Answer these questions honestly:
Have you ever NOT asked a question, in case others might think it was a stupid question to ask?
Have you ever NOT worn an item of clothing as you were worried what other people might think?
If you were telling your child or your friend what you ‘should’ be thinking, you’d probably say:-
“It’s your life. Live it your way“
- Do you find it difficult to strike a balance?
- Do you tend to put everybody else first?
- Do you worry too much about what people will think of you?
- Do you believe people judge you, or expect you to act in a certain way?
The next time you find yourself digging that hole, looking for a tasty snack because ‘Nobody likes me, everybody hates me’ is ringing in your ears (apologies if you’re too young to know what I’m talking about – ask your Mum, or see the link below) – just ask yourself this: Who is controlling your life? Who pulls your strings? Who is making you feel like this?
We are programmed from being tiny babies to believe that when people like us, we feel accepted and important in our own little worlds. (If you don’t believe me, just notice the eye contact between a Mum and her baby the next time you see a woman breast feeding.) Most of us learn to behave in a way that makes us more likeable – that way we tend to get more of what we want, and crave, and less of the bad stuff in return.
And this behaviour continues into adulthood. We learn to toe the line, do as we’re told, not make waves, and do our best to make our lives as pleasant as possible, by making other people around us like and accept us. Like sheep, we keep each other in check, but without any need for a sheepdog. We conform. We behave in an accepted manner.
We like positive attention. Dale Carnegie, author of the multi-million dollar best seller ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ tells us that this is one of our basic needs. We enjoy having our ego’s stroked – people telling us how wonderful or clever we are. It makes us feel good. It becomes a drug – the more we have the more we want – and we become addicted to positive affirmations and look for them wherever we can.
But… We become so worried about what other people think of us, and so desperate for approval, we deny huge chunks of our own wants and needs – often failing to do the things we really want to do – because we’re constantly on the lookout for other peoples’ reactions – what will they think of this, or that? Just like alcoholics and drug addicts lead impoverished lives to make sure they get their fix, we impoverish our own existence to get our own fix of constant approval.
The drug is very powerful and addictive. The hit is so intense we will do anything to make sure the approval is always on tap. But the price of the approval drug can be your own freedom. The freedom to be who you are – what you truly want to be, do or say.
It’s your choice. Do you prefer the drug, or your freedom? It’s difficult to have both. Obviously we can’t go through life without giving a second thought as to how we affect those around us – stomping on peoples’ values or feelings with no thought as to how we might be hurting them is not an option. But you don’t need to give away your power. There has to be a balance. Craving approval at the expense of living your own life isn’t really an answer. Think about how your plans might affect everybody and everything else, carefully weigh up the options, and then consider the consequences.
- Don’t be a slave to approval. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what anybody else thinks – as long as you do the best you can, with the knowledge you have, and you don’t deliberately go out to hurt anybody or tread on their feelings, go for it. It’s your life. Live it your way.
- Stop worrying about what other people think of you. You can’t please all the people, all the time. Let it go.
- What you believe they’re thinking is probably just mind reading at best, and catastrophising at worst. And unless you’ve polished up your crystal ball lately – you’re probably a long way short of hitting the mark.
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrFViBSYPtQ
Please accept this blog in the spirit in which it is offered. I am intending only to give you some light hearted food for thought here – not reams of indigestible facts that you can find elsewhere all over the internet. If any of the suggestions ring a bell for you – great. This is a simplified version to give you a taster, so if your problem is more serious, and you feel you need more in-depth professional help, please contact me. I can help you identify any underlying issues that may be holding you back, and allow you to kick-start the process of moving you forward again. And of course, if you feel the need to visit your GP please go straight away. NLP, hypnotherapy and counselling are not a substitute for professional medical advice, but a complementary therapy. Thank you for reading this, and I hope to meet you soon.