Caring what others think, is a natural behaviour not a problem. It helps us to be accepted and feel secure in the tribe. Worrying what others think, however, is a problem.
The difference is when you care what others think, you take on board and respect their opinion, but you don’t let it determine your decision or affect your self-worth.
Whereas when you’re worrying what others think, you allow their judgement to define what you think about yourself.
Many of my clients tell me, they regularly worry about what their boss and colleagues at work think. Whether it’s about what they say in meetings, the decisions they make or how they compare. it can lead to a paralysis in your life. You may become stuck in a rut and unable to trust yourself to make decisions or take actions.
This can lead to self-doubts and stop you from speaking up or making decisions. You may then become stuck in a rut and unable to trust yourself to go for new opportunities or take on extra responsibilities.
With some clients, this has led to them ignoring their wants and needs and instead, they become totally focused on getting approval from others. (See my earlier blog on Helen the People Pleaser). This really kills your confidence and knocks your self-esteem.
Fortunately, it is possible to reduce your worrying and care more about your own needs, beliefs and desires.
A couple of quick tips to help you are:
Start being aware of when you are making decisions or taking actions based on others approval. Challenge yourself as to why you are doing this and whether you could do it differently
Develop self-approval. Record the achievements you make, the things you’re proud of and your positive strengths. Congratulate yourself when you show the confidence to keep to your beliefs
If I look back to my much younger self with the benefit of hindsight, there are many things I might do or say differently.
More importantly there are some key messages about confidence I’d want to share with the less experienced version of me.
I grew with a secure and protected childhood, which was wonderful but may not have allowed me to develop my independence muscle enough.
It’s okay to listen to others opinions and take on board different perspectives, but trusting in my instincts and feelings should have been the most important influence.
2. Speak up, you won’t look stupid
Again this is about trusting that what I have to say is as important as anyone else thoughts. There isn’t always a right answer and by speaking up more I would have respected myself and boosted my confidence.
3. Your confidence will grow
I remember that scared feeling, when I first left home, when I got my first job and bought my first house.
Feeling nervous and uncomfortable in new experiences and situations is normal and I’d love to reassure my younger self that the more new experiences I throw myself into the more my confidence will grow.
4. Everyone is doing the best they can
It seemed to me when I first started at University or in new jobs that my peers and seniors all were so confident and sorted.
I now realise that everyone is just doing their best in situations and struggling with their own insecurities. So I should stop worrying what others think and just be me
5. Good enough is good enough
I definitely have some perfectionist tendencies and set myself high expectations. These days I have learnt to be more realistic with my intentions, which means I don’t always have to do or be the best.
The freedom and calmness this has given me are something I would love my younger self to have experienced.
Having said all this, I’ve enjoyed the learning process that has taken me to where I am, so maybe it’s better to discover these lessons for yourself?
Do you have any lessons on confidence you’d like to share with your younger self?
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