My father called Mom and me, “The stupid females.” My grandma Effie, called Mom and me, “My darlings.” My husband calls me “Ma dear.” Some people think I am naïve and too nice. Others think I am delightful and kind. Some people think I am scattered and disorganized. Others think I am a creative genius.

Yes, I have spent my fair share of time worrying about what people think of me. What’s the fear? The fear of:
• being rejected or not accepted
• having a poor reputation
• feeing less than
• being perceived as a failure or stupid
• being unworthy

How do we deal with these fears? Here are some suggestions:
• Choose whose thoughts and opinions are valuable, affirming or helpful.
• Check out your imagination. Ask real friends and loved ones, “What do you think of me?” or “How would you describe my strengths and weaknesses?” or “What three adjectives would you use to describe me?”
• Collect and expand on positively acknowledging messages. Write them down. Post them. Ask loved ones to repeat affirming words and phrases, daily if that helps.
• Check if you agree with the message. If someone told me they thought I was too skinny, I’d just laugh. I’d know for sure that was their thought and it had nothing to do with my reality.
• Take critical thoughts and messages and put them through Dr. Sydney Simons’ filter. Perhaps the opinion about you is more about the thinker’s own hang-up and self-judgement.
• Ask yourself if shared thoughts about you might have the seeds of helpful suggestions for self improvement. After a job interview I was told I did not contain my answers and seemed to have little self-control. I walked away feeling some hurt but I was open to learning. With my new awareness I was able to secure my next desired position.
• If you are free to think whatever you want about other people, are they also not free to have their own thoughts? I bet, you don’t like everyone and their behaviour. If this is true, no doubt, there will be people who will dislike and judge you.
• People can be viewed as your supporters, your challengers or both. You do have the ultimate choice of which external thoughts you put into your internal data bank--to use them, to hang onto them, to reject them or to let them sting you.
• Congratulate yourself for caring about what others think of you. If you never gave any consideration to others’ thoughts, you would probably have fewer friends. Those people who say, “I don’t care a fig about what others think of what I say and do,” have few friends and are trusted by fewer.

Consider how much time you actually invest in thinking about others. Maybe we should spend more time affirming and celebrating others with encouraging and positive thoughts and expressions. Then, the same might be returned to us.

Author's Bio: 

Patricia Morgan is an author, speaker and workshop leader at Woe to Wow—Solutions for Resilience.

Contact her to help your people become stress hardy at 403-242-7796, or