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Why Do We Overthink and Worry What Other People Think?

Worrying about what others think does serve some purpose. We worry that being judged negatively by others may affect our relationships. Whether platonic, professional or intimate, relationships are very important to most people’s success and happiness.

There’s also a fear that experiencing a shameful or embarrassing situation will affect our status in society. Our natural instinct is to want to be liked by as many people as possible. In the past, humans probably would have been exposed to a much smaller circle of people. Within a smaller community, people likely shared more similar beliefs and behaviours. In fact,

being accepted by the group could have been directly linked to a person’s chances of survival.

In the modern world, our spheres are much wider, especially with the availability of online platforms. We are exposed to a huge amount of different people with differing opinions. Plus, social media has led to many people feeling comfortable about making quick, snap judgements about others. As a result, the fear of being judged is becoming more and more common amongst my clients.

Why Do We Overthink?

Studies show that we consistently overestimate how much other people are thinking of us and how bad these thoughts are. It’s very common for us to catastrophise or tend towards worst-case scenario thinking. This is especially true in people who have low-self worth, people pleasing behaviour or who constantly seek approval from others. The large number of people who come seeking help with this issue shows that we realise that worrying too much about what people think is detrimental to our happiness.

How Does Fear of Judgement Affect Us?

When we are too worried about what other people think or we fear being judged, it influences our behaviour to a point where we are unable to be ourselves. We feel uncomfortable and unsure about our actions which leads us to inaction or behaving in a way that doesn’t feel authentic. We find ourselves more inhibited, less spontaneous and missing out on some of the joys of life.

How Can We Stop Worrying?

There are things we can do to change our mindset and stop worrying so much about what others think.

Check People Pleasing Behaviour – take a look at your behaviour. Do you find yourself changing your behaviour to please others? Do you struggle to say no, even when you want to?

Work On Your Self-Confidence – sometimes we are more worried about what other people think because we are unsure of ourselves. The more confidence you have in yourself, the less you’ll care what others think.

Live In The Moment – when you focus on the moment and your experience of it, you’ll find you have less time to worry about the potential thoughts of other people.

Think Positively – when you focus on the positives in life and feel more positive about yourself, you’ll be less likely to assume negativity in others.

Work On Your Decision Making – if you feel comfortable in your own decisions, you will find you care less about others’ judgement.

Be Authentic – if you know you’re being authentically yourself, you will feel much more sure of yourself and require less approval.

Release Control – you can’t control what others think and feel, so it’s best not to worry about it. Focus on the things you can control – your behaviour and mindset.

Consider Why You Care So Much – sometimes there’s a subconscious driver that’s causing someone to excessively worry about their image. Uncovering this can potentially help you let it go.

Work On Past Issues – it’s not unusual for people who are especially sensitive to criticism from others to have been subjected to excessive criticism in the past. Working through these feelings can free you from excessive worry.

Further Help

You likely agree that life is short and that time spent worrying about what other people think is time wasted. But, these things are deep-rooted beliefs and behaviours both in society and within our subconscious. If it was easy to change, it wouldn’t be such a common concern. So how can we change it?

Hypnotherapy is an extremely effective way to change thoughts and behaviours that are ingrained. In just a few sessions, you can uncover the cause of your beliefs, gain a new perspective on your behaviour and make real, lasting changes to your outlook.


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