Saturday, April 1, 2017

6 Signs You Worry Too Much About What Others Think: Why It’s a Problem and What to Do About It by Dr. Gary Trosclair, Huffington Post

6 Signs You Worry Too Much About What Others Think: Why It’s a Problem and What to Do About It 
by Dr. Gary Trosclair, Ph.D, Huffington Post

It’s very human to want to be liked. Isolation is dangerous for our mental health. But if you betray yourself to get people to like you, that causes problems that are at least as bad if not worse. I’ll explain why in a moment, but first let’s look at some signs that you worry too much what others think about you.

1. You do things you don’t want to do and you resent it.
2. You no longer (or never did) really know what you want.
3. You’re afraid to say what you really believe.
4. You spend time with people you don’t like or you avoid people out of fear.
5. You struggle to make your own decisions.
6. You imagine that people are upset with you when they really aren’t.
Here’s why it’s a problem:
Deep inside of us, along with our need to be liked, we also have a need to be authentic, to think and live in our own unique way. Nature made us this way so that we could think critically and develop creative solutions rather than rushing headlong over a cliff with the rest of the herd. If we all thought alike the human race would have died out long ago.
As Bertrand Russell wrote, “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
We thrive when we get along with others, and think and act independently at the same time. If you aren’t doing both, you’re out of balance, and your psyche will complain about it with either depression (“No one likes me.”) or anxiety (“I have to get them to like me”). These are often warning signs, and if not heeded, things can get really bad. That’s why it’s dangerous to worry too much what others think about you.
Here’s what to do about it:
1. Find your people: Don’t imagine that you can stop caring what everyone thinks. Seek out the people who see your strengths and goodness and whom you trust. Stick with them and take what they say seriously. When you fear that they’re thinking badly of you, check it out: Ask them what’s going on. A small group of friends or community can go a long way in increasing security. It’s important to know that you’re loved.
Bernard Baruch put it well when he said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
2. Face it down: What if other people do think badly of you? Thank goodness! If everyone likes you, you’re probably not being true to your self. Ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?” and come to terms with it.
3. Spend time alone or in therapy: In order to remember or learn what you want, need and believe you’ll need to have periods of time when you can hear yourself without worrying about the voices of others. Journal. Talk to yourself. Ask yourself what you need. Find ways to make yourself happy that don’t depend on other people. Psychotherapy can also help with this because it focuses on hearing what’s inside of you.
4. Experiment judiciously with speaking your mind. This could mean taking some chances. You may not be able to do this at work, since we usually need to maintain an appropriate persona at work. And, sadly, if you belong to a racial or sexual minority, you are probably wise to be guarded in certain situations. But exercising your opinion elsewhere can build confidence. This can be scarey, but it can also be liberating. Avoidance breeds anxiety, while mastery brings self esteem. Here again, therapy is a safe place to start.
5. Decide what’s truly important to you: Is what people think of you high on that list? Make a short list, post it on your fridge, send yourself reminders on your phone, and don’t let critical folks who are suffering from insecurity come between you and fulfillment.
6. Find your inspiration: Name three characters—real or from literature or film (for example Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Malala Yousafzai, Misty Copeland, Katniss Everdeen or Harry Potter) that have faced these same fears and overcome them. Carry their image in your mind. Authenticity is an archetypal theme: For millennia we’ve used stories of heroes and heroines that have not followed the crowd to help us overcome our own fears. Images of their courageous acts reach older parts of your brain—fear centers that may not respond to simple logic—and can free you to follow your intentions.
This being true to your whole self—this individuation—isn’t easy. It takes courage and perseverance, but in the long run it feels better. And for many people, bringing their unique offerings to the world is what gives their life meaning.
Here’s how Carl Jung put it: “May each one seek out his own way. The way leads to a mutual love in community...Therefore give people dignity and let each of them stand apart, so that each may find his own fellowship and love it.. Give human dignity, and trust that life will find the better way.”
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My Thoughts:

"Don't concentrate on all the people who may dislike you; concentrate on the God who Loves you!"

As a Christian, I try to completely trust God and not people in everything I do and say; it gives me peace of mind when I put God first, others second, and myself third. People are quite fickle; one day they're your friend; the next day they're your enemy. So try not to worry if people "like" you or not. God brings people in and out of our lives all the time: some for our encouragement, some to try our patience, and others, unfortunately, to build our characters. It's quite rare to find a true and devoted friend who'll stick by you through thick and thin.

Try as much as you are able to be patient and stay humble of heart with others, trust in God completely and not in yourself or others. It's NOT possible to please everybody, but it IS possible to please God. The only way you can get most people to "like" you is to do nothing, to say nothing, and to be nothing, but then you'd not longer be the unique human being that God created you to be...you'd be a mind-numbed robot or a plain vanilla ice cream cone; you wouldn't be you!  

It's important to remember that it really doesn't matter whether or not others "like" you or how they treat you, but whether or not YOU like YOU and how YOU treat others! You're your own worst critic, so if you're happy with who YOU are then that's all that matters. There are many reasons for other people's unfriendly or unkind behavior. You can only try to positively influence others, but you can't control others! How others behave is ultimately their responsibility, not yours! YOU are only responsible for YOUR behavior, NOT other people's behavior

Think about this, Jesus was the perfect human being and what did the world do to him? Jesus even warned his disciples (John 15:18, 20), "If the world hates you, remember the world hated me first. If people did wrong to me then they'll do wrong to you too." St. John said (1 John 3:13), "Don't be surprised if the world hates you!"  And St. Paul said (2 Tim 3:12), "Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."

For many and varied reasons people, in general, can't stand people who strive to live good and decent lives. It's counterintuitive, but it's quite true. The old cliche, "no good deed goes unpunished" is quite true. It amazes me how many politicians, entertainers, famous, and wealthy people who live sinful lives are venerated as secular saints. Jesus warned of this too (John 15:19), "If you belonged to the world, the world would love you."  

People will betray you, abandon you, and mistreat you; don't treat them the same way, just forgive them and continue to love them. "Loving" someone is quite different from "liking" someone. You're never going to "like" everyone and not everyone is going to "like" you. So if others are unfriendly, rude, hateful, or disrespectful to you, then return love, kindness, blessings, and prayers instead. When our lives are over, it really won't matter how many friends we had, but whether we were a friend to others (especially to those who are outcasts in the world).

I think Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said it best:
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway. 
If you are kind people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives; be kind anyway. 
If you are successful you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget about tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough; give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.   

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