Do you feel concerned over what other people think about you? Do you find yourself worried about what others say about you? While it is normal for everyone to seek the approval of others, self-confident people with a high self-esteem are able to ignore the negative opinions of others and to remain confident of their own self-worth.

To become less concerned with what people might be thinking, and less upset by negative things others may say...

1. Never guess what others might be thinking.

Avoid causing yourself much unnecessary suffering and wasted energy by resisting the fear that others may intend harm to you. You truly have no idea what anyone else is thinking. Practice avoiding any assumptions about what others may be thinking - and practice not making any assumptions about why other people choose to do or to say something - or to not do or to not say anything.

When you find yourself in congested traffic, become observant of the drivers around you. Watch as they tailgate, cut-in sharply, and perhaps gesture or yell at each other. Frustration, and the feeling of having no control over the situation, causes otherwise reasonable people to behave badly. But whatever they do or say is not personal. If someone urges you to drive too fast or follow too closely, it is about they, not about you.

While you may accept that the actions and speech of someone you have never met are not your responsibility, it is much harder to fully grasp that you are responsible for very little of what you spouse or your boss says or does. Mostly, what others say and do in your presence is a result of the frustrations they bring to the situations, rather that being an objective reaction to your actions.

Resist guessing what others might be thinking, and don't shoulder blame for what they may be thinking.

2. Value Yourself

You are important. You are the star - the only star - of your own life show. Everyone else is a bit player in the great drama of your life.

3. Live your own life

There is no particular way your life is "supposed" to be lived. There are no "authorities" appointed to judge the worthiness of your life. You have no responsibility to please anyone other than yourself. Be of service to humanity, but never be anyone's doormat.

Live your own life full out. Live boldly with vision, purpose, and commitment. Establish your own life purpose, and live your own life.

4. Make your own choices.

Your plan for your life is the only plan that matters. Your parents and your family, perhaps your church and your friends, have plans for your life, but those people are mere spectators of your life - the life you get to life every day.

5. Value your own opinions.

Why would you consider someone else's opinions, or wishes, to be more important than your own? In fact, why should anyone else's opinions carry any weight whatsoever in how you live your life. Make your life choices sincerely and deliberately. Then never second-guess your own values and choices simply because they may not be approved of by those around you.

6. Choose to associate mostly with positive people who support you.

You can't completely avoid negative people - there are probably a few negative people in your extended family and where you work. However, you can make the choice to limit your exposure to negative people, and to cultivate friends and acquaintances who have a positive outlook on life, who share many of your essential values, and who value you as a person.

Author's Bio: 

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Jonathan Lockwood Huie, "The Philosopher of Happiness," is author of 100 Secrets for Living a Life You Love and co-author of Simply An Inspired Life.

** May your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself - Jonathan Lockwood Huie **