The best way to overcome your (completely normal) fear of what people think is to do things that make people think about you. Yes, it’s counterintuitive. And yes – it works! Here’s how I’m successfully overcoming fear of what other people think of me, and how you can find the same freedom, peace, and joy in your life.
I always struggled with insecurity because I felt inferior to others. I never felt like I was as good as people who had a “normal” mom and a dad because I grew up with a single schizophrenic mother. I lived in three different foster homes as a kid, and never stayed in one place long enough to actually feel at home. It was only until I started to Blossom as a writer that I learned the secret tips for overcoming fear of what people think about me…
One of the best ways to develop a thick skin – the skin of a rhinoceros is what my writing self likes to call it – is to put yourself out there. Share your opinions and ideas, and know that they may be criticized. Ignored, more likely. Maybe challenged.
Commenting online or blogging as your true self is a great way to start overcoming your anxieties and insecurities. Here’s what life coach Arianna Merritt says about blogging or sharing your thoughts online when you’re afraid of what people think:
“Initially, my blog wasn’t successful and I almost gave up on it,” she says on How to Overcome Your Fear of What People Think. “When I started loving myself and valuing myself, and not focusing on my inner critic and the past insults of others, the posts started to flow as I began to write from the heart. The words just came to me and suddenly I knew exactly what to say.”
And that, my Blossomy friend, is not the first tip for overcoming your fears and anxieties about what people think! Why? Because it didn’t work for me. It worked for Arianna, and that’s great! But I needed something more, probably because I’m more of an oddball than she is.
How to Overcome Fear of What People Think About You
Here are the 7 most helpful tips for overcoming your fear. The first one is the best place to start…
1. Openly share your fears and anxieties about people what think about you
Instead of reposting cute kitty cat videos on Facebook and retweeting profound cliches on Twitter, start sharing what you really think and feel. Starting now.
Read through my tips for overcoming fear of what people think about you, and then share how you feel. Write your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and/or feelings in the comments section below. This is how you start to develop that skin of a rhino and Blossom into a beautiful strong willow tree that will withstand the storm of public opinion! One of the best tips for overcoming fear of what people think about you is to practice making yourself vulnerable to their thoughts and opinions.
2. Accept that you’ll always care what people think of you – at least a little
I first started trying to stop caring what people thought when I was a Grade 8 teacher. Do you know how hard it is to just “be yourself” and teach 13 year old students who have no control over their mouths, brains, bodies, opinions, or hormones? Especially when you’re an insecure single 30 year old who battles chronic insecurity and inferiority? It’s super hard. I knew that if I wanted to be an effective teacher (but not necessarily the most well-liked teacher in the school), I had to learn how to overcome my fear of what my students thought of me.
But I didn’t know how to where to start. I thought I could just “stop caring” what my students thought about me, but I was o so wrong. Why? Because we’re wired to care about what people think of us. And, because what people think really does matter. Their opinions can have a real and direct effect on our lives, and that is unsettling. Scary, even.
3. Learn why you’re wired to care what other people think about you
We care what other people think because of our drive to survive. Back in the day, if our tribal ancestors thought we were weird, we got kicked out of the village. And if we got kicked out of the village, we would die. We’re wired to fit in and be normal because if our fellow villagers or tribe though we were odd, insane, or useless then they’d boot us out of the safe circle. This is BAD when your village is your only means of security, food, survival, warmth, and a hug now and then. If your clan thought you weren’t adding value – or, worse, if you were actually draining valuable resources from the village as a whole – then you might as well write your funeral dirge.
That’s why you’re wired to care about the opinions of others. And that’s why you’re not keening to start actually applying my tips for overcoming fear of what people think about you. You’re fighting your basic human nature.
4. Dig into the personal reason you’re scared of what other people think
You’re hardwired to be part of society, so you care what people think about you. But you also have personal reasons for being insecure and fearful of the opinions of others.
What are they? Don’t look at me. I don’t know YOUR reasons for fearing what other people think about you. I’ve already told you mine, though: I grew up with a crazy crazy mom, moving in and out of foster homes, feeling like crap about myself, and never having a secure place to lay my head. We slept outside sometimes, we got groceries from the food bank, and I was neglected and abused.
Tell me your reasons for struggling with insecurity and inferiority. Know that everyone feels not good enough, even if they hide it well. Know that the reason we feel not good enough is because we constantly compare ourselves to others. Sometimes we win the competition, sometimes we lose…but we’re always judging ourselves. That’s why we’re struggling to overcome fear of what people think. It’s a constant battle.
5. Learn how to play an instrument – and perform in public
Yup! Get your little bottom out there and learn how to Blossom as a musician! I wrote How to Overcome Stage Fright – 6 Best Tips for Introverts after I completely botched a musical performance. I play the flute; my friend and I were supposed to play three songs in front of a small casual group. This was a dress rehearsal; the real performance was still a month away.
I totally froze! I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t reach the high notes, I couldn’t do anything but melt in fear of what people were thinking about me. It was the most awful experience. But, the good thing was that I learned a TON about overcoming fear of what people think about me. I had to, because I was determined to perform in the actual concert.
6. Walk up hills backwards
This is my second most favorite tip for overcoming fear of what people think about me! My best tip is next, but this “walking up hills backwards” trick is pretty damn good, I must say.
A few months ago I hurt my hamstring, and can’t run hills or stairs anymore. Jammit! I still craved exercise (for to exercise is to Blossom), so I started walking backwards up the hills in my neighborhood. It’s the same type of exercise that my physiotherapist gave me to strengthen the muscles and support my hamstring, and it’s much more interesting and intense than lying on the floor doing the physiotherapy exercises.
At first, I was so worried about what people thought when they saw me walking backwards up the hills! Luckily I exercise at 5:30 am so there aren’t many people out and about. But there are some…and when I was finally spotted, guess what happened? Nothing! The guy didn’t stone me, or call me crazy, or push me down, or yell for help, or ask me what the hell I thought I wasn’t doing. He didn’t do anything.
And I realized that I need to do what I need to do, regardless of what people think about me.
7. Get your identity from God
Ah, now we get to the real truth. All my previous tips for overcoming fear of what people think about you are helpful…but the best one is to know who you are.
Who did God create you to be? Are you Blossoming into that person? You aren’t, because if you were you wouldn’t be searching for tips on how to overcome fear of what people think of you.
Here’s how I Blossomed: I spent 15 minutes writing my answer to this question: “How does God see you?” That 15 minutes changed my life…and it can change yours, too.
When you know who you are as a child of God who is saved by Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, then you will find it easier to overcome your fear of what people think. Your identity will be secure, and you won’t have to look to other people for your self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence. You will be confident in your Father who loves you deeply and gave everything for you.
And you won’t have to worry anymore about overcoming your fear of what people think about you.
How do you feel about this? Tell me in the comments section below. Better yet, tell Him.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.