Positive Writer

This blog is about overcoming doubt and creating work that matters!

Stop Worrying About What People Think and Create Anyway

One of the surest ways to find unhappiness and to limit your creativity is worrying about what others think of you.

It’s true, and I am guilty of it.

Let’s discuss one way to solve this problem.

Creative Commons by Pasukaru

 

The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.

― Mark Twain (Tweet This Quote)

When we worry about what other people are doing, achieving or receiving, we steal valuable energy and confidence from ourselves and we start to doubt that we are good enough.

And yet, there is worse:

The worst comes when you inhibit yourself because you’re too concerned with what someone thinks of you.

Of course, we should have some concern about our image, what we do and what people think of us, especially if we want to be sociable and get along. However, there have been times when I’ve carried this too far and worried incessantly.

To use blogging as an example, I’ve kept posts in my drafts for weeks on end, sometimes not posting at all, simply to avoid criticism from those who are impossible to please.

Oh yes, if you haven’t realized it yet (and I am sure you have), there are people who cannot be pleased and if you are a people pleaser, then writing, blogging, creating art, or doing just about anything publicly might not be for you.

Blogging opens me up to the world, so, of course, there are going to be people who disagree with my ideas and opinions and to a degree I expected that.

But I’ll be honest, I had no idea that there would be people out there who hate what I write and who go to obsessive lengths to make sure I know it.

It’s not an enjoyable experience and if you can relate, here’s…

A unique solution

Consider someone who you worry too much about what he or she thinks of you.

Imagine handing that person a remote control. It controls you and with it the person can manipulate you to his or her heart’s content, even make you think and write what he or she wants.

Now you are a robot.

Sounds ridiculous, right? I mean, why would you do that?

Exactly.

Now, imagine taking that remote control back and crushing it in your hands, destroying it forever.

Here’s the thing, when we worry too much about what someone thinks, we actually are giving them a mental remote control over us.

Take it back!

People are going to think what they are going to think and it’s more their problem than yours, unless you make it your problem, too.

However, if it is a friend, co-worker, boss or family member, then it’s probably a good idea to ask what’s on his or her mind. Information can help us learn and grow, but when our imagination is left unchecked, it can lead to serious stress and unhappiness.

Maybe you’ll discover it was a misunderstanding or something else you can clarify or rectify, if necessary.

On the other hand, be cautious about who you deem worthy of your attention, because what someone thinks of you could be (and all too often is) influenced by these factors:

  • Jealousy
  • Envy
  • Other personal insecurities
  • He or she simply doesn’t like you

The problem with this short but powerful list is that you have no control over those things and anything you do to meet the needs of a person dealing with their own issues will not work.

People pleasers, yes, I am talking about me (and maybe you), typically find themselves perplexed when they cannot please someone and yet, the reality is that some people can’t be pleased.

One of the most difficult things I have learned to do is move on and get over it.

Let it go. For your own sake and the work you do.

Let. It. Go.

Your energy is better spent being who you are and living to the standards and morals that are important to you.

An important truth

When you become whole and comfortable with yourself (I work on this every day), the worries about what others think of you become like leaves on the wind, there for a moment and gone the next.

Consider that if someone really is thinking of you so much then you must be pretty awesome!

Right? Indeed.

So go ahead, let go, be awesome and create anyway. You will be better for it.

Have you worried about what others think of you? Share in the comments.

~Bryan

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Writer's Doubt the Book
  • http://twitter.com/thensomore Brianna Wasson

    Bryan, great post! I can totally relate to this. I love the picture of giving someone a remote control over my brain. A really good reminder. Thanks! Brianna (Tribe Writer)

    • Dimitrii

      Thanks to you a become a great writer and now i work freelance

  • Anastacia Maness

    Yes! I can definitely relate to this. As a preacher’s wife, I have tried many times to make everyone happy. It’s impossible. Thanks for this post. That analogy of the remote control is perfect. I’m going to think about that next time I’m faced with yet another person that can’t be made happy. 

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Thank you, Anastacia.

  • http://www.joanhallwrites.com/ Joan

    Bryan – your posts are always so encouraging! Yes, I have struggled with this – writing things that “others” thought I should write. The result was that I wasn’t happy with my writing. About two months ago, I took a blogging break, put aside some ideas that I had, and got back to writing what I most wasnted to write – fiction. I have been happier and others in my writing group have commented how happy I seem.

    I like the anology with the remote control (and the Mark Twain quote is great!)

    Blessings,
    Joan

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Thank you, Bryan. Oh, I know what you mean and it is easy to get stuck listening to the crowd and stop following your heart. Good for you for getting back on track with what you want to do.

  • staci troilo

    I always think about Luke 12:22-26 — “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”   I’ll admit, I’m not great at the whole “not worrying” thing, but I try, and I’ve come a long way. I’ve restricted my worrying now to the big things (my husband, my kids, my parents, etc.) and let the other things go. I can’t let a stranger’s opinion of my thoughts and feelings dictate my actions. I’ll never please everyone. As long as I’m true to myself and trust in the Lord, I’ll let the rest take care of itself.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Outstanding, Staci!

  • http://whispersofwonder.com Emily

    Good words of advice Bryan. I liked this statement: “Your energy is better spent being who you are and living to the standards and morals that are important to you.” I learned a long time ago, that there only a few opinions that matter and the opinions of those precious people are the ones I allow to influence my behavior.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Yes, Emily, I think it is important to pick those people carefully, not just ‘yes’ sayers, but also not just naysayers, either. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisawilsonwriter Lisa Hall-Wilson

    This isn’t typically something that bothers me, to be honest. Harsh comments or criticism do affect me, but it’s generally short-lived. But – it’s a double-edged sword because sometimes you should care what people will think, or how your words will affect others. Neither extreme is a good place. Great post.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Well said, Lisa, any area of ‘extremes’ is usually not a good place to be. You’re right, it’s important to have some concern otherwise how would we learn and grow?

  • annepeterson

    I appreciated this post since I used to really struggle about what others thought. Being a recovering people pleaser is hard. But when I please others there is still one I’m not considering…me. If we attempt to please all, we’ll please no one. Thanks for posting.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Excellent point, Anne. Between us people pleasers, of course.

  • http://twitter.com/KVaselopulos Katina Vaselopulos

    This came just as the right time!

    I had heard Jeff on the topic!
    Now,  Bryan, you say just what I needed to hear, again. Thank you!

    I wrote for years not to be of the world, but because it felt good and made me a better person.  Now that I publish and people are slow to  read, it is easy to be disappointed.
    Then, I remind myself that I don’t always read what others write either, because I don’t always have the time to do it.

    I have to say that no one has criticized me in an ugly way, yet.
    If it happens, I will be grateful to get constructive criticism from friends…I will ignore the others! :)

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Always nice to hear from you, Katina! Constructive criticism from friends you trust is usually helpful and even wanted, I agree.

  • http://www.ordinaryservant.com/ Pilar Arsenec

    I am guilty of worrying about what others are going to think of me. Mostly when it comes to creating. I mean, I guess at work too, I don’t like to fail or make mistakes. I realized for myself it’s rooted in pride, which made me cringe at the realization. But no matter how much I know in my head, it doesn’t seem to translate in my life. I remember I was acting and singing on stage in front of an audience. I suffered greatly from stage fright, that it would hinder me and mess me up. I succumbed to the fear and stopped. I am now writing again and trying to put myself out there, but each time I press the ship button, I get so much anxiety… fear overwhelms me. I can’t stop thinking how my work stinks and how noone will read it and why am I even bothering, I never graduated from college, I am a loser, I’m not a writer, and on and on… it’s the worst battle, which is why I don’t post that much, the stress from the fear and insecurity plagues and cripples me. I’m trying really hard to press through it, but it’s not easy. Anyway, I’m enjoying your blog, so I please don’t listen to those voices… I like your content a lot and relate to it.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      That’s profound, Pilar, and let me tell you that you are good enough. I try not to do this on this blog too much, but in this case I think it is a good idea – If you have the opportunity, consider reading my book “One Boy’s Struggle” I think the story itself may help you with perspective. Your fear is real and it deserves credit, say hello to it, talk to it or with it and ship. I am in awe simply from your comment, so I can imagine the stories you have which need to be told. Keep on keeping on!

      • http://www.ordinaryservant.com/ Pilar Arsenec

        Thank you, Bryan. I truly appreciate your encouragment. I will definitely read your book, “One Boy’s Struggle.” Thank you so much.

        • http://www.innovativesavings.net/ Garry Stafford

          Pilar,

          I agree with Bryan when he says, “I am in awe simply from your comment….”

          You’re willingness here to share what you did with such vulnerability really touched me. I can so relate. I’ve a new job. Difficult boss. Bringing up all kinds of weird, old WPT’s (as I refer to them – What People Think). I thought that I’d won this battle. And I can get this so easily intellectually. I could totally counsel you as to what you should do in these instances. I got this down. But then, in the heat of the moment, I’m paralyzed as to choice or direction based on my perception of how I and/or my decision will be viewed. I’ll be crushing that remote (thanks Bryan, for that word picture), one day, one hour, one moment at a time. Will be pushing that Submit button. I hope you do too.
           

          • http://www.ordinaryservant.com/ Pilar Arsenec

            Thanks so much, Garry. I appreciate your comment. I am sorry to hear about your difficult boss. I know what that is like unfortunately. Yes, I pray that you and I press the ship button more in 2013. Happy New Year.

  • http://twitter.com/Csterken Christa Sterken

    Used to consume huge amounts of my time. Thanks for bringing this to the forefront of peoples minds.

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      You’re welcome, Christa. Be awesome.

  • Rrslewis

    great article for adders in sales!

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  • Neil Loewe

    Great post, Bryan. Great advice for everyone, and I’m going to share this with someone I know who isn’t a writer but really needs to hear it. Keep spreading the good!

  • Catherine North

    Awesome post, Brian. I think there are two separate yet linked fears here – one is focused on your own self image and how you will be perceived through your writing, and the other is an excessive fear of hurting others with what you write. I’m guilty of both and I love your image of the remote control!

  • http://erikasimone.com/ Erika Simone

    You wowed me again, Bryan. My younger brother is starting a channel on youtube and is always pushing me to worry less about what people think and just work on my ideas – which he thinks are awesome, of course. :)

  • Joni Gaston

    I just recently found Positive Writer while researching how to create a blog. Tonight is the first time I’ve had time to read some of your blogs. You have encouraged me and are even beginning to calm some of my fears. My family has been after me for years to write a book, but I have doubted myself, my gift and my creativity. I will read everything you write! Keep up the good work. God sent you to me! Thank you!

    • http://www.positivewriter.com/ Bryan Hutchinson

      Thanks, Joni! Write your heart out. :)