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What Other People Think Of Me Is None Of My Business

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” was a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady (1933 – 1945) and reform leader.

When I first heard, “What other people think of me is none of my business,” it rang true to my heart and soul! Many spend most of their lives trying to please others and it never brings fulfillment. It is only natural to be concerned with others’ opinions. Take a look at the millions of posts on social media crying for affirmation of one’s worth. One morning, out of curiosity, I asked my college students why they posted so many selfies on social media. They responded that when others tell you that you look skinny, pretty, or young, you believe it. Wow, why do we give others so much power? How should we go about determining our worth?

It Is Natural

First of all, it does feel good to be validated by others. For example, when the teacher puts a smiley face with an A on your paper, it makes you feel special and smart. When your date tells you that you look gorgeous, it makes you feel phenomenal. However, is it helpful to depend on others for our worth? Where should the feelings of worth come from?

Source of Worth

The source of worth depends on the culture you come from. I grew up in a Christian culture, so of course, I believe my worth comes from God. He created me and as the saying goes, “God don’t make no junk!” Other cultures may believe worth comes from within or what some call intuition. People should do what they love and love what they do without concern of what others think of them! When I was young, I hesitated doing things because I worried about what others thought. I missed many opportunities to develop gifts and talents because of the fear of others’ opinions.

Be Aware of Your Thoughts and Emotions

Naturally, when others say something critical we tend to feel negative emotions about what was said; however, it is a personal choice whether to feel that way or not. Some choose to stuff negative thoughts and feelings, but find the feelings percolate back up in terrible ways. Sometimes it is like the toilet overflowing! I heard it referred to as pushing a beach ball down in the water only to find it burst back up through the waves, exploding high into the air. If pushing feelings and thoughts down doesn’t work, how should one handle negative thoughts and feelings? Research indicates it is best to acknowledge the thought, even do a thought download and determine which thought is most taxing. Then, determine whether or not the thought is useful. If the thought is not useful, then try to think of a more useful one. For example, some mornings I look in the mirror and think, “Oh, my heavens, you’re fat!” Is that thought useful? Of course not, so what could I think instead? I could think that I am thankful for my body. Negative thoughts may continue to circulate because our brain is used to that pattern or habit. We have to continually retrain the brain with the new thought. In addition, it should be a truthful or believable thought; for example, I couldn’t think I am pencil thin. Of course, that is a lie, and my brain wouldn’t accept it.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

We can always look around at those who have more, look prettier, are smarter, and achieve more; however, this never leads to reaching your full potential. One could spend their whole life trying to be the best, and yet, never feel content. The only person to compete with is ourselves- to do better today than we did yesterday.

Develop a Better Sense of Self-Worth

I believe our worth should come from the only perfect person – Heavenly Father. He created us, knows us best, loves us most, and is always willing to listen and tell us the truth. Why is it so difficult to listen to Him instead of our friends? There are so many directions to take in life that will all lead to a fulfilling life; however, if we let friends or family determine that path, we may not enjoy the journey.

In conclusion, we may choose to listen to others in determining our worth; however, as stated previously, it will not lead to lasting happiness. In fact, intense worrying about what others think may lead to social anxiety disorder, a mental condition caused by over concern about the outside social circle. This condition destroys creativity and energy. Next time you are tempted to worry what others think of you, remember to say to yourself, “What others think of me is none of my business!”

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