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Worrying What Others Think: Our Absurd Stab at Min...

Worrying What Others Think: Our Absurd Stab at Mind-Reading

Lee Aldrich Middlesage – You head out the door in a fabulous emerald green dress that you bought for tonights special occasion. As you step onto the street, a woman passing by give you a double-take. You wonder why she didn’t like what you had on.

– You went into law because that had been the family business for years. You feel trapped in the family law firm, and would have preferred to be an engineer. You’re in the business because it’s family owned, but the other attorneys seem to look at you funny. You think they believe your skills are not as good as theirs.

– You walk into a cocktail party alone. You scan the room for a friendly face and as you meet the eyes of another person, they turn and whisper to a person in their group. You wonder why she was whispering about you.

file000500940833If you can relate to any of these three examples, or they conjure any feelings of anxiety in you – chances are you worry too much about what others think of you. If you are placing more worry in what your family, friends, colleagues, and strangers think of you, you are wasting valuable head space and emotions worrying about what you THINK people are thinking about you.

Therapist Mark Tyrrell, in his article, “How to Stop Worrying About What other People Think,” lists 7 tips to be your own person:

  1. Own Your Imagination – don’t let your imagination run wild and hand you negative thoughts. If your mind tells you everybody’s talking about you, challenge the thought. Is this REALLY true?
  2. Learn To Relax with Not Knowing What Other People Think of You – you can’t mindread, so stop. Whether people like you or not may have to do with their baggage and that has nothing to do with you.
  3. Enjoy Your Individuality – be who you really are. We all have  habits, behaviors, quirks, and differences….embrace yours.
  4. Remember: People Will Think What They Think – you have no control about whether somebody pre-judges you based on first impressions. That falls to them to worry about…not you.
  5. See the Best in Others by Not Assuming the Worst – YOU don’t want to be judged….so don’t judge others by projecting they see the worst in you.
  6. Forget the Bigger Picture Sometimes – focus on what’s right in front of you instead of letting your  mind wonder farther than the task/event/job at hand.
  7. Imagine Life Once You’ve Cast Off Over Concern with What Others Think – you’ve spent so much time worrying…what if you could get that time back. The anxiety you’ve caused yourself has done nothing but twist you in knots. You’ll have less stressful moments, more clear thinking, and more time to do something you enjoy. Projecting that somebody is tearing you down eats up your time, energy and emotion.

55Over thinking the situations you face, coupled with a bit of a self-esteem issue, leads to negative stories your brain makes up. When you cease to obsess about another perceived thoughts, you let go of the negative thoughts and focus on the moment. When you are able to focus on the moment, and shut down the negative thoughts, you will find more happiness and begin to build an abundance of self-confidence. Shutting off the negative thoughts shuts off the negative emotions, which in turn feeds the negative thoughts. A wicked circle that nobody needs.


If we can take to heart the truth in Ethel Barrett’s quote –

“We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.

we can realize that our fears and insecurities are unfounded.

Do you spend too much time and energy Worrying What Others Think? Isn’t it time to get out of the emotional circle dance, and claim your happiness? Isn’t it time to exchange a behavior that leads nowhere? We think so.


  1. Sue Shoemaker

    29 July

    I have appreciated the title and the concepts from this book by Terry Cole-Whitaker…


    • Barbara Coleman

      29 July

      I think I shall pick up that book….it sounds right up my alley! Again, Sue – always providing helpful information!!!!

    • Lee Aldrich

      29 July

      Sue – thank you….I’ll have to look it up!

  2. Janie Emaus

    29 July

    Worrying is one of my biggest hurdles.

    • Barbara Coleman

      29 July

      I hear ya, Janie! Even as I was sharing this post, I was thinking….Oh, I hope people like it! Damn…

    • Lee Aldrich

      29 July

      Janie – it’s a hard trait to turn off or tone down…but I’m working hard on this one. Whether it’s worrying in general, or about what I believe others to be thinking about me (now that’s a different crazy), it is a hard one to get over. I have found being aware, catching the thought and then realizing it’s just a thought, not my reality helps tons. Thank you for sharing.

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