Have you ever put off chasing your ideal career because of what your friends might think of you? Or perhaps you’ve stopped yourself talking to someone in a bar because they might think you were weird for approaching them? There are millions of different scenarios like this, but they all point to the same big stumbling block that stops so many people from living the life they really want. It’s called ‘Caring What Other People Think’ and it’s dangerous!
Imagine if you simply did what you wanted to do instead of contemplating and worrying about what other people think. Would you wear different clothes, love your body more, be in a different career, or have different friends? Would you drive a different car, live in a new area or be with a different partner?
Social conditioning can drain you from living life as you truly want to, whereas living authentically – whilst challenging at times – means you live your life as an expression of who you really are.
The biggest hurdle to overcome when we talk about caring what other people think, is firstly accepting that this is a problem for you. I guess it’s like Alcoholics Anonymous – you have to stand up and admit to yourself that this is something you do before you can begin to make any changes to the way you think. Self-awareness is the first foot forward.
So think about it now – do you define yourself by what other people think of you? Do you worry that others might judge or criticize you? Lets face it, most of us are guilty of thinking this way at some time or another, but if you spend most of your time being at effect of social conditioning then it’s time to be brutally honest with yourself and move towards living a more authentic life. By doing this you will give yourself the opportunity to learn how to stand up for what you think and believe, and truly be YOU.
Friends and colleagues can come and go, and even family members come in and out of our lives at times, so the only true constant in life is ‘you’. It’s therefore important to be your own role model and look for validation from yourself, not others. I asked a client the other day if she would hire herself? She categorically said yes, and that’s the answer you’re looking for. Would you date yourself? Would you be attracted to you? Would you admire yourself? If not, consider why and do something about it so that you become the person you want to attract into your life, instead of what other people want.
Start to listen to your emotions and think about what you feel, rather than focussing on what you say or do. Do you rely on other people to give you an emotional boost or do you enjoy the rewards of self-approval? Do you need a job that other people approve of to make you feel significant, or do you enjoy every day safe in the knowledge that you’re doing something you love? Are you hoping, wishing and waiting to have what other people have, or are you proud of your own achievements and life to date?
Caring what other people think will limit you and the experiences you have in life. Ultimately it’s far riskier to let yourself be defined by other people’s thoughts, or perceived thoughts, rather than living authentically. Choose to make one small change today and take that first step towards being ‘you.
Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting.
Faye is an accomplished Career Coach and Time Management Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.
You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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