Una's Blog


Una’s little world 35. What other people think of you





by Una Hearne.

How much of your time and energy do you waste worrying about what other people think of you? Do you agonise over everyday decisions, trying to make the ‘right’ choice, so other people will approve? If somebody criticises your choice, does that ruin it? Do you need approval from other people before you can feel good about yourself?

In other words are you giving other people the power to make you feel good or bad?

Just let that sink in if you need to. Other people do not have power over your feelings unless you give it to them. (Quick caveat, this does not apply if you are trapped in a toxic situation with a toxic person, that’s a whole other blog.)

Running yourself ragged in an effort to please everyone or someone in particular is exhausting. And often fruitless since people change their minds, moods and opinions day to day. Approval is lovely and worth enjoying, but it is not worth devoting your life to. That’s like building a house on a foundation of marbles. Takes a mighty amount of energy to keep it up.

If you have given away your power, you can take it back anytime. Right now if you like. You can decide to make choices which are right for you. That you approve of. Radical, I know.

Now plenty of people tell me, even if they can drown out what everyone else wants or approves of, they find they are not sure what they want themselves. They simply don’t have the practice knowing. Good news – this is a skill you can learn easily. When you learn to trust yourself (your feelings/ intuition/ gut instinct/ inner wisdom) you will always be able to make the right choices for you. It’s just practice. Here is an exercise to get you started:

Pick one food you love and another you hate (chocolate and brussels sprouts -yuk – for me). Focus on one of them. Imagine the smell, the taste. Imagine you must eat it, pick it up. Notice where in your body you feel something about it and name the feeling or describe the sensation. Give it a few minutes to be clear what your feelings are. Do the same with the other food. You will notice very different (physical and emotional) feelings for each. This will teach you what ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ feel like to you.

You can do this self-observation exercise with any two things you know you love and hate. For example, a person you love and one you don’t so much. Imagine a three hour car journey with each. Or with two activities – like hanging out with your favourite people versus wading through a sewer.

Knowing what is right for you is an essential life skill. Bottom line – Do you want to live your life well, in your opinion? Or by ninety, will you still be waiting for the world to tell you you’re OK?



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