1.Not Everything that Happens is About You
Many times, when we are struggling with issues in life, such as traffic, rude people, or not getting that well-deserved raise, we feel that the world is against us. What we fail to see often is that this “egocentric” view does more damage than good. When we were infants, it was natural that we understood as if the world revolves around us. As adults, we need to understand that some things have nothing to do with us, and that most people are not rude on purpose but because they are dealing with their own agenda. We need to learn how to react less and respond more.
2.Focus on Other People Without Dwelling on How They View You
Have you heard this saying “other people’s opinions are none of my business?” Many of my clients struggle with being liked and accepted and therefore they worry all the time what others think about them. According to Matthew Hutson, “people do not notice us nearly as much as we think they do.”
3.Realize that You Don’t Have to Act the Way You Feel
I say to my clients, feelings are what they are. They are neither good neither bad. They help us determine our experiences. At the same time, we don’t need to dwell on them as they are continuously changing. When we are dealing with a challenge, or experiencing a difficult emotion, techniques such as guided meditation, or reframing thoughts can help, as well as taking a walk in the nature.
4. Reframe and Manage Disappointment and Adversity
People who are optimistic and resilient know that things are usually not as bad as they seem, and they also don’t blame themselves when the situation is out of their control. For example, Seligman talks about “learned helplessness.” Do you see job loss as the end of the world and blame yourself for it, or just note that while it’s not a pleasant experience, you will find the solution.
5. Know How to Solicit Honest Feedback
If you are not sure about something, find people that you value and trust and have the humility to ask them specific questions as to how they perceive you and use this knowledge to improve yourself. Be selective. There is no need to go around and give everyone too much credit.
6. Stay True to Your Own Values Despite What Others Expect of You
I used to be a people-pleaser until I learned how to love and accept myself, and the same goes for many of my clients. Peer pressure can be strong, however if we constantly do that, we lose ourselves, and the result can be chronic depression or anxiety. We can never please everyone.
Bottom line is – while we depend on others for survival, we need to find a balance between our own self-perception and how others view us. Seeking feedback from others is healthy, but we don’t need to dwell on other people’s opinions. Sometimes feedback can help us when we are stuck and need a new direction. It’s important to stay open-minded and flexible and continue to learn about who we are and what makes us unique.
Reference: Matthew Hutson, Life Skills, Psychology Today, May/June 2018, pp 55-59