Everyone wants to be liked and accepted, but many of us spend too much time and energy worrying about what other people think. You might not even realize you’re doing it, but these kinds of mental gymnastics are unhealthy and stressful, making us feel unworthy and removing our attention from the present moment.
Here are four steps to help you stop worrying about what other people think, designed to help you maintain healthier and happier relationships with yourself and others.
1. Understand why you care.
In order to break the cycle, it’s important to understand where the energy is coming from. We’ve been socialized by a culture that sets norms for our belongingness. From birth, we’re taught we should act a certain way, dress a certain way, buy certain products, and adhere to certain ideologies to be liked and accepted. Social media brings the popularity contest to a whole new level, where how many friends we have, and how much they “like” us, is now publicly broadcast and recorded.
We are stressed and exhausted trying to manage our real and online personas to make sure that people continue to like and accept us. Many of us have spent our whole lives in this cycle, believing that a certain set of actions would bring us acceptance, only to repeatedly find that this is not the case. This is a form of social conditioning that we must now give ourselves permission to release!
2. Learn this mantra: What Other People Think About Me Is None of My Business!
The root of the problem with caring about what people think about you is that you’re attaching yourself to an outcome that you have absolutely no control over. That’s right, you have NO CONTROL over what people say, do and think about you! You can have the best intentions, or you can do something ridiculous: It doesn’t matter. You do not control the way people will respond, just as they do not control the way you respond to them.
The belief that you have any ownership of or control over people’s opinions about you comes from a place of ego. The reality is that what other people think about you is none of your business! Take a moment and begin to process and accept this perspective. See how the mantra makes you feel, and note the resistance you might feel from your ego. This is normal. (In fact, with all this time spent worrying and managing expectations, this mantra can feel downright strange at first!)
3. Direct the energy to something positive.
This new perspective frees up an immense amount of time and energy to live in the NOW and experience your authentic flow. It also breaks the cycle of conditioning that if you could only do X, say Y, and buy Z, people would like and accept you. Deep inside we know that true acceptance comes from within. So instead of caring so much if someone might be talking about you behind your back …
Breathe, repeat your mantra, and then direct the excess energy towards something positive, like following your passion and doing what you love! And if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, go and find out! Try a creative new activity, such making art, dancing, playing music, building something, or frolicking outside. You’ll be amazed at how happy and free you feel when you spend time doing what you love instead of worrying about what other people think!
4. Practice daily self-love and acceptance.
When you’re living and creating from a place of genuine love and acceptance, you will know that what other people do, say, and think about you really has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. If you don’t like what they have to say about you, you can walk away knowing you are being true to yourself.
A regular, daily practice of self-love and self-acceptance is key for releasing attachment to outcomes and maintaining happy, healthy relationships. For many people, this journey begins with meditation, breath-work, yoga, eating healthy, spending time in nature, and creating art. No matter what you do, make sure to do something that reminds you how much you love yourself every day. As you feel more self-love and self-acceptance, you will attract more of it into your space.
This is a life-long mission, not an instant transformation that happens overnight, so please be kind and forgive yourself if you fall back into the cycle of worrying about what other people think. If you find yourself feeling attached to their opinions of you, just remember that they, like you, are walking a long journey of internal healing and growth, and that their attitudes are unique and personal to them … and truly none of your business!
Photo Credit: Stocksy.com
CONTRIBUTOR: Dr. Kelly Neff
The mind is a real magician. It often presents an illusion so real that we don’t even stop to consider if it’s true. When we define ourselves by our projections (projections created by our minds – the same tricky mind that likes lying to us), we lock ourselves in the fiction that we already know who we are based on fears, logic, conditioning and habits.
We’re limiting our true potential.
It’s time to examine your mind and ask yourself, “What lies am I telling myself that are holding me back?” Here’s a list of 10 that you should be aware of and avoid, to become the happiest version of yourself.
1. You are your feelings – you are your thoughts.
When you’re encompassed by a powerful emotion it can feel like it’s in every fiber of your being. But is this actually true? Are we our emotions?
If we were our feelings or thoughts, when they disappear, we should disappear too. But we don’t. Thoughts, feelings and emotions fade away like a weather system passing through. They are not you.
2. Risks aren’t worth it.
Many people are on a quest for safety, but the reality is that no one will never attain it, given the certainty of uncertainty. Everyone lives in a constant state of change. So whether you play it safe or take risks, the outcome isn’t guaranteed
Make choices that put you above everything and everyone else. Even your loved ones. After all, if you’re not taking care of yourself, your relationships will eventually suffer.
3. Happiness is attached to material success.
You can’t buy happiness. The things in life that truly make us happy are always free: love, laughter, the present moment, kindness, acceptance, gratitude and compassion.
4. You’re fat, ugly, short or dumb.
There will always be someone smarter, funnier, more successful or better looking, you will never live up to the projections you seek. Remember that life is impermanent, so putting your self worth in the basket of physical appearances always will let you down. Stop worrying, because you’ll only face an endless struggle of trying to maintain something that will always be out of grasp.
5. You’re a victim, or it’s never your fault.
Stop being the victim. Is anyone else really responsible for how you feel inside? We all love to blame; how convenient it is that we often overlook our own responsibility in our relationships.
Accepting fault will improve your credibility, increase learning, solidify relationships and you will appear trustworthy. It will give you strength, not weaken it.
6. You don’t need my friends.
Many times your friendships will take a back seat to other prioritizes, like your kids or work, but telling yourself you don’t need to make the effort is a big mistake.
Friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness, enhance happiness, reduce stress and give you companionship.
7. The past decides the future.
Stop trying to hold on to the past, and stop beating yourself up for your past actions. We all make mistakes. It’s the way we learn, but you are not your mistakes. The past is gone, and dwelling will only strip the present of joy. This is your life, right now!
8. You are alone.
When you feel lonely, sad or hurt you may mistakenly believe that you’re alone, that no one else has ever felt so low. The reality is that everyone in the entire universe at one time or another has felt these exact emotions. Just because you can’t always see the connection doesn’t mean it isn’t there, so take comfort in our interdependence.
9. You need to be perfect.
Find the balance between doing a good job and obsessing. Perfectionism causes stress, pessimism, obsessiveness, guilt, and the list goes on. Rememmber you are only human. Tackle life with a light playfulness. Stop taking yourself so seriously.
10. You need to worry about everything.
It is true that worrying strips you of all joy. Can we end suffering? I think we can, if we could only realize that all our suffering comes from our own unpleasant feelings. What if we changed our reactions and thoughts to outer problems. Just ask yourself, what if? It opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Recognize your thoughts, and don’t be afraid to question them and redefine them.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
CONTRIBUTOR: Tina Williamson
Reality is not as obvious and simple as we like to think. Some of the things that we accept as true at face value are notoriously wrong. Scientists and philosophers have made every effort to change our common perceptions of it. The 10 examples below will show you what I mean.
1. Great glaciation.
Great glaciation is the theory of the final state that our universe is heading toward. The universe has a limited supply of energy. According to this theory, when that energy finally runs out, the universe will devolve into a frozen state. Heat energy produced by the motion of the particles, heat loss, a natural law of the universe, means that eventually this particle motion will slow down and, presumably, one day everything will stop.
Solipsism is a philosophical theory, which asserts that nothing exists but the individual’s consciousness. At first it seems silly – and who generally got it into his head completely deny the existence of the world around us? Except when you put your mind to it, it really is impossible to verify anything but your own consciousness.
Don’t you believe me? Think a moment and think of all the possible dreams that you have experienced in your life. Is it not possible that everything around you is nothing but an incredibly intricate dream? But we have people and things around us that we cannot doubt, because we can hear, see, smell, taste and feel them, right? Yes, and no. People who take LSD, for example, say that they can touch the most convincing hallucinations, but we do not claim that their visions are “reality”. Your dreams simulate sensations as well, after all, what you perceive is what different sections of your brain tell you to.
As a result, which parts of existence can we not doubt? None. Not the chicken we ate for dinner or the keyboard beneath our fingers. Each of us can only be sure in his own thoughts.
3. Idealist Philosophy
George Berkeley, the father of Idealism, argued that everything exists as an idea in someone’s mind. Berkley discovered that some of his comrades considered his theory stupid. The story goes that one of his detractors kicked a stone with his eyes closed and said, “There I’ve disproved it!”
The idea being that if the stone really only exists in his imagination, he could not have kicked it with his eyes closed. Refutation of Berkeley is hard to understand, especially in these days. He argued that there is an omnipotent and omnipresent God, who sees all and all at once. Realistic, or not?
4. Plato and Logos.
Everybody has heard of Plato. He is the world’s most famous philosopher. Like all philosophers he had a few things to say about reality. He argued that beyond our perceived reality there lies a worldof “perfect” forms. Everything that we see is just a shade, an imitation of how things truly are. He argued that by studying philosophy we have a chance of catching a glimpse of how things truly are, of discovering the perfect forms of everything we perceive.
In addition to this stunning statement, Plato, being a monist, said thateverything is made of a single substance. Which means (according to him) that diamonds, gold and dog feces all consist of the same basic material, but in a different form, which, with science’s discovery of atoms and molecules, has been proven true to an extent.
Time is something that we perceive as a matter of course, if we view it at the moment, we usually divide it into past, present and future. Presentism argues that the past and the future are imagined concepts, while only the present is real.
In other words, today’s breakfast and every word of this article will cease to exist after you have read it, until you open it again. The future is just as imaginary, because time cannot exist before and after it happened, as claimed by St. Augustine.
Enternalism is the exact opposite of presentism. This is a philosophical theory that says that time is multi-layered. It can be compared to a pound cake (however, unlike the time, a biscuit is not up for philosophical debate). All time exists simultaneously, but the measurement is determined by the observer. What he sees depends on which point he is looking at.
Thus dinosaurs, World War II and Justin Bieber all exist simultaneously but can only be observed from a specific location. If one takes this view of reality then the future is hopeless and the deterministic free will is illusory.
7. The Brain in a Jar
The “brain in a jar” thought experiment is a question discussed by thinkers and scientists, who, like most people, believe that human’s understanding of reality depends solely on his subjective feelings.
So, what is the debate? Imagine that you are just a brain in a jar that is run by aliens or mad scientists. How would you know? And can you truly deny the possibility that this is your reality?
This is a modern interpretation of the Cartesian evil demon problem. This thought experiment leads to the same conclusion: we cannot confirm the actual existence of anything except our consciousness. If this seems to sound reminiscent of the movie “The Matrix“, it is only because this idea was part of the very basis of the story. Unfortunately, in reality we have no red pills…
8. The Multiverse Theory
Anyone who has not spent the last ten years on a desert island, has at least once heard of “the multiverse”, or parallel universes. As many of us have seen, parallel words, in theory, are worlds very similar to ours, with little (or in some cases, large) changes or differences. The multiverse theory speculates that there could exist an infinite number of these alternate realities.
What’s the point? In a parallel reality you have already killed the dinosaurs, and you are lying under the ground at a depth of eight feet (because that’s what happened there.) In the other you might be a powerful dictator. In another you might never have even been born since your parents never met. Now that’s a memorable image.
9. Fictional realism.
This is the most fascinating branch of multiverse theory. Superman is real. Yes, some of you would probably choose a different story, for argument’s sake, Harry Potter might be real too. This branch of the theory argues that given an infinite number of universes, everything must exist somewhere. So, all of our favorite fiction and fantasy may be descriptive of an alternate universe, one where all the right pieces came in to place to make it happen.
Everyone is interested in what happens to things when we aren’t looking at them. Scientists have carefully studied this problem and some of them came to a simple conclusion - they disappear. Well, not quite like this. Phenomenalist philosophers believe that objects only exist as a phenomenon of consciousness. So, your laptop is only here while you are aware of, and believe in its existence, but when you turn away from it, it ceases to exist until you or someone else interacts with it. There is no existence without perception. This is the root of phenomenalism.
EcovativeEcovative aims to create “cost competitive alternatives to synthetics like foams and plastics.”
As a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Eben Bayer, a co-founder of the company Ecovative Design and a Vermont native with some experience harvesting mushrooms, realized that perlite, a type of volcanic glass frequently used as a component of insulation, was also used in growing mushrooms.
He thought it might be possible to make insulation out of fungi using perlite – and in a class before he graduated in 2007, he proved right.
Now, the company he founded with classmate Gavin McIntyre — Ecovative Design — is angling to provide not just a mass-market, organic insulation material, but also a replacement for Styrofoam, the non-biodegradable, carbon-intense material widely used in packing and shipping.
Both are both produced through microbinding, in which local agricultural waste — including buckwheat, rice and cottonseed hulls and other materials high in lignin, a complex organic polymer found in many plants — is mixed with cells from a specific type of fungi.
Within about a week, Mr. Bayer said, the fungus digests the lignin, producing a strong biological matrix. The mixture is poured into a mold and then dehydrated, creating the finished product.
“So essentially, we use the energy locked up in the ag waste to put together a new product,” says Bayer.
Jeff Stone, the editor-in-chief of Mycologia, a journal devoted to all things fungus, says, “Fungi require a source of carbon and energy like we do. In this case, what they are consuming is cellulose from plant walls, and rice hulls are predominantly cellulose.”
Because Ecovative uses locally sourced raw materials and grows its products in the dark at room temperature, the company says they are less energy-intensive and cheaper to manufacture than Styrofoam.
Just how the whole process might scale up, however, remains to be seen. So far, the company has only installed a few demonstration walls using Greensulate, its insulation material. And the company is releasing limited quantities of “Acorn,” its packing material, as custom-made packaging for certain Northeast manufacturers in 2009.
CONTRIBUTOR: LAURA SHIN