you shift you focus away from those things, you'll likely be happier and less stressed.eviljohnius/Flickr 6. Don't try to please everyone
Multiple Quora users told the same story, about two people and a donkey, which points to the foolishness of trying to please everyone.
At first, two people are riding a donkey, and passersby call them cruel. Then, one person rides the donkey while the other walks, and passersby call the rider selfish. They switch positions and now the new rider is called selfish.
Finally, both people walk alongside the donkey and passersby laugh at them for not knowing how to ride a donkey.
The moral of the story, says Syeda Ratal Zehra, is that "people will always judge you no matter what."7. Know that it's okay to care what others think
It's fine to care about your reputation. The key is not letting that concern overwhelm you.
Marissa Russell writes:
"You can never fully stop caring how other people think of you.
"Because human beings are the gatekeepers to so many of the things we strive for in life (job hirings, promotions, award nominations, building a clientele, finding a life partner, etc), what people think of you actually does matter in various cases.
"The key to inner freedom is to care more about what you think of you than what outsiders think of you."
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5 Ways to Stop Worrying About Others (with Examples)
The line between feeling empathy for others and taking on their problems as if they are our own is a lot finer than we think. If you often worry about the people in your life, you know how draining it is to occupy yourself with their struggles in addition to your own. Unfortunately, worrying about others doesn’t exactly have an off switch.
No matter how much time or energy you spend worrying over someone else’s suffering, it does nothing to reduce the pain they experience. All you’re doing is causing yourself to needlessly suffer along with them. So why does it feel impossible to stop even when you know worrying about others solves nothing? It turns out humans are wired to worry. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t control the extent and frequency of our worries.
Although worrying is inherently human, we can still take steps to mitigate its negative impact on our lives. In this article, I’ll explore why some of us simply can’t help but worry about others, and strategies to help you manage this well-intentioned but ultimately self-harming tendency.
- Why we naturally worry about others
- The futility of worrying
- How to stop worrying about others
- 1. Give the worrisome thoughts space to breathe
- 2. Imagine yourself talking to your worry
- 3. Set boundaries
- 4. Journal
- 5. Have a conversation with the person you’re worried about
- Wrapping up
Why we naturally worry about others
Everyone worries, but some people worry significantly more than others. Along with worrying about their own life, they can’t resist the tendency to worry about other people as well. It appears this natural inclination to worry might just be human nature.
It’s possible that humans have a predisposition to worry as a species due to a mismatch in our environment. Our brains are designed for an environment in which our actions result in immediate outcomes. Now that we live in an environment where our actions do not produce instant results, our brains can’t help but worry about uncertainty.
Conversely, a study found that people worry for two possible reasons. The first is because they believe that worrying can prevent negative events from happening and minimize its harmful effects if it does happen. The second reason is the belief that worrying offers greater control and the ability to find a solution.
Humans are social beings by nature. It only makes sense that we naturally extend our tendency to worry to encompass others. However, our ability to deeply connect with other humans emotionally and share their painful emotions could result in harmful consequences for our health.
The futility of worrying
The most frustrating thing about worrying is that it solves nothing. Most of us understand this, and yet, we continue to worry about others in spite of its harmful effects on our health. Research shows that worrying is associated with several mental health disorders and is detrimental to your physical health.
Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.Keith Caserta
A recent study on the mental health of Swiss undergraduate students during the pandemic found that those who worry more about the health of their family and friends are more likely to experience depression and higher stress levels.
Worrying about the health of their loved ones resulted in adverse effects on the students’ mental health. Moreover, worrying about the health of their family and friends in the midst of a pandemic beyond their control will not protect them from the disease.
How to stop worrying about others
Most of us know that worrying about other people does nothing to solve their problems or alleviate their pain, but we just can’t help it. The good news is that while worry is not completely avoidable, you can reduce its negative effects on your well-being using a few strategies.
1. Give the worrisome thoughts space to breathe
I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t worrying the exact opposite of what we want to do? The reality is that sometimes, worrying is an inevitable part of caring. Life is full of ups and downs. As much as we wish we could, we can’t protect the people we love from every devastating event in their life.
You can’t stop the rain by worrying about it.Tadahiko Nagao
For example, if you find out your child is being bullied at school or your friend is going through a difficult divorce, it’s simply unrealistic to expect yourself to not worry about them. Instead of suppressing the worry, give it the space it needs to breathe. It’s typically better to feel the negative emotion as soon as it arises rather than to dismiss it. This only causes the emotion to fester and resurface later on.
Sit with the worry for a few minutes, refrain from judgment, and allow it to run its course unobstructed. Simply listen to what it’s trying to tell you. If you’re lucky, the worry might dissipate afterward. If it continues to unwantedly take up mental space, it’s time to try another strategy.
2. Imagine yourself talking to your worry
This might sound strange, but try to imagine yourself having a conversation with your worrisome thoughts. After listening to what the emotion has to say, picture yourself reasoning with it.
Speak to your worry the way you would speak to a friend having a panic attack. Calm it down, and ground the emotion back to reality. Some things you can try saying to your worry when it spirals are:
- “Worrying about them will not ease their suffering in any way.”
- “I cannot protect that person from every bad thing in life, and it is not my responsibility to do so.”
- “I trust that person to be strong and capable enough to overcome their own problems.”
- “The best I can do is support them in any way I can, but worrying about them will solve nothing.”
- “It is okay to be concerned about them, but I am only causing myself harm by treating their problems as if they are my own.”
3. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries is an essential skill to learn in life, but particularly if you are an empath or a highly sensitive person. Those who instinctively absorb the emotions of others might find it more difficult to not worry about the problems of other people. If this is the case, it’s important to learn how to set boundaries for yourself and your mental health.
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.Brené Brown
It’s perfectly okay to admit to others when you lack the emotional or mental capacity to listen to them vent about their problems. There is nothing selfish about setting boundaries. It doesn’t make you any less loving or supportive. However, it can help you to stop worrying about others when you’re already worrying about your own issues.
Setting your own boundaries might even encourage the other person to do the same.
One of the best ways to release the burden of worrying about others is to simply write it down. The benefits of journaling are endless, but in the case of unrelenting worries, it can be especially therapeutic. Writing it down might help alleviate your concerns about others and their struggles.
Sometimes, your worries just need a place to go.
Journaling also helps distinguish your worries about others from your own. Since the practice of expressing your thoughts and emotions through writing often improves self-awareness, there’s a good chance it’ll help you realize the futility of worrying about someone else’s problems.
Here are a few possible journal prompts to explore when you want to stop worrying about others:
- Why am I overly concerned about this person and their issues?
- Is their pain triggering a similar hurt that I currently feel or have experienced in the past and require healing?
- Do I believe this person is capable of handling their own problems?
- What else can I do for this person instead of suffering along with them by worrying?
- Do I have the mental and emotional capacity to continue providing emotional support to this person?
5. Have a conversation with the person you’re worried about
Talking to the person you’re deeply concerned about is probably the root cause of your worries in the first place, but it could potentially be the solution as well. In some instances, we worry about others because we’re not sure if they have the ability to cope with whatever adversity they face. In that case, a simple conversation with them might ease your worries.
At times, all we need is reassurance that the person we’re worried about will be okay. Checking up on them and discussing the steps they’re taking to solve their own problems might put your worries to rest once and for all. Of course, this strategy only works if the person you’re worried about is handling things better than you thought.
In the event that the person is not coping well emotionally or mentally, it might be time to ask them to consider seeking professional help. This can ensure they receive the proper support and relieve you from your worries as well.
💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, we've condensed the information of 100's of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇
Download Our FREE Mental Self-Care Cheat Sheet!
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Worrying about others demonstrates your amazing ability to care and connect emotionally. However, the negative effect of worrying means that this capacity to absorb their worries as your own is destructive to your health. It might be difficult to manage your worries at first, but it can be done. Humans might be wired to worry, but you must not allow your worries to consume you.
Do you want to share your own positive change that you applied in your life? Did I miss an awesome tip that you used to be happier in an instance? I'd love to hear in the comments below!
How to stop worrying about what others think of you
January 31, 2021 A life
You can spend your whole life worrying about other people's opinions. Or you can become smarter and save yourself a lot of nerves.
You can listen to this article. If it's more convenient for you, turn on the podcast.
Why do we care about other people's opinion
Each person wants to please others, dreams of being attractive in the eyes of others. Many constantly monitor their Facebook* and Instagram* pages, counting likes and comments. To please others is a desire that came into being with us. nine0003
As we grow older, we learn to separate our thoughts and emotions from the opinions of others, but many of us continue to seek, and in some cases, ask others for approval of our actions. This can lead to serious problems, especially when it comes to self-esteem and happiness. Recently, a survey was conducted, in which 3,000 people took part. 67% of the respondents admitted that their self-esteem directly depends on the opinions of other people.
We react to everything that surrounds us. We have long-held expectations about how the world should work and how the people who inhabit it should behave. And one of our well-established beliefs is that we know how other people should react to us, to our appearance and behavior. nine0003
About 100 years ago, sociologist Charles Cooley developed the theory of the mirror self, which is:
I am not what I think of myself, and I am not what others think of me. I am what I think about what others think of me.
This proves once again how much importance we attach to other people's opinions.
However, we forget that other people often judge us on the basis of their past experiences, habits, feelings - everything that has nothing to do with us. Therefore, basing self-esteem on the opinions of other people is very unreliable. nine0003
When you completely rely on the evaluation of other people, you try in every way to please them, rise in their eyes, and eventually lose your "I".
But there is good news: we can stop this. We can become self-sufficient and not look at others, wondering how they evaluate our every step.
How not to worry about other people's opinions
1. Remind yourself that many people don't think about you at all
We'd be less worried about what others think of us if we realized how rarely they do. do. nine0003
Nothing could be closer to the truth than this statement. Other people have better things to do than sit and think about you. If it seems to you that someone thinks badly of you, mentally criticizes you, stop: maybe this is a figment of your imagination? Perhaps this is just an illusion that is fueled by your inner fears and self-doubt. If you constantly engage in self-flagellation, it will become a real problem that will poison your whole life. nine0003
2. Think with your head
Sit down and in a calm atmosphere think about the place in your life that other people's opinions occupy. Think about situations in which the evaluations of others are meaningful to you. Determine how you respond to them. If you understand that the assessments and opinions of others determine your self-esteem, then consider changing your behavior model.
Say to yourself: "Instead of relying on others again, I will learn to listen and hear my own thoughts and think exclusively with my own head." Learn to cut off unnecessary noise, to separate the wheat from the chaff. The more often you do this, the faster it will become a habit. nine0003
The ultimate goal of all this is to never let the opinions of others determine who you are and how you live. Understand that no one will ever be able to make you feel like a "little man" unless you yourself give him this power.
3. Feel Free - Don't Seek What Others Think of You
When people start putting their creations out in public, such as blogging, they often worry about whether others will like you. They worry even more when they torment themselves with thoughts that other people do not like their work. Until one day they realize how much strength and energy they spend on these useless experiences. nine0003
Have a new mantra that you repeat to yourself day after day:
This is my life, my choices, my mistakes and my lessons. I shouldn't care what others think about it.
4. Pay attention to what really matters
People will always think what they want. You cannot control the thoughts of others. Even if you choose your words carefully and have excellent manners, this does not mean that you will be good for everyone. Everything can be misinterpreted and turned upside down. nine0003
What really matters is how you rate yourself. Therefore, when making important decisions, try to be 100% true to your beliefs and values. Never be afraid to do what you think is right.
Begin by listing 5-10 qualities that are important to you. For example:
- focus on success and so on.
If you have a list like this, you will be much less likely to make unbalanced decisions, you will have a system of principles and, ultimately, you will have something to respect yourself for.
5. Stop thinking that not being liked by someone is the end of the world
What if they don't like me? What if the person I care about refuses me? What if I am considered a black sheep? These and similar questions too often torment people. Remember: if someone doesn't like you, and even if the person you care about doesn't feel the same way about you, it's not the end of the world. nine0003
But we continue to be afraid of this mythical "end of the world" and allow our fears to get the best of us, while we ourselves constantly feed them.
Ask yourself: “If my fears come true and the worst happens, what will I do?” Tell yourself a story (or better yet, write it down) about how you will feel after the rejection, how disappointed you will be, and then you will realize that this is a negative, but still experience, and you will move on. This simple exercise will help you understand that not being liked by someone is not so scary. nine0003
Read also 🧐
- Why you should not share your goals with others
- How to stop pleasing others: 5 steps to independence
- The paradox of tolerance: why you can't put up with someone else's opinion all the time
*Activity of Meta Platforms Inc. and its social networks Facebook and Instagram are prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation.
How to stop patronizing others and start thinking about yourself?
My first professional encounter with co-addicts was when I was working as a counselor for a network of treatment facilities and organizing support groups for the wives of alcoholics and drug addicts who participated in the program. nine0003
In my group, I saw people who considered themselves responsible for the whole world, but refused to take responsibility for leading and living their own lives. I saw people who constantly gave, but did not know how to receive.
I saw people who were hostile: they felt such deep hurt and pain that hostility was their only defense against being crushed again. They were so angry because anyone who put up with what they put up with would be just as angry. They sought control because everything around them and within them was out of control. nine0003
I have worked with people who thought they were going crazy because they accepted so many lies that they no longer knew where reality was and what it was.
I have seen people who were so wrapped up in other people's problems that they didn't have time to solve their own. These were people who loved other people so deeply—and often destructively—that they forgot how to take care of themselves.
Codependents felt responsible for so many things because the people around them did not feel responsible even for small things
The problems of codependents dictate the need for recovery. Recovery is not only pleasant, but also simple. It is based on an attitude that many of us have forgotten or never knew: each person is responsible for himself.
1. Detach from the object of addiction
Detachment is based on the attitude that each person is responsible for himself, that we cannot solve problems that we should not solve, and that worrying is useless.
2. Don't be blown away by every wind
Most codependents are people of reaction. We react with anger, guilt, shame, self-hatred, anxiety, resentment, despair, and rage. By practicing detachment, you can reduce your destructive reactions to the world around you. Separate yourself from things. Leave things alone and let people be who they are.
3. Set yourself free
Codependents tend to control. We arrive; read notations; cry out; orem; weep; we beg; bribe; intimidate; we stand above the soul; we protect; accuse; trying to persuade; trying to dissuade ... Whatever the tactics, the goals remain the same: to force other people to do what we want them to do. But people do what they want in the end. Any attempt to control them is self-deception as well as an illusion. People will either resist our efforts or redouble their efforts to prove that we cannot control them. nine0003
And this is the truth. The only person you have the right to control is you. Step back. Back off. Take control of yourself and your responsibilities.
Free others by letting them be who they are. By doing this, you will free yourself.
4. Stop being a victim
The words “rescue” and “protect” mean exactly what they sound like. We save people from responsibility. We take care of their duties instead of them. And then we get mad at them for what we did. And then we feel used and feel sorry for ourselves. Here it is, this pattern, this infinite triangle. We moan: “Why? Why does this always happen to me? Another person trampled on us, wiped his feet on us. We wonder: will we always be the victims? Probably yes - if we do not stop saving and patronizing. nine0003
5. Be independent
Some women are afraid to be alone. But unlike Siamese twins, we can live without any single human being. Stop looking for happiness in other people. Our source of happiness and prosperity is not in others; he is within us.
6. Live your own life
The surest way to drive yourself crazy is to get involved in other people's business, and the fastest way to become mentally healthy and happy is to mind your own business. nine0003
7. Love yourself
As codependents, we often dislike ourselves to the point where we become convinced that taking ourselves into account is wrong. We need to be kind to ourselves. How can we expect to take good care of ourselves if we hate ourselves? Out of our self-esteem will grow acts of kindness and mercy, not selfishness.
Just keep doing what you have to do. Everything will improve. And don't stop taking care of yourself, no matter what happens. nine0023
8. Learn the art of acceptance
Acceptance means that we acknowledge and accept our circumstances, including ourselves and the people in our lives, as we are and as they are. It cannot be said that this happens without kicks and yells.
We accept through five stages.
Negative . The first stage is denial. It is a state of shock, numbness, panic, and a general refusal to accept or acknowledge reality.
Anger . Once we stop denying the loss, we move on to the next stage, anger. Depending on the nature of the loss, we may be a little annoyed, angry, or in convulsions of soul-shattering rage.
Trade . After calming down, we try to make a deal with life, with ourselves, with another person or God. If we do this and that, or if someone else does this and that, then we don't have to suffer the loss.
Depression . When we see that nothing has worked out with the deal, when we are finally no longer able to fight anymore, holding reality at a distance, we become sad, sometimes terribly depressed. It's crying time and it hurts. nine0003
Acceptance of . That's all. After we have closed our eyes, kicked, yelled, tried to negotiate, and finally felt the pain, we come to acceptance. We accepted our loss, no matter how small or big.
9. Awaken your feelings
Repressed feelings block our energy. Another problem with repressed feelings is that they don't go away. What is locked inside sometimes becomes too big and too powerful. By releasing trapped feelings, we reduce them. nine0003
10. Don't be afraid to be angry
Suppressed anger, like any other repressed emotion, creates problems. Our angry feelings may one day break like an avalanche. We can lose control and let go of the reins, indulging in hostile, spitting, yelling, dish-smashing rage.
There are many things in life besides anger. But it's okay to feel angry when we need it.
11. Learn to make decisions
For a variety of reasons, we may have lost faith in our ability to think and think logically. Believing someone else's lies, lying to ourselves, stress, low self-esteem, and a full array of repressed emotions can cloud our ability to think. We are lost. But that doesn't mean we can't think.