Positive Writer

Write with More Confidence and Greater Satisfaction

Stop Worrying About What People Think and Create Anyway

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:

  • 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, 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.)

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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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins



  • 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. 

  • 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!)


    • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

    • 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.

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

  • 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! 🙂

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

  • 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.

    • 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!

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

        • 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.

          • 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.

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

  • Rrslewis

    great article for adders in sales!

  • Pingback: A few links for the end of the week | Words on a page()

  • 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!

  • 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!

    • Thanks, Joni! Write your heart out. 🙂

    • Karen Sargent

      Joni, when I discovered Bryan’s Positive Writer blog, I was in about the same place you are…except I had taken the risk and finally had a manuscript. Still, I doubted, doubted, doubted myself (and still do!). There are TONS of writing blogs out there, but Positive Writer has been a constant for me. I “ditto” everything you wrote in your post! Best of luck to you!

  • samcarter44

    Thanks for re-publishing this. Great stuff!

  • Nicole Mackey

    I recently had a total stranger get annoyed with me during a discussion on disability. He went to my blog and decided to tell me that I’m not really disabled (the SSI admin. disagrees) and that my blog was poorly written. This bothered me for days! Even though I knew he was reverting to a personal attack because he had no further points to make in the argument, I couldn’t help thinking “what if he’s right? What if my friends are just too kind to tell me?” I really hate that I do this! Maybe I am just not cut out for this.

  • Karen Sargent

    Bryan, this is such a great confidence booster! I’ve taught in a rural community for 23 years. I am constantly aware of what I write (blog) and how it might be received by the community, parents, district administration, students. At times I’ve let that hinder my creativity. And to be honest, there are some things I’m not really free to write because I live in a small community. But I’m learning to differentiate the reasons I hesitate to write about certain topics and try to get past those that deal strictly with me worrying if someone will like it or not, or if they’ll like me or not. Thank you!

  • Great reminder/warning. Like “they” say “it is what it is.” Thank you. This is an especially important post for me personally. Thanks again.

  • Michelle

    great post Bryan, as always you cut to the core. I have wanted to begin a blog for a while, have read lots of ” how to do’s” ect and everyday say to myself “today is the day”, but don’t. Why, I want to write, but I don’t want the people I know to read it!! Very foolish, yes, seeing once written it is on the world public stage. Thanks again for your wonderful insight in the insecurities which hold people back from achieving, something that resonates deeply with me and will smash that remote asap!

  • Melissa Walker

    I love the message here that others’ censure is more about them than it is about me. Recently I began blogging about building a spiritual connection and am worried that I will be “too Christian” for some and “not Christian enough” for others — basically that NO ONE will be pleased. But I truly feel I have something to offer and I am finding that taking action anyway helps a lot. I still have the fear, but I have more faith, optimism, and confidence along side it, so my experience feels better. My dreams feel more possible. I just sent out a new blog post yesterday!