One of the surest ways to find unhappiness and limit your creativity is worrying about what others think of you or your work.
It’s true, and I am guilty of it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
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’s 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 and will not 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 you might find helpful.
A unique solution
Consider someone who you worry far 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?
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 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.
However, if it is a friend or family member, or someone else close to you, 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:
- 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, and 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 for the creative 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 F’ing awesome!
Right! Yes. You. Are.
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.
(If this article looks a little familiar, it’s because a version of it appears in Positive Writer’s Best of book: The Audacity to be a Writer.)