If someone tells you that they don’t care what other people think, they are fooling themselves.
None of us are free from this worry.
Everyone is trying to look good in the eyes of others. Everyone stresses out about how they look, how they’re perceived, whether people think they’re awesome or good people. It’s why Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and mirrors exist.
Unfortunately, this constant worry about how we’re perceived in the eyes of others can cause us to struggle. We worry about having the right clothes, about how our bodies look, how our hair looks (or the lack of hair, in my case), whether people will laugh at our writing, whether someone will “like” our photos or posts. This takes up so much mental energy.
We can’t just completely forget about it — it’s not in our human nature. We can tell ourselves that “other people’s opinions don’t matter” or “no one is really thinking about us” but it won’t stop our brains from worrying about it.
So what can we do?
We can be aware of these anxieties as they come up. We can realize that the anxieties aren’t a command but rather just something that arises, like clouds coming over a mountain. They’ll pass, float away, if we just watch them without too much attachment.
Then we can go below these anxieties and see our basic goodness underneath. We are good people, with good hearts, and we just want to be loved and appreciated. We worry about not being loved, we worry about being judged, and these are very human worries. We are good, underneath it all.
I encourage you to take a minute right now to contemplate this.
Get to know this goodness in yourself. It is always there, and you can tap into it when the worries come up.
Because no matter what other people think of you, you’ll know that this goodness is there.
Constantly Worried About How Others Perceive Us was first published on Zen Habits on 12/11/15.