Two mindset shifts that have helped me deal with people’s opinions
My husband hurries me out of the car as we head into the event we are supposed to attend that night. I walk slowly across the parking lot, looking up at the sky and pointing out the landscape, as I try to buy myself time. Drew kindly rushes me along, eager to get inside.
As we approach the door, I mentally prepare myself and paste a smile on my face. Inside, I’m nervous, my heart is pounding, and I feel slightly sick to my stomach. People greet us with hugs, handshakes, and small talk. The whole time, a voice in my head feeds me negative self-talk, and I worry about the opinion the person in front of me is forming about me. I deeply hope it will be a good one, as I continue to smile and make small talk.
We make our way over to more familiar faces on the other side of the room and hug and catch up. As we enjoy a great time laughing and telling stories, I still hear in the back of my mind the following thoughts: What do they think about what I just said? I hope she likes me. I hope I did not offend her. The insecurities that plague me resound in my mind throughout the night. I can’t shake this deep fear of negative opinions and rejection. I continue to smile and try to read my friends’ reactions as we talk.
Does this sound familiar? Are you like me? If so, sister, I want to share these two mindset shifts with you that have really helped me in my journey to conquer my people-pleasing tendencies:
1. No one is thinking about you as much as you believe they are.
To my surprise, the conversation that night shifted to deeper topics, and one friend confessed that she didn’t want to attend the event that night because she thought everyone at the party didn’t like her. Our other friend chimed in and admitted that she felt the same way. She too believes that most people don’t like her. I was shocked by their honesty and by the reality that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. I also was shocked because when I look at these two friends, I think everyone must absolutely love them. They are beautiful, fun, outgoing, and hysterical. It’s a shame they can’t see those qualities about themselves.
There was something truly freeing in their confession, because it finally hit me that while I was worried about their opinions of me, they were worried about my opinions of them. I realized in that moment that most people are too busy thinking about their own problems and insecurities and are worried about whether they will be accepted or rejected, just like me. Truth be told, we are missing out on so much because we believe people are thinking about us and forming opinions of us way more than they actually are.
2. Did this person actually tell you their opinion about you?
Did this person actually tell you she doesn’t like you? Did she tell you she has a problem with you?
The truth is, sometimes what we think is all in our heads.
We tell ourselves false stories of what we think other people are thinking. We create motives for people’s actions that are not true. We overanalyze people’s words, mannerisms, and actions and automatically assume the worst.
What if—instead of assuming the worst—we assumed the best for a change? What if we changed our negative thoughts to positive thoughts? I know it is so stinking hard, but I believe it’s worth fighting for. I think our relationships, life, and mental health would be better for it.
Wait for people to actually express their opinions of you before jumping to conclusions or making assumptions.
Don’t waste your life.
I’m so afraid that at the end of my life, I’m going to be heartbroken over all the things I missed out on. I’m so afraid to miss out on the things I was created to do, the ways I was called to serve, and miss out on the blessings I could have had. I don’t want to miss opportunities because I was too afraid of other people’s opinions of me.
We put way to much stock in people’s opinions of us. This is our one and only life, and here we are living it for someone else. That’s ludicrous when you really think about it. The truth is, most of the time people are not thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are. So next time when we feel our insecurities well up, let’s take a step back and examine if the person has actually shared her opinion of us or if we are making negative assumptions in our heads.
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