‘What will people think?’ is probably a question that runs your life without you even knowing it. I didn’t.
For me, it sounded like, ‘I need to [ look better, explain to them why that, have this by that age, not tell him this now, etc ].’ Those are all variations of the fear of what other people might think.
The fear has three contributing parts at least:
1: Our culture. We’re subtly trained to believe there’s a way things are supposed to be and we need to get them ‘right’ to be ‘good enough.’
2: Our biology. We’re wired to want to be accepted because of survival, tribal’y stuff.
3: Our childhood. This one amplifies or lessens the influence of parts 1 and 2. (I put more on this at the end.)
These add up to a big, surprisingly quiet force that distorts our choices in anticipation of what we think others might think. ‘ …Lol. We aren’t even making choices based on what they really think, only what we think they’ll think. In short, we’re pretty much always afraid that we aren’t getting it ‘right’ or we aren’t ‘good enough’ AND someone might notice.
Just to be clear, this isn’t encouragement to be ignorant of behaviors that negatively impact others. It’s actually easier to make choices that are respectful when you aren’t driven by fear. Plus, we don’t increase our chance of survival by trying to control how people interpret us. We decrease it by creating stressful mental, emotional, and physical environments. We don’t get more people to like us by being what we think they’ll think is good (lol again). Let’s be real, you can tell when someone isn’t being true to themselves and it’s not that likable.
‘What will people think?’ deprives you and the world of your individuality, genius, and well-being. It’s not fun nor effective. When you notice you’re adjusting your choices because of this fear, take a deep breath and practice hearing yourself. What’s right for me right now? What do I want? Who knows, maybe what people will think then is that it might be ok for them to be true to themselves, too.
[ Do-It-Yourself Metaphysics | in short | is a series of small, practical paragraphs to remind you of your power. For more content or to learn about working with me, visit linktr.ee/shayleeedwards ]
More on the childhood part ’cause if this is you, I feel yah. Here’s how it can show up:
Did you have an irrational parent you didn’t wanna upset? You likely learned to be ultra-careful about what they might think. Were you misunderstood at school? You may have figured out how to change what you did to blend in more.
Experiences like that can amplify the fear of what other people might think AND increase the chance of you *not* noticing you’re influenced. If this is you, don’t worry. You can repattern yourself. Plus, there are beautiful upsides to these adaptations you can learn to harness. I.e. You aren’t stuck with any sh!t AND there are cool skills to claim. I have a lot of free content on this topic or you can talk to me about teaming.