Episode 51: Worrying About What Others Think of You? How to Bounce Back Quickly

by | Last updated: Dec 7, 2023 | Podcast

“What other people think of you doesn’t matter.”

You can hear that a thousand times. You can even tell it to yourself over and over until you’re blue in the face. And while a select few may not be rattled by it, most of us feel the effects of someone else’s judgment.

But you can bounce back instead of letting it affect you for weeks, months, or a lifetime. In this episode of The Loving Truth podcast, you’ll learn three ways of thinking about this that’ll help soften and shorten the blow to just a few days (or even hours) of hurt feelings. I’ll even share with you how I’ve learned to deal with judgment from family members about what I do in my business.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

3:24 – Why the way someone feels about you has nothing to do with you

5:50 – What you can’t control (even if you think you can) and why

8:29 – The only opinion that ultimately matters (and a scenario that highlights why)

10:37 – The choices we all face when someone judges us

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Welcome to The Loving Truth Podcast where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now your host, relationship expert, and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope.

Hello, love. This is Sharon Pope. This is The Loving Truth. Today I want to talk about what other people think of you and how it relates to your marriage. Now, I almost didn't speak on this topic, I will tell you because I feel like it's been said 100 different ways.

We've all heard the phrases, “What other people think of you is none of your business,” or “The people that mind don't matter, and the people that matter don't mind.” I know you've heard that one. Or “My self-worth is not determined by others,” which sounds like a great mantra.

I know that there are a few unicorns on the planet that are so secure within themselves and know exactly who they are that they never get rattled when someone else judges them or when someone else says something bad about them, hurtful, or destructive about them.

But for most of us, we still get a little bit rattled. I will admit that I still get a little bit rattled. When someone that I love and care about or that I'm trying to love is hateful back to me, judgmental back to me, or just says or thinks unkind thoughts about me, that stings a little bit.

Now my bounce back is probably a no, it's better than it used to be. Before I had all these tools available to me that I now have and that I live by every day, now it might sting for a day. It might sting for even a few days, but it's not going to sting for weeks or a lifetime. It's just not. I won't allow for that.

But that means that there are a whole lot of people who don't have the tools that I have who really get twisted up when someone that they love and care about has something really negative to say about them. I was talking to a client last week and I flat-out asked her because she's in essentially a mentally and emotionally abusive marriage.

I asked her, “Why are you staying? What's going on?” Do you know the first thought that came to her mind? She said, “I'm afraid of what my mother-in-law will think of me if I decide to end the marriage.” Now it sounds absurd to say that out loud but we all have someone like that in our lives, don't we? Someone that we're trying to please, someone that we want to think highly of us, or that we want to maintain a healthy loving relationship with.

It might be your mother. It might be your mother-in-law. It might be your best friend. It might be your spouse, it might be your kids, but we all have, I feel like, someone that we do want them to think highly of us. We want to try to please them.

I'm going to give you three ways of thinking about this concept of what other people think of you that will hopefully soften this idea for you so that your bounce back isn't weeks, months, or a lifetime of hurt and pain because someone judged you or someone said something unkind about you and maybe just a few days or even a few hours.

The first thing that I want to address is the narrative or the story that's being created. Look, everyone is creating a story about you. Everyone's creating a story about me right now. You're creating a story about who you think I am. To some people, you might be smart and funny and to someone else, they think, “Oh, she's so full of herself. Who does she think she is?”

To someone else, they might look at what you do as, “Oh, look at her sharing her gifts, She's so talented in this way and she shares that so freely.” Someone else might look at that and go, “Oh, she's so controlling.” Or to one person, you might be really trustworthy because you're able to be with them with their negative emotions and with tough stuff, but then to someone else, you're super intimidating.

To some people, you're a hero, and to some people, you're a villain, and you're the exact same person. They're going to create a story. Now why is one person's story different than the other person's? Because of their experience.

Every single opinion that every single one of us creates is based upon our beliefs, our judgments, our fears, all of the totality of our life experience comes into play anytime that we are creating a story or an opinion about a situation or a person. It doesn't matter.

The way someone feels about you actually has nothing to do with you. I know we take it on as if it's all ours. If we would just do what they wanted us to do, then they would think highly of us. But we all know people where no matter how much you give, it's never enough. Their opinions that they're creating are about them. My opinions that I create are about me. Your opinions that you create are about you.

Someone else's opinion of you has nothing to do with you, my darling. It has to do with them. I want you to remind yourself of that. It's all built on what goes through their lens, how they see the world, and that's built on the totality of their life experiences that brought them to that place.

The second point that I want to make is that you can't control it. I know you think you can. You think you can control other people having a positive opinion of you if you will just do the things that they expect you to do or do the things they want you to do. But that's usually pretty short-lived until there's another thing they want you to do or another thing they expect you to do.

I feel like in some situations, we can do that for a little while but we can't do it forever. It's exhausting. I call it the hustle. It's like doing a dance like, “I'll do this dance for you. Then for someone else, I'm going to do this other dance.” You're just going to change your dance steps to appease the everybodies in your life so that they get to feel comfortable and you get to feel liked? That's how you're going to live your life?

Look, it's completely outside of your control. The reason it's outside of your control is because it's not this objective thing. It's completely subjective. It's not facts, it's feelings. That's why everyone comes to very different perspectives.

I'm going to give you an example that is ridiculous, in my opinion, but sometimes when you use the most ridiculous examples, it really drives home a point. Let's give it a shot. I was with my dad recently when my mom's health was declining, and every day my dad would send out an update to my mom's brothers and sisters, so my aunts and uncles.

He would send an update as to where her health was on that day. Most people would respond, “Thank you.” Well, so I didn't think anything of it. I think that's lovely. They're saying thank you. They're being appreciative. Seems like a nice thing to do. Oh, no, no, no. My dad is like, “Why do they have to respond? It's just one more thing I have to look at. That's so stupid. They don't have to respond thank you every single time.”

He got really irritated at it. We made a joke about it because I was like, “Look, Dad, you clearly have some rules that you think other people, the entire world need to abide by, which is when I send something to you, don't respond thank you. Good luck trying to get the entire world to operate on your standards.”

It's ridiculous because if you don't say thank you, people think you're ungrateful. If you do say thank you, you're wasting someone's time. It's all madness anyway. You can't control any of it. Sometimes people are just going to have irrational feelings and irrational thoughts about things. You can't control it so stop trying.

Now the third thing that I want to share with you on this topic, and that is that ultimately, other people's opinions of you will not matter. What will matter is how you feel about you.

I remember when I was talking to this client who had this fear of what her mother-in-law would think of her if she decided to end her mentally and emotionally abusive marriage, I said, “Imagine you're in the last days of your life when you're doing a life review. Do you think you're ever going to stop and say, ‘You know what, I'm so glad that I oriented my life around what my mother-in-law expected me to do so that she could feel more comfortable, and I could feel more liked.’?”

Look, this idea, the reason it perpetuates when we care what other people think is because of our desire to be liked. But the minute you give up the desire to be liked, the desire to be approved of, the desire to be loved, or the desire to be admired in some way, and you just hold tight to, “You know what, life is hard enough. I'm going to show up for my life and for the people in my life to the best of my ability. I'm going to do the best I can every single day,” and that's hard enough to do for most of us, but if you do that, and you just hold tight to like, “I just want to be proud of me. I want to look back on my life and go you know what, I'm proud of how I showed up for myself and for the people that I love,” that's what's going to matter.

That's the only thing that's going to matter. I promise you. The everybodies in your life, even the ones that you really love and care about, at the end of your days, that is not what's going to be on your heart and your mind about what other people think of you.

We've got to just give up this idea that other people need to approve of us. I'll tell you this, my family, they care about optics. Many people in my family, I'm not going to say everybody, many people in my family care about optics. I talk about some pretty tough stuff, don't I? I talked about struggling marriages. I talk about affairs. I talk about divorce so I get why members of my family, that might make them a little squeamish. I get that.

But when someone judges you or creates an opinion about you, you have a choice. In that situation, I have a choice. Here are my options: option A, stay small, get quiet. Do what they want you to do. Talk about things they're comfortable with, maybe only talk about how to save marriages because that's noble, that's honorable. They'd be willing to tell their friends, “You know what my niece does?” “Do you know what my daughter does?” They would tell people about that.

Nobody talks about what I do in my family. They don't tell people about it because it makes them squeamish. Option A, get small, dim your light. Or option B, shine brightly. Share the gifts that you are created to share. Do what you know you're built for, that you know why you're here for.

When I get that judgment from even in my family or even outside of my family, it doesn't matter, what are my options? My options are dim my light, get small, get quiet, do what makes them feel comfortable so that they'll like me, or I can step more fully into who I am, shine my light brightly, and share my gifts with the world. Those are the options.

When someone forms an opinion about you, you have the same options: get small, dim your light, or shine bright. It's a choice, my friends. You don't get to control how people think of you. You don't get to form the opinions that they're going to create in their mind, the narrative that they're going to tell about who they think you are. You can't control any of it.

But what you can control is this one choice: Am I going to make them comfortable so that I'll be liked or am I going to honor myself and step more fully into who and what I am here to do and be and become? I hope that was helpful for you and I hope it's given you something really meaty to think about. Alright. Until next time, take really good care.

Love, if you're questioning whether you can recover the feelings you've lost for your spouse and you're serious about putting an end to feeling stuck, lost, and alone, I've written a book just for you. It's called “Stay or Go? How to Find Confidence and Clarity So You Can Fix Your Marriage or Move Forward Without Regret.”

The approach I share in this best-selling book has already worked for thousands of women struggling in lonely disconnected marriages and I'm confident that it will work for you too. If you don't want to spend another day stuck in indecision, go to sharonpopebook.com to get your copy of “Stay or Go?” now.

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