Trust me, I’ve read article upon article–and even a few self-help books–on how to overcome my very real fear of other people’s judgement.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found a clear-cut answer, but here are some things I’ve learned along the way that might help others like me.
“I’m constantly amazed by how easily we love ourselves above all others, yet we put more stock into the opinions of others than in our own estimation of self…How much credence we give to the opinions our peers have of us and how little to our very own.”
– Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor.
1. Will you regret not doing something for fear of what other people will think?
Don’t be scared to whip out your camera to take a photo of some wildflowers you see on a hike, for example. In your head, you might project your own insecurities and judgments into other people’s minds, when in reality, no one is thinking twice about you. Brush the thought away, and take the photo. You’ll capture a precious moment that you’ll be able to remember forever. Keep in mind, everything you want is on the other side of fear.
2. Realizing that you only live once.
Cliché, yes–but completely true. If you think about it, we’re all just living on a rock hurtling through space. This emphasizes how minuscule and insignificant our worries and fears are. Other people’s opinions don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. You have to experience life the way you truly desire, because you might never have another opportunity to do so.
3. Act confident.
If you act like you know what you’re doing, chances are others will think that, too. Studies have shown that faking it ’til you make it actually works. When you focus on bettering yourself and building your self-esteem, you chip away at the power that other’s hold in your mind. It’s important to note, however, to work on yourself, for yourself, and not for others.
4. Most people are hyper-focused on themselves, too.
Don’t worry about what other people think because, chances are, they’re most likely focused on how they look and act as well.
As Marcus Aurelius wrote in the above quote, we rely too much on other people’s opinions and not enough on our own. Too many times I haven’t done something out of fear of what others would think of me, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this sentiment. But it’s time to stop chasing people’s approval and start living for yourself.