Ep #11: How to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think of You

Strong as a Working Mom with Carrie Holland | How to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think of You
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So often, I see people get tripped up on their pathway to change because they are worried about what other people will think or say about them. They waste so much time and energy worrying about what other people think and making sure people like them, that they lose track of who they truly are.

When you start to make decisions that are in line with your true self, it might freak some other people out. But let me ask you: how do you want to spend your energy? Do you want to spend it trying to change yourself to appease other people’s opinions of you or do you want to live in integrity with yourself and act, speak, dress, and show up as the one and only unique human you are?

In this episode, I’m diving deeper into other people’s opinions of you and showing you how to stop allowing them to hold you back from showing up as your truest, most authentic self. Find out why you care so much about other people’s opinions, why someone else’s opinion of you actually has nothing to do with you, and some ideas and concepts you can implement to start living into your most genuine, messy, awesome version of yourself.

To celebrate the launch of the show, I’m giving away a wellness journal to five lucky listeners who follow, rate and review the show. I want your honest opinion and feedback so I can create an awesome show, and make it a useful, fun resource for you.

Click here to learn more about the contest and how to enter!

What You Will Discover:

  • What happens when you care too much about other people’s opinions of you.
  • The reason you might receive pushback from people who know you when you make a change.
  • Why not everyone is going to like you, and why that is perfectly OK.
  • A very powerful question to ask yourself if somebody doesn’t like you.
  • How to reclaim your power and show up as your truest version of yourself.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #10. If you are too busy, let me help you get clear on what matters most to you.

You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #11. If you’re ready to stop worrying about what other people think about you, I’ve got some ideas. Let’s go.

Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high achieving, busy working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer and Certified Life Coach Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.

Hey, how are you? What’s new? What’s good? So, I was riding the bike this morning. We have a Peloton®, and I absolutely love it. And as I was sweating my tail off thinking about today, and the conversation I wanted to have with you, I remembered something that one of the instructors declared during a ride.

So, the instructor was Jess King, and she is absolutely hysterical. She’s quirky, and she is unapologetically real. And I think we could all learn a few things from her, but what she said was this, she said, “I don’t aim to be your cup of tea, I aim to be your shot of whiskey.” And she said that with the most confidence ever. And that was a while ago, but her words really seared into my brain and stuck. And truthfully, I have no idea what kind of drink I aim to be. But her point made sense.

You do not have to be everything to everybody. And everyone you know, everyone who knows you, has an opinion about you; good, bad, or something in between. So today, we are going to dive in. We are going to pick apart other people’s opinions of you. And here’s the reason we’re going to dig into this, it is because so often I see people, and I see the women I coach, get so tripped up on their pathway to change because they’re so worried about what other people will think or say about them.

So, often, you don’t do the things you want to do or say the things that are true to you, because of one of these two reasons: Either, you are straight up afraid of what other people will think of you. Or, two, you have decided ahead of time that someone will think something about you, and that leads you to keep quiet and just stand down.

So, this is a problem because it stifles you. And frankly, it is downright suffocating. And ultimately, what it does, is it prevents you from evolving into the very best version of yourself. And that is not fair to you, and it’s not fair to the people who would benefit from all the gifts that you bring to this earth. So, in answer to that, we are going to blow the roof off of other people’s opinions of you.

And I hope that you walk away from this episode, with some ideas and concepts that help you start living into your truest, most genuine, most messy and awesome version of yourself. Because truthfully, as humans, that is what we are, we are unique. And we are messy. And we are awesome, really all at once.

So, here’s what we’re going to cover. So, we’re going to talk about why we even care about other people’s opinions of us. Then, we’re going to talk about what happens when you care too much about what other people think of you. Then, how to start living into your identity and stop being what you think everyone wants you to be. And then. of course, how your brain and how your mind can help you do this.

Alright, so let’s go. So, why is it that we even care about what other people think about us? So, very simply, it comes from our primitive Neanderthal brain. We, humans, are wired to desire connection and belonging. We are deeply wired for fitting in with other humans. So, to take it really far back, in the caveman days, if you did not fit in with your people, you were kicked to the curb to be eaten by the saber-toothed tiger. So, it behooved you to keep quiet and fit in, because the alternative meant fending for yourself and essentially putting your survival at risk.

So, nowadays, thankfully, we have homes, we have running water, we’ve got food, we’ve got Facebook® groups, and all these things. We don’t need hunting and trapping anymore. It is not quite as black-and-white as it used to be. And, we don’t have to worry about being a tiger’s dinner if we don’t fit in. But unfortunately, our brains have not quite caught up with this concept.

So, we are a diverse population, as we should be. It would be so boring if we were all the same. And, I say the same thing about my kids. So, I think sometimes, that life would be so much easier if they were the same, because parenting, disciplining them, talking to them, communicating with them would be so much easier. However, that would not be any fun. And it would be insanely boring, and would also not allow my two sons to evolve into the unique and cool people that a they’re becoming.

So, in this crazy world that we live in, diversity is not only necessary, it makes our lives richer, it makes relationships interesting. And this is all to say; your people are out there. Whatever your likes, dislikes, opinions, style, personality is, whatever you are, there are people out there with whom you have things in common and people that you can connect with. They are out there.

But too often, we waste so much time and energy trying to make sure that everyone likes us, we end up not knowing ourselves anymore. So, meaning, you act in a certain way around one group of friends, because you believe that is what you need to do in order for them to like you. And then you act in a completely different way around another group of friends, because you believe that’s what you need to do in order for them to accept you.

And if you do this enough, if you mold yourself and change your beliefs, your language, your truth, to fit in with your friends, family, coworkers, etc., what happens is, first, you’re probably exhausted, because it’s exhausting to constantly have to change who you are to please everyone else. Two, if these people decide that they like you, what they are really liking is how you are in that moment. It is whatever version of yourself you have created and presented to this people, it’s not really the true you.

And three, you may have no idea who you really are at the end of the day. You may be so busy trying to fit in and change yourself, that in the process, you have lost your identity, you may not know who you really are. So, without getting all existential on you, suffice it to say you can lose yourself and that does not feel good.

So, think about the identity that you want to have. What is it that aligns with your true self? Think of the words that you want to use to describe yourself; active, healthy, less stressed, less busy, content. Whatever words you want to use to describe yourself start there.

So, for many of my working moms, as an example, they say they want to be healthy. So then, we work it backwards and realize that in order to be healthy, you decide you want to go to bed earlier so you can get up to get your workout in. What that may mean is that you start saying no to going out to some weeknight dinners with your friends, because you have to get to bed early in order to work out, and you don’t want to eat out at a restaurant.

Or, maybe your main goal is to be less stressed and less overcommitted in your life because you’re realigning with your priorities. Remember, this is from the previous episode. And that means saying no to volunteering at your kids’ school, or taking on an extra project at work. Or, maybe it means not enrolling your kids in three sports in a season, because you know, you cannot realistically get them all where they need to be and maintain your sanity.

So, in that process, you make those hard decisions in order to live into the identity that you want. And here’s a spoiler alert, you may know this already, but let me spell it out: When you start to make decisions that are in line with your true self, it may freak some other people out. If people know you in a certain way, and you act in a way that is different from how they know you, it will most likely make them think about you differently. Because those humans in your life, they also like comfort, and they like being right, and they like the status quo.

So, when you start living into the identity of who you want to be, and live in a way that is true to yourself, other people just may not like it. So, I say this all the time, we as humans like to be right. And when the people who know you well, and when they know you in a certain way, that is what they come to expect from you.

So, when you decide to make some changes for yourself, not only does that change your identity, it will affect how other people see you. So, even though it’s you changing yourself, other people will notice. And when the newer version of you contradicts the version of you that other people know, there may be some pushback, and that is totally okay. Know It, expect it and be ready for it.

And here’s the thing, the people who really love you and accept you, those will be the people cheering you on. And the others, yeah, they may go silent, they may shrink away from you, or they may even become your haters. And that, is absolutely okay. Remember what Jess King said, you can be someone else’s shot of whiskey. And, it is not your job to make sure that everyone around you feels comfortable.

Okay, so please really think about that. Especially if you’ve had any sort of pushback from people you thought were your biggest supporters. And, I get it. And if this idea sounds hard for you, ask yourself my very favorite question; why? And I bet you a nickel, all kinds of thoughts are going to come up.

And one, that I see commonly, is this; I don’t want anyone to think badly about me if I don’t go to dinner. I don’t want anyone to say anything negative if I don’t say yes to that project, or if I don’t stay late at work. I don’t want them to think negative thoughts about me. Here’s the thing, that is entirely out of your control. So, these are only just a few examples, and there are countless others.

I will use myself as an example. When I started my business, and I had to start creating content, one of the things I was challenged to do was start posting on social media regularly. And this is just social media, okay. But at the time, the thought of doing that was insanely painful for me. And I very vividly remember being on the phone with one of my mentors, Jordan Syatt, I’ve mentioned him before. He’s amazing. He’s hysterical; please check him out.

But I was on the phone with him during a business coaching call, and he asked me flat out, “What happens if you create a post or some content, and Joe Somebody, from your hometown, says something mean or snarky about you from the depths of his mom’s basement? Then what? What are you going to do?”

And quite honestly, there were crickets on my end of the line, because I got his point; was someone else’s opinion of me really going to stop me from moving forward? And, was I really going to let one person’s negative opinion of me stop me from being who I am? And it was in that moment, I still remember that, that was years ago. And that was when my mind was blown, and my world opened up, and I got less afraid.

So, let me offer you just a couple of ideas here, okay. Other people’s opinions of you, are none of your business. So, I learned that in my coaching course. And at first, I totally balked at it. But now I get it, I get it. You really don’t know what other people are thinking of you. Unless you are a mind reader, there is no way to know with 100% certainty what other people think of you.

And that, calls into the idea of controlling what you can control. So, you are not the one who decides whether or not someone likes you. But what you can control is you, you get to control what your opinion of yourself is. And I will argue that, that is the opinion that matters most. You’ve got to be happy with yourself, and you have to like yourself first. It is impossible, irrational, and frankly immature, to expect that other people will like you when you cannot like yourself first.

And, I mean that from the kindest place, because I was there. I honestly wasted so much time and energy thinking, “If so and so liked me, or if these people approve of me, or if my family likes what I’m doing, then I can like myself.” Oh, but I had it so backwards.

So, let me share this other concept with you, that when I heard it completely blew my mind. So, as someone who spent way too much of her life worrying about what everyone would think about me, and wanting everyone to like me, once I understood this concept, it absolutely changed my life.

So, imagine you’re at a party, and you’re introduced to a group of five people. And then, you start to tell a story to these five people. And in that time, you tell the story, one person decides she likes you because you are from the same hometown. One person thinks your voice is too high pitched and she decides you’re annoying. One person instantly does not like you because you remind him of his ex-wife.

This is a true story. This happened to me when I was a resident. And that was a really rough rotation for me; that’s for another day. One person loves you because you have a killer outfit on with amazing shoes, and one person thinks you’re just straight up boring. So, what the heck? What gives here?

You’re showing up at the same time, wearing the same outfit, speaking in the same voice, telling the same story to all five of these people, who are all experiencing the same version of you. So, why is it that they all have a different opinion of you?

So, do you see? It is not about you. It is about them; these people’s opinion of you has nothing to do with you. It’s about what they are thinking about you, that ultimately determines their opinion of you. And, you cannot control that. And, that is totally okay.

So, think about it in the reverse. There are people in this world that you probably just don’t like. There are people who, for whatever reason, you would just prefer not to spend your time with. And, that is okay. We all of our likes, dislikes, and preferences. And again, going back to my kids here, this is what makes us all messy and cool and unique. And, it would be so boring if we were all the same.

So, the point here is, ultimately you do not get to decide if someone likes you or not. So, taking all this into consideration, let me ask you this: How do you want to spend your energy? Do you want to spend it trying to change yourself, your speech, your appearance, your views? Do you want to change the core of who you are, in an attempt to manipulate and control what other people think about you?

And again, if you’ve done this, you know, it is exhausting and it’s a losing game. Or, do you want to live in integrity with yourself? Do you want to act, and speak, and dress, and show up, as the one and only unique human that you are, and take the risk, that when you do this, not everyone is going to like you?

And if that sounds icky to you, let me assure you it is not. In fact, it is freeing, because when you show up, when you decide not to be vanilla, when you act and speak and live in a way that feels most true and genuine to yourself, a few really great things start to happen.

So first, you will feel free. You will feel liberated. You are not pretending. You’re not walking on eggshells; you are just being who you are. You’re acting the same way on the outside that you feel on the inside, and it does not take a ton of energy and it’s not exhausting because it just comes naturally. It is being the person that you want to be and that you are meant to be, not when anyone else wants you to be; huge difference.

Two, you will find your people. The people who love you and the people with whom your message resonates, those are your people. You will find the people who love your quirkiness, your nerdiness, your sarcasm, your occasional use the four-letter words. Your spontaneous crying at shmoopy commercials with puppies; speaking from experience here.

You will find those people who love you and accept you. And you know what? It feels good. Period. End. And it is 100% okay, if not everyone is your people. And yes, what this means is putting yourself out there. I know. It means not simply nodding and smiling when someone says something that is totally out of line. It means saying no to things that do not align with your values and priorities. It means having an opinion and expressing it.

So, remember, the idea is that what’s outside is matching what’s on the inside. So, when you put yourself out there, and you live into the identity that you want, it means being open to rejection. And here we go again, this is where it goes back to your feelings. It always comes back to your feelings, right?

So often, you’re afraid to do, or say, or be your truth, because of the fear that someone might not like you. But I would argue, that it’s deeper than that. It’s really, that we don’t want to feel the feelings that happen when someone doesn’t like you.

So, if you live into your identity, and you show up as the truest version of yourself and someone doesn’t like you, ask this very powerful question, another one of my favorites. And anyone who has coached with me knows this it is; what are you making it mean? What are you making it mean, when someone doesn’t like you? And then, answer the question.

And what you find, is all kinds of thoughts are going to come up; I am not good enough. I am not worthy. And those two, are the thoughts that come up most often for so many of my clients.

But remember this, both of those are thoughts. I am not good enough. I am not worthy. Both of those are your choice; you are choosing to believe this about yourself. You are choosing to think that if so-and-so doesn’t like you, it means you are not a good enough or a worthy enough human being. And let me just call that BS, right here and right now. And let me assure you, that is absolutely not true.

And I get it, it is very easy to fall prey to this. But let me remind you, we are all worthy humans, we are all good enough. But when you’re so wrapped up in other people’s opinions of you, what you are doing is transferring power to someone who has no business having it.

Okay, so how do you do this? How do you take the power back, and grow, and feel confident in yourself so that you can be your truest version? You practice feeling. And you knew I was going to go there, didn’t you? You knew that. It goes back to your thoughts and to your feelings.

So again, let me ask you some of my favorite questions when it comes to this. So first, if you decide not to waste your time worrying about what everyone thinks of you, what is the worst that happens when someone doesn’t like you? What is the worst thing that happens when you feel rejected? What is the worst that happens when you’ve got a hater, or when you feel sad, or mad, or hurt, or frustrated, because someone doesn’t like you?

And remember, you feel it; you feel it and you get on with your day. So, you can compare and contrast here, okay. Which feels worse; the feeling of rejection, because someone doesn’t like the truest version of you? Or, the feeling of tension that comes from trying to conform, to whatever it is you think you need to be, in order to win someone’s approval? Think about that.

And it’s kind of like choosing your heart, right? So, here’s what I will offer you. If you can handle whatever feelings come up for you because someone doesn’t like you. And you can live through that because at the heart of it all, you know that you are acting in a way that is real and true and authentic with yourself. There it is. That is confidence.

When you truly know who you are, what you stand for, and what you value, and then you act and carry yourself in a way that is in alignment with that, now you’re talking, now you’re onto something. And honestly, that is when you are truly on fire.

And this is why learning how to feel your feelings is essential. Because what you are doing is proving to yourself that you’ve got your own back, no matter what. What you think about you matters most.

So, let me be really clear on something, because I think this is one other place where people get really tripped up. So, living into your truest self and freeing yourself from other people’s opinions of you, is not the same as arrogance. So, this is not to say you go and be a jerk. You don’t go and act in a way that is callous, and unfeeling, and obnoxious. No.

Too often, people confuse being yourself with being arrogant. And that is not at all what I’m saying. There is a huge difference between arrogance and confidence. So generally, arrogant people have an underlying poor opinion of themselves, but they make up for it by blowing themselves up. And, because they are seeking the approval and seeking out positive opinions of other people; no good.

Confidence, on the other hand, allows you to be the true person that you are, regardless of the opinions of others; big difference. You are not seeking out the approval of others, and you don’t have to talk yourself up because you don’t need the approval of others. You only need your own. And that is most definitely not being arrogant. It is just being you. There is an enormous difference here. All right.

So having said all of this, here is my challenge to you. And I know this may seem odd, but hear me out. Let people have an opinion of you; they’re going to anyway. Invite people to judge you, and I mean that figuratively. But what I mean is this, dare to show up in the world, be who you are, so that people have an opinion of you.

And when you do this, and know that you’ve got yourself, you’ve got your own back, and you can handle whatever emotions come your way, when people have thoughts about you. You are unstoppable. Really. So, try this out.

Consider the areas in your life where you may not be being your truest self, because you’re worried about what other people will think of you. And then, ask yourself that question: What are you making it mean? What are you making it mean when people don’t like you? And then ask yourself: What is the worst that happens when you feel a negative emotion because someone doesn’t like you? And then decide, what matters more.

Having everyone like you and having to adapt yourself constantly to get everyone’s nod of approval? Or, living in alignment with what feels true and real and right to you? I think you will find the answer; in fact, I know it. I’m proof. All right. So, this is good stuff. This is the stuff, right here. Serious growth is made, right here.

So, please let me know what you think of this. Share your thoughts with me in the comments to the show, and we will catch up again next week. See you then.

To celebrate the launch of the show, I’m going to be giving away a Wellness Journal to five listeners who follow, rate, and review the show. You do not have to give it five stars, although I certainly hope you love what you’ve heard so far. But more than anything, please give me your honest opinion and feedback so I can create an awesome show for you.

I would love it if you shared your questions and thoughts, so I can make the show a useful and fun resource for you. Visit CarrieHollandMD.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter. I’ll be announcing winners on the show in an upcoming episode. See you next week.

Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think so you can live in the body you want with the mind match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com.

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