stop worrying what other people think of you

Most of us don’t like to admit that we worry about what other people think of us, but it’s definitely something I’ve struggled with.

Have you ever stopped to consider the impact that worrying what others think has on you, such as causing stress, perpetuating insecurity, and hurting your self-confidence?

How nice would it be to go through life without being deterred by anyone else’s opinion of you?

In today’s episode, we’re exploring the problems with worrying what others think and I’m giving you three (3) powerful cures to overcome that worry, so you can confidently and completely be your authentic self—regardless of what anyone else thinks.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The subtle but significant difference between worrying what people think and caring what people think.
  • Why fear of imperfection stops us from being our authentic selves.
  • How worry creates unhealthy levels of stress, perpetuates insecurity, creates fear, and hurts our self-confidence.
  • How to empower yourself by taking responsibility for your own experience and no one else’s.
  • Three (3) cures to stop worrying by remembering that everyone is far more concerned with themselves than they are with you.

TWEETABLES

“Give up being perfect for being authentic.” - Hal ElrodClick To Tweet
“Don’t worry about trying to impress people, just focus on how you can add value to their lives.” - Hal ElrodClick To Tweet

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TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

 

Hal Elrod: Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod, and thank you so much for tuning in today. I have to tell you, I just finished recording today’s episode and I loved it. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Maybe you’re going to be like, I don’t know what’s so great about it, Hal, but maybe you’ll love it, too. I don’t know. Literally, I got done. I was like, “Whoa!” I yelled. And my wife goes, “Good podcast.” I said, “Yeah.”

 

So, anyway, I feel good about it. And we’re talking about how to stop worrying what other people think of you. That’s the topic today. We’re going to talk about what’s detrimental about it, like is it a big deal? Do we need to stop worrying? How does it show up in our lives? In what ways do we worry about our appearance or what we do or say or that kind of thing? And we’re maybe three cures. Three cures, I was starting with two, and the third one came up, and it actually ended up being a great one. So, three cures today to overcome worrying what people think of you.

 

Before we dive in, though, I want to take a minute to thank, acknowledge, and tell you about our sponsor, Organifi. Here’s where we’re going to start, not all plants are created equally. We have heard of fruits and vegetables that they contain vitamins and minerals that we need for a healthy life, but have you heard of adaptogens? If you listen to the podcast, you probably have because I’ve mentioned this before, but adaptogens are herbs and mushrooms that literally help you “adapt” to the stress in your life. They balance hormones, promote a state of calmness, and help you get back to homeostasis faster than usual.

 

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And then last but not least, for those of you that are using the Miracle Morning app, I want to let you know we are working on updates and it’s so slow going, and if you’re like, “When are the updates coming?” Trust me, nobody wants them sooner than I do. I believe, though, I hate to say this because there keep being delays. I think that it’s supposed to be within the next week that we’ll have an update pushed out. Totally free. Of course, that allows you to log in and save all of your information because that’s one issue we had where if you switched devices, your info didn’t go from one to another device. So, that’s happening.

 

And then very quickly after that, we already have it done. It’s just waiting in the background is a journal feature that we’re adding to the app and an affirmations creator. So, these are some of the main features that you, our community, have said they wanted for the Miracle Morning app that are going to be added for free. And then we’re also working on a subscription plan where we’re going to have content, like guided meditations and visualizations. That’s been a big request. We’re just finding a team that can help to record these audios and videos. We already found them. And I’m really excited about that. So, anyway, Lucy Osborne and Patricia Moreno, two of my favorites, will be the main voices in the Miracle Morning app. So, that’s all to come, but I just want to give you an update in case you’re wondering when are these updates that are supposed to be coming going to be coming. They are around the corner. Hopefully, in the next week, we get the first one, and then the journal and the affirmations creator probably next month, I would say. So, look out for that. And if you don’t have the app, you can get the Miracle Morning app in the App Store or in the Google Play Store. That’s it.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

Hal Elrod: Alright. Without further ado, three cures to overcome worrying what other people think of you. How much time do you spend worrying about what others think of you, how you look, how you sound, how you come across on social media? You post something and then go, oh, you maybe delete it. I know I’ve done that before. How much time you spend worrying whether other people like you, whether they respect you? I know I’ve been in situations before where I feel like these people, they don’t respect me. I feel like I want their respect. I maybe even deserve their respect in my mind. Why don’t they seem like they respect me? And more importantly, have you ever stopped and really considered how worrying what other people think about you impacts your quality of life or stopped and really thought about that? We’re going to do that today. Is it detrimental? To worry what others think is detrimental to you, possibly in ways that we might not even be aware of. Unconsciously, we were so used to it. It’s considered so normal in society to worry what other people think of you, worried about your appearance, so on and so forth.

 

I mentioned this on a podcast a few weeks ago that almost every podcast I record, I worry what you think. I want you to like the podcast and I want you to see me for who I am which I would hope is in a good light. So, in the recording and almost every week, I look, think back literally throughout the day, sometimes falling asleep that night. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, did I say that? That came across as arrogant or insensitive or tone-deaf. Oh, my God. So, this applies to me. Now, I’m going to share with you two strategies today to overcome this, like anything. There’s going to be good days and bad days. Sometimes you’re going to get it right. Sometimes you’re going to struggle. I don’t think any of us find perfection in really an area of life. Life is a constant ebb and flow, but there are two strategies that I’m going to share with you.

 

And if you want to really understand why this is important, I mentioned have you ever stopped and really considered how worrying what other people think impacts you? I’d like to invite you to consider a couple of things. Here’s what I see as some of the detrimental impacts of worrying what others think. And there’s some that are common, and then there’s, to me, the biggest one. And the common ones, it causes us to experience what can be unhealthy levels of stress. You’re stressed about what other people think of you. It could be going into a situation with others, or it could be during or it could be after. Like with the podcast and me looking back and thinking about what I said. But it perpetuates insecurity, it creates insecurity, it creates fear, and it can hurt our self-confidence. Again, it can hurt it before where our self-confidence wavers because we don’t feel like we look good or we sound good. And maybe even more often, it hurts our self-confidence after the fact if we make a mistake and say something or show up in a way that doesn’t reflect who we aspire to be.

 

But above all, I believe the most detrimental aspect of worrying what other people think about us is it prevents us from being ourselves, fully ourselves, living in the moment, being who we are because we end up catering, changing, adjusting, limiting who we are based on what we think will please other people, what we think other people want or expect, or simply looking good for others. And you can’t live your full potential when you’re catering who you are to try and please others, you just can’t. And the reason this came up for me, by the way, I was at a wedding in Cancun. My best friend got married, and I was the best man in the wedding. And we danced at the wedding. My wife and I danced, and I danced with friends as well. And I love to dance.

 

When my wife and I were in our 20s dating, we would go to clubs. And the way that I dance, it’s kind of wild. Like it’s a cross between, I don’t know, somebody in a Justin Timberlake video and ecstatic dance. I don’t know if you know what ecstatic dance is, but that’s a form of dance where you just completely let go. Usually, you just close your eyes, you go to the music, you just flow without worrying how you look at all. And my dancing is a combination of those two. In fact, Jon Berghoff, my good buddy, used to tease me. He would say, “Oh, here comes Hal and his choreographed dance moves,” and whatever it is, they’re not choreographed. Like I said, they look like a combination between choreographed and like totally crazy and random.

 

So, the point is after, and maybe even during a couple of times, but afterward, I was like, “Oh, how did I look? Did I look like I was trying to dance cool?” So, I got insecure. Did I look like I was trying too hard? Did I look crazy, like I was a maniac? Did people think I was drunk? Like I didn’t have a single drop of alcohol that night, but I would imagine, people watching might be like, dude, is that guy hammered? Like, he’s crazy, he’s all over the dance floor. What a maniac. I even unbuttoned a couple of my shirt buttons. Anyway, so but they brought this up for me, and it was kind of a blend of I didn’t care what people think from 90% of the evening. I was just fully able to be myself and enjoy the moment and let go completely, which is why people like ecstatic dance because it’s kind of this mutual agreement, if you go to an ecstatic dance party, it’s like, hey, nobody’s judging anybody. We’re all going to dance whatever we feel like. It could look weird. It might be flowy. We might be popping and locked in, but it’s this ecstatic dance, it’s this agreement that no matter what, we love each other, we don’t judge each other. And of course, at a wedding like that, nobody made that agreement. So, therefore, a little bit of insecurity. I thought, oh, I don’t know if I looked like a weirdo.

 

So, that brought up for me this topic, this idea of worrying what other people think. It was a combination of letting you guys and gals know that I worry after a podcast of what I said and how I came across to you and whether or not it reflected my values and who I really am, and then being at that wedding and dancing. So, I really want to, first and foremost or at this point, make a distinction between worrying what people think about you and caring what people think because there’s a significant difference. It’s a subtle but very significant difference because worrying what people think, I think all of us will think, I don’t care what people think of me. I think there’s an ego aspect. I know that when I was younger, I used to think I don’t care what others think, but that was totally a lie. I’m 42 years old now and I still care what other people think.

 

But again, caring and worrying, what’s the difference? Well, from my perspective, worrying about what other people think, worrying is coming from a place of fear. You’re fearful of what other people think, you’re fearful that they might not like you. That caused us to experience stress, insecurity, as I mentioned, a lack of self-confidence. So, that is detrimental. However, caring what other people think is instead of coming from a place of fear, like worrying is from a place of fear, caring, from my perspective, it’s coming from a place of love. So, instead of causing stress and insecurity and lack of self-confidence, it prompts us to be thoughtful and kind and generous. So, the subtle difference, caring versus worrying, either way, you’re still thinking about what other people think of you and how other people are receiving you and how your thoughts or how your words and actions are impacting other people. Caring is still thinking of those things, but the difference is coming from a place of fear which is the worry, or a place of love which is the care. Again, subtle but significant difference.

 

So, today, I really just want to share with you a couple of distinctions around this topic. Before I do, I want to ask you to consider yourself and your own experience with this topic. How much energy? Again, I opened up the episode today by asking how much time do you spend worrying what other people think of you. So, how much time do you spend? I’m not looking, you don’t need to give me an actual, you don’t need to figure it, well, it’s like 18 minutes a day. Just in general, like how much of your energy, how much thought do you put into worrying what other people think? And is that serving you? Is that serving you? Or is it detrimental? Is it causing you to show up in a certain way to try to please others versus living fully, authentically? You may have heard, there’s a quote that I wrote about in one of my books a long time ago, I think it was actually my first book, Taking Life Head On! Give up being perfect for being authentic. Give up being perfect for being authentic. And this really leads into the first cure, if you will, to overcome worrying what others think.

 

I was giving a speech at an event. I don’t even know, it’s been 15 years ago, something like that. And I used to always get so nervous going into my speeches. Oh, in fact, now I remember, this was actually relatively recent after my car accident. And my car accident was when I was 20, and I suffered permanent brain damage. And my memory was so bad, my short-term memory, if you visited me in the hospital and you could have come and spent an hour with me while I was in my hospital bed, and then if you went to lunch and came back, I would literally have forgotten you were there that morning. My short-term memory was just wiped out. And it gradually came back over many years. I still struggle with it. But it gradually came back slowly but surely, got a little bit better and a little bit better and a little bit better over time.

 

But when I went back to speaking, as you might imagine, having a memory like remembering what you’re going to say, kind of important, like, yes, you can have notes, but I went and gave this speech and I remember it was one of the first speeches I gave, I think it was at one of my company conferences, and I had notes, but I didn’t want it to be word for word, like I couldn’t read the whole thing. So, it was just kind of bullet points. And I got up on stage and I remember I was so nervous that I was going to forget in the middle because I would literally, very often, the other thing other than just forgetting when someone would visit me and leave, I would often in the middle of talking, telling a story, I would forget what I was talking about. I would forget. What was I talking about? Where was I going?

 

And by the way, when you combine brain damage with ADHD, severe ADHD which I’ve had for as long as I can remember, then what happens is you go off on tangents and you don’t remember where you were. I still struggle with that today, all the time. I go off on tangents. So, that’s the ADHD part, oh, tangent squirrel. And then you go, once you’re two minutes into the tangent, you’ll what in the hell was I talking about? And you better hope, I hope that people that I’m around, good listeners that are really paying attention and really tuned in. Otherwise, the conversation’s lost.

 

But anyway, so I was giving– oh, there was a tangent. Let’s see if I can get back. Here we go. I’m actually, I think I know where I was going. So, back to the speech, I was really nervous that I was going to forget what I was talking about and I was up on stage. And I’m giving the speech. I went into it worrying what people would think of me, worrying that if I lost track of what I was talking about, that they would judge me, that they would think I wasn’t a good speaker, that I would lose credibility, that I would lose respect. So, again, these are examples of what worrying does to us, how detrimental it is. It hurts our confidence. It makes us feel insecure. It hurts us on and on.

 

And so, I go into the speech and I’m in the middle of it and I’m going along, it’s going good. And telling jokes, they’re laughing, I’m teaching them stuff. And I go off on a tangent. And then once I come to a conclusion on a tangent, I don’t remember where I was. I don’t remember where my speech was. I forgot what I was talking about. Again, this is probably six months after my car accident, brain damage, very fresh. And thankfully, my wit took over in that moment. And I said, “Oh, guys and gals, I think you guys probably know I was in a car accident about six months ago. I have permanent brain damage, so I don’t remember what I was talking about quite often. And that moment is happening right now. So, I need you all to word. This is a team effort, okay? This is a team effort. I need you to really tune in and let me know what was I just talking about.”

 

And people from the audience started shouting out. Somebody goes, “Oh, oh, you’re telling the story about your mom in the hospital.” And I go, “Oh, yeah. What was the story?” And then somebody else yells, “You were saying that she…” And I don’t even remember the story, but you were saying how she talked about this, this. And after two or three people chiming in, I remembered it and I went, “Oh, oh, yeah. Okay, got it. Yes, thank you.” And I remember the entire audience feeling, like it was this collective accomplishment. They got me back on track. We were a team. We did it together. And that was the moment, or after that speech that I coined the phrase give up being perfect, which I was trying to be going into that speech. And it was my fear of imperfection was what was causing me to worry what others thought. I had a fear that I wouldn’t be perfect, that I’d forget what I was talking about. My fear of imperfection caused me to be worried.

 

And in that moment, I was just authentic. I said, “Guys, I have brain damage. I don’t remember what I’m talking about. Can you help me?” And we worked as a team, we figured it out. I was authentic. And I realized that there’s actually a great quote from Robin Sharma that kind of ties this together. He says, when you’re authentic– actually, no, he uses the word vulnerable. But to me, vulnerable and authentic are kind of synonyms. He says, “When you’re vulnerable with people, they’ll fall in love with you.” Think about that for a second. I’ve never forgotten that. I still apply that in my day to day. When you’re vulnerable with people, they’ll fall in love with you. When you’re authentic with people, they feel connected to you. It’s another way in my mind of saying that. When you’re vulnerable, when you’re authentic, people feel connected. They fall in love with you because we fall in love with people that are like us. And when you’re vulnerable and you’re authentic and you share openly and you don’t try to be perfect, you don’t try to impress them.

 

There’s another quote that fits in here is I’ve said, “Don’t worry about trying to impress people, just focus on how you can add value to their lives.” I think together, these three quotes are really a recipe for success. Give up being perfect for being authentic. When you’re vulnerable, people fall in love with you. Don’t worry about trying to impress people, just focus on adding value to their lives. So, how do you wrap that into a nice little package? It’s be authentic, be vulnerable, and focus on adding value to people’s lives. To me, that is a recipe for success in human interaction, in relationships. So, that first lesson, that first cure to overcome worrying about what people think of you is to realize that when you are authentic, when you don’t actually try to impress people, when you’re vulnerable and you’re just real, people actually feel more connected to you than when you are perfect.

 

And that great example is we all make mistakes. When you don’t let your ego be so big, that you can’t admit your mistake and you actually are just vulnerable and you say, I made a mistake, I messed up. I’m sorry. And just be authentic, I’m genuinely, like here’s what I meant to say or here was my intention, I see how I totally fumbled that it came across wrong. I apologize. My bad. And most people are going to go, hey, no, it’s okay. We all make mistakes. That’s okay. If you’re genuine, you’re authentic, you’re sincere, maybe there’s 1% of assholes that are going to be like, I don’t accept your apology. Okay. And we get to the most important cure here. I’ll save it, the best for last.

 

You’re going to realize why if someone is a jerk and they don’t accept your apology and they still judge you and condemn you for what you did or said, which is kind of what cancel culture is, like come on, you’re canceling somebody over a tweet five years ago. How about we give them a little grace? Let he who has never made a mistake be the first one to cancel another for making a mistake. Let’s see who is not sin– what’s the saying? Cast the first stone. We all make mistakes. Being sincere, being authentic, being vulnerable, not trying to impress you, old folks, and adding value to their lives is a huge, a monumental shift in how we can overcome worrying what other people think because we go, you know what? That’s kind of my, I don’t want to say pass, but if I make a mistake, which I’m almost indefinitely going to make mistakes, I can redeem myself by being vulnerable, being authentic, and focusing on how I can add value to the lives of other people, owning up to my mistakes, taking responsibility.

 

The second cure– I’m going to give you three cures. I was planning on two, but that one was actually based on a tangent. And it’s not in my notes here. But the second one is to realize that everybody’s focused on themselves. In other words, I heard it said once, if you realized how little people thought of you, you wouldn’t worry so much what they thought of you. Like, people are just focused on themselves. In fact, everybody’s worried about what others think of them. So, still using the dancing example, and I used to be big into dancing and I would sometimes bring people with me like friends. It was like, my, I don’t know what I would even call it, but I would really want to help people that were afraid of dancing, I’d want to get them out on the dance floor to overcome that fear. Now, you’d see it a big thing for me, whether it was a wedding or at a club or whatever, I would get my friends, even strangers, people that were afraid to dance, I would encourage them and get them out on the dance floor.

 

In fact, I learned that, I think I got that from my mom because when I was growing up, my mom is the party starter. She is the first one on the dance floor. She’s the one that pulls everybody out of their chair. In fact, I used to deejay at a bar, which I was like 15 years old, deejaying at a bar, but that’s when you grow up in a small town, you get away from the– I think it was probably illegal. I hope I don’t get canceled for that. But anyway, I was deejaying at a bar and also, I remember I did the bowling alley. I would deejay these public places in our small town. And I bring all my equipment set up. And I would always beg my mom to come because I knew that if nobody was dancing, there’s nothing worse when you’re a deejay and you can’t get people out of their seats. You can’t get people dancing.

 

Almost always, inevitably, one person has the confidence to jump up and dance, and then other people follow their lead. But sometimes, I mean, literally, I’ve done events where you can’t get anybody out of their seats. Like, no, it’s just not the energy in that crowd is not what you want. And so, it sucks. It’s like you feel like a failure. And if you’re being paid to deejay and you can’t get people to dance, like you failed. So, I’d always beg my mom to come and get the party started. And she has no fear, supreme confidence, dancing machine. It’s funny now that I’m saying this, I’m realizing where I got it from, but she would pull people out of their chairs and get people to dance.

 

Anyway, so I used to do that. I get people to dance. And the advice I would give them, I would say, look, you’re probably nervous, tell me if I’m wrong, but are you nervous that you don’t dance well? Like people are going to look at you and think you don’t dance well. And almost every time, they go, yeah, I’m embarrassed to dance. And I would say, let me let you in on a little secret. Every single person that gets on this dance floor is worried about how they look to other people. They don’t care about how you dance. All they care about is how they dance. And even people that dance well, they’re still concerned. Maybe they’re not worried because they know they can dance, but they’re concerned with how they look to other people. All of their focus is on themselves. So, whether you’re worried and afraid what other people think, and your focus is on your insecure, your self-obsessed, I go, or you’re a great dancer or whatever in that case, either way, you’re concerned with yourself. So, I would say, “Look, when you’re out there dancing, it doesn’t matter how you look, nobody cares.”

 

And so, that is the second cure to overcome worrying what other people think of you is to realize that everybody is concerned with themselves. Even if they do judge you and go, what you said, it was stupid or it was insincere or whatever, whatever, their attention just quickly goes back to themselves. And the moment that we realize that nobody really cares about our appearance or our life choices, like they’re thinking about themselves. Once we realize that they don’t care about anything at all regarding us, then we can experience freedom. So, you don’t have to worry what others think of you because you realize they’re worried about themselves, they’re concerned with themselves.

 

And the third, and to me, the most profound cure for overcoming worrying what other people think about you is you got to decide that the only person whose experience you are responsible for is your own, the only person whose experience you are responsible for. And when I say experience, I mean, like when I was out there on the dance floor, when I was at that wedding, if somebody was on the sidelines or they were dancing, and they’re like, “Dude, that guy dances like a weirdo, like a crackhead. He’s on something or he’s drunk.” That’s their experience. Why do I need to concern myself with their experience? Only it’s their experience. The only experience I am responsible for is my own and the only experience you’re responsible for is your own. And the only experience every other person is responsible for is their own.

 

And if they want to be judgmental of you or me, okay, that’s their experience, and they’re responsible for that, and it only impacts them. Think about that. Someone else’s opinion, it only impacts them unless you let it impact you. To me, that’s so empowering, that distinction, that realization. Someone else’s opinion, someone else’s experience, it only impacts them. If they think I’m this or that, that only hurts me or affects me in any sort of way if I allow it to. And I decided and still, this is a decision I have to make over and over and over and over again because I have decades of worrying what other people think about me to overcome. Like I said, I have not mastered this area. I’ve made a lot of progress in it. I’m passing that progress on to you. But for sure, it’s not an area of mastery yet, but it’s one that I’m working towards. It’s one of many.

 

I’m working on mastering emotional enlightenment. I’m much further along in that area than I am in this area. I’m working on mastering my physical health, my mental and emotional health, all of these things. I’m working on mastering finances. All these things, these are all areas of mastery, areas of improvement. Not areas that any of us have perfected. And perfection is not even a real thing, meaning like even when you’re 90 years old and you’ve been working on mastering something your entire life, you can still get better. You can always get better. There’s always a next level of mastery. There’s always a next level.

 

But in this regard, for me, the biggest impact, the greatest cure, the most effective cure for overcoming worrying what other people think about me that you can apply to overcome worrying what other people think about you is to decide. It’s a decision. You know the word decision means to cut off all other possibilities. That’s what the word decide means. It’s from the Latin root of another word, which I’m blanking on the exact word, decidere or something like that. But anyway, the point is to decide means to cut off all of the possibilities. So, it’s deciding that the only person whose experience you are responsible for, and therefore, the only person’s experience that you need to concern yourself with is your own, not anyone else’s.

 

So, to repeat these three cures to overcome worrying about what other people think of you, number one, is to give yourself grace, realizing that you’re going to make mistakes and understanding you can redeem yourself afterwards. So, giving yourself grace, you’re going to make mistakes, that you’re going to make mistakes, and realizing you can redeem yourself afterwards. How do you redeem yourself? By being authentic, by being vulnerable. Well, I even would throw in being sincere when you own up to what you did, and focusing not on impressing people, but on adding value to their lives.

 

The second cure is to simply realize that nobody really cares what you do in the scheme of things. Like maybe 1% of their attention goes to you and 99% they’re concerned with themselves and how they appear to other people, how they look to other people. Remember, when you realize that nobody cares about our appearance, our life choices or anything at all, then we can experience freedom from worrying what other people think.

 

And then third, and maybe most importantly, is to realize and decide that the only person whose experience you are responsible for is your own, not anyone else’s. Let them think whatever they want to think. Let them judge. Let them condemn. Let them hate if you want. If somebody hates you, that’s on them. Don’t let their experience affect your experience. You choose your experience. And I would imagine that you wouldn’t consciously choose to be stressed out or fearful or worried or insecure or unconfident. You wouldn’t consciously choose those states. But we unconsciously choose them when we allow ourselves to worry what other people think. So, let’s stop worrying, but let’s keep caring. Again, what’s the difference? When you worry what other people think, it’s coming from a place of fear. Worry and fear go hand in hand. And it caused us to experience stress, insecurity, and hurts our self-confidence. Caring on the other hand, caring what people think is coming from a place of love, not fear. And it prompts us to be thoughtful, kind, generous, and focused on adding value to the lives of other people.

 

So, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, friends, and family, I will continue to do my best not to worry what you think of me, but I will care. I will always care and I will always come from a place of love. And I will always be as thoughtful as I can for you, as kind as I can, as generous as I can, and try to add as much value to your life as I possibly can. And I hope to do the same for yourself and others. I love you so much. I hope you get a lot of value from today’s episode and I will talk to y’all next week. Take care.

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