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How to Stop Fixating on Other People’s Opinions of You

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Constantly worrying about what people think can be exhausting, but it is a common trait shared by many individuals. This self-consciousness can stem from a desire to be loved and accepted, as we are social creatures who crave approval from our peers. However, when this obsession with others’ opinions becomes chronic and interferes with our lives, relationships, and decisions, it can become a problem. People-pleasing tendencies may prevent us from setting healthy boundaries in relationships or cause us to rely on others’ approval for our self-worth.

Dr. Geoffrey Gold, a clinical psychologist, notes that constantly striving to please everyone can be mentally draining. It can lead to creating worst-case scenarios in our minds and molding ourselves to fit others’ expectations, rather than embracing our true selves. It is important to recognize that no one thinks about us as much as we think about ourselves. Research suggests that we overestimate how much others care about our perceived failures, and most people are focused on their own lives, not on judging us.

One key step in overcoming the fear of what others think is to stop trying to mind-read or guess what someone else is thinking. Dr. Gold emphasizes that assuming what others are thinking is pointless, as unless they tell us, we will never truly know. It is not productive to dwell on hypothetical scenarios or negative interpretations of others’ opinions. Instead of getting caught up in these thoughts, it is crucial to focus on our own values, beliefs, and desires.

To regain peace of mind and reel in spiraling thoughts about others’ opinions, it is important to practice self-compassion. Accepting ourselves for who we are and recognizing that we are worthy of love and acceptance can help reduce the need for constant validation from others. Setting boundaries and prioritizing our own needs and desires can also be beneficial in overcoming people-pleasing tendencies.

Rather than trying to please everyone, we should focus on building authentic relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. By cultivating self-confidence and self-awareness, we can shift our mindset from seeking approval from others to valuing our own opinions and beliefs. Remembering that we are the center of our own worlds and that most people are not focused on judging us can also help alleviate the pressure of worrying about what others think.

In conclusion, while it is natural to care about what others think to some extent, allowing this concern to dominate our thoughts and behaviors can be detrimental to our well-being. By taking small steps to shift our mindset and prioritize self-compassion, we can break free from the cycle of people-pleasing and regain control of our lives. Accepting ourselves for who we are and building authentic connections with others based on mutual respect can lead to a more fulfilling and peaceful existence.

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