Bad Habit #20 ~ Worrying About What Others Might Think

Stone with an inscriptionYou’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do” (David Foster Wallace).

In an article title 10 Reason to stop Worrying About What Other People Think, the author points out that this is a very profound statement, but it can be taken one of two ways: that either a) people don’t think about you or your shortcomings as much as you think they do, or b) people generally don’t hold you in high regard.

Someone with low self-esteem might be apt to think the second interpretation is true, but I believe the author’s true intent was to point out this: people generally don’t think outside themselves a great deal of time. It is a sad but simple truth that the average person filters their world through their ego, meaning that they think about most things in terms of “me” or “my”.

Therefore, all people, events and phenomena are judged according to how they affect “me” or “my”. This means that, unless who you are or what you have done directly affects another person or their life, they are unlikely to spend much time thinking about you at all.

So many people spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to please others.  This generally stems from the insecurity that other people are judging them.  This worry takes up so much energy yet in most circumstances the people you are friends with would like you regardless if you did the things you do to try and impress them.

Lee AldrichLee’s Challenge:

This is me sometimes. It was a much greater problem in my younger years. I have learned to temper my thoughts by looking at what they are and determining if this is based in reality or just an insecurity rearing its ugly head.

Over the course of the last month during The Behavior Exchange Challenge, this has been one of the things I’ve worked on. It’s amazing that once you are aware of a behavior – and what the root cause is behind it – how much easier it is to shut it down or at least combat it successfully.

Barbara JoyBarbara’s Challenge:

I was designed and engineered to worry about what others might think.  In order to survive in my house growing up, this had to be your priority.  It’s one of the bad habits that can stop me dead in my tracks.  I’ll see someone in the grocery store and don’t go over to say hello, because I’m pretty sure that person won’t remember me or didn’t like me anyway.  I wouldn’t say (or even think about) what I’d really like to do, because people might think it’s ridiculous.

During my “corporate years” I suffered from a terrible case of (what I like to call) “What will they do when they find out I’m me” syndrome.  What a surprise to realize people were really more into thinking about themselves.

Needless to say, because of this challenge we’ve been doing this month, the recurring theme in so many of the bad behaviors is your thinking pattern.  My new resolution is to give your potential thoughts about me some consideration….ask myself this…do your thoughts impact the outcome of what I may do in the future…that answer will provide my direction.

O.K. Enough about me…what do you think of me?

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