The Fear of What Other People Think
Ep. 148
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This week I’m finally addressing one of the biggest blocks for most people: Overcoming The Fear of What Others Think. There is a reason that so many of keep falling into patterns of doing what others expect of us even if it makes us miserable. We’re evolutionarily wired to want to be accepted by our tribe. But while it is natural it doesn’t mean we have to keep living this way. In this episode, I break down how to push past the fear of what other people think about you and start living life on your own terms.


Show Transcript
The sad truth is that we give our power to the people who are kind of the most critical. It's a harsh fact that you have to kind of face yourself with like I am giving so much of my power to these people who oftentimes I don't want to trade places with, right? I don't want their lives.

Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome to another episode of Lessons From a Quitter. I'm so excited to have you here. I am so jazzed about this episode. I usually outline like the full episode. I do it weeks in advance, usually do multiple episodes at the same time. But I was going through my episode list of like what I've done in the past and I cannot believe I haven't done an episode on the fear of what other people think of you because I know that that is the biggest block for most people. It was for me, it still is a huge thing that I work on. It's one of the number one things I work on with my clients. And I talk about it extensively on social media like on my Tik Toks. And I've talked about it a lot on Instagram. And I think because I've talked about it so much, I just assume like of course we've covered this. And when I realized I hadn't, I basically dropped everything and I was like I need to record this podcast today. I haven’t outlined it. I mean, I have like a very bare bones skeletal, like points I want to talk about, but I talk about this so much. And I'm so passionate about this topic that I'm like no, let's just go. Let's do this because I want to shift and reframe this issue for you. So you look at it in a different lens so that it can hopefully change the way you approach it. And you can stop letting this be the ruler of all things in your life. So, you know, no small promise guys, today's podcast is going to be life-changing. There you go. I really hope it is actually. And let me know if it is, so we're going to jump into it. Before I do, I did want to mention that if this is helpful, if you need more coaching, if you want more help, I do the free monthly coaching calls every month and you can come and kind of talk about these topics. It could be about anything that you are struggling with that is stopping you from living kind of the life that you want. So you can go to to sign up. It's free. It's super helpful. It's a lot of fun. So sign up and come join me every month. Okay. But now on to the fear of what other people think dun dun dun… Here is the thing, it's obviously completely normal. And that is why so many of us are afflicted by it, right? We are tribal beings and the way that our brain has evolved over tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands, of years, I mean, I'm talking about like the latest iteration of our brain with the prefrontal cortex is about 40,000 years. So, you know, we've spent a lot of our history about 90% of our human history as hunter gatherers in tribes. And that need to be, feel included, that need to feel accepted is so innate in us. It is why we feel like we are going to die if we are rejected because we would, right. Back in the day, if you were ostracized or excommunicated or kicked out of the tribe or whatever you want to call it, you would die because you would not have the protection and the support and the sustenance and the food, whatever from the tribe. And so it really, it was a matter of life and death. And our brain still thinks that it is, even though obviously the stakes are not the same. You can find another tribe. You can find other people that are willing to accept you, however you are. But when we feel non-included, or as though we're being judged, it viscerally feels like we're going to die. And so I just want us to start off with the baseline that like that is the normal human brain. Okay. And I say this because I see a lot of advice or, I mean, I don't know if you can call it advice, just kind of platitudes, like sayings online, where it's like stop caring what other people think, you know, like get over it kind of like who gives a shit? Sorry about cussing. If, what other people think? And it's like well, I do, because I have a human brain and I'm always going to care. And that's what I want you to know is like the goal and what we'll talk about, what you need to work on, is not to just get over what other people think, because that's impossible.

And so you're going to spend your time really beating yourself up as to like why am I like this? Why do I care so much? And it's like because it's normal. So let's just like put aside the shame and guilt about that need that we have and just accept that. Okay. So like that's just the baseline. We know that our brain is made like this and that's okay. But so what do we do with it? Right? Because so many of us aren't living the lives that we want because we don't want to feel judged. We don't want to rock the boat. We don't want to make any waves. We don't want anyone to even notice us. We just kind of want to blend into the background, right? Like don't draw attention to yourself. So many of us are living lives like that and then wondering why we're so unhappy. I remember when I was re-examining, like I reheard, you know, the results of the research done with people on their deathbed, asking them like what their number one regrets are. And the number one regret was I didn't live a life on my own terms. And for a lot of my life, I thought that meant people that were like hiding who they were in the sense of, you know, maybe some big secret, like maybe their sexuality or, you know, they didn't marry the person they loved because their family didn't agree or something like that. I thought it was something very obvious that they were hiding. And that's why they were saying that. And I remember when I left law and I read an article about like the same thing and I was thinking oh, that's what I was doing. Right. This is what the vast majority of us are doing is living a life not on our own terms. Like somebody else just said we need to do this and so we're all doing it, whether it's staying in a certain religion, whether it's, you know, being the good wife or the good husband or the good parent or whatever. Whether it's in a job. And so many of us are just doing it because that's what's expected of us or that's what everybody else wants. And it's not really what we want. And we don't really wake up to that until it's almost too late. And so I remember really grappling with that when I left and I was thinking oh, I don't want to live a life for everybody else. Like I want to figure out what I want for my life and pursue that. So I say all that to say that most of us get stopped by this, right? Because we want to be liked, because we want to be included, because we want to feel loved, because we think we need to do that to feel loved. And we end up giving away our whole life to a standard that we don't want to live by. And so the first thing I want you to do is I want you to list out who people quote unquote are, right. When we talk about like what will people think? Or what will people say? We like to generalize the other, right. We love to say like everybody is gonna think I'm crazy. Everybody's going to think that I'm throwing this away or that I'm a loser or that I couldn't hack it. Right. All these like super general terms. And the reality is, is that it’s like probably four or five people in your life. Right. We know who it is. We know who we’re worried about, because the sad truth is that we give our power to the people who are kind of the most critical, you know, who probably aren't the most supportive of us maybe, or just have the most vocal thoughts because I am certain that you have people in your life who will support you. Who do stand by you with whatever it that you want to do, who will love you regardless. And those people we take for granted, right? Those people it's like yeah, of course like my mom is going to support me. Or of course, like you know, my best friend is gonna have my back. But what about these other people that, you know, are going to judge? And it's just good to know. Cause a lot of times it's very illuminating to just write down the four or five people you're thinking of. And maybe there's some generalizations. Maybe it's like some specific people and then like people from my church or, you know, uh, people at school or wherever. But I want you to try to get as specific as possible because it's a harsh fact that you have to face yourself with like I am giving so much of my power to these people who oftentimes I don't want to trade places with. Right. I don't want their lives. And yet I'm not living the life I want because I'm so concerned about what these people think.

And I think it's just very helpful to make that concrete so when you're making a decision, you can think about those people and not everybody else. Because I assure you, the vast majority of people don't care what you do with your life. Okay. They might stop and think about it like the people that you know for a second and then they'll move on. But there's some people who are going to judge and you need to know whether you want to give your power to those people or not. Whether you're going to live a life that's not on your own terms because of four or five people that are going to think certain thoughts about yourself. So that's just the first one, it's like let's get over this thought of like everybody is going to hate me. Everybody's going to, you know, think I'm crazy because the reality is, is maybe if you realize who those people are, you just will come to the realization that you might need to get some new people, right? Maybe you're just in a group of highly critical people. Maybe your friends are just not the most supportive. And that just might be a good exercise in and of itself to think about like do I want to be around people who are constantly tearing down my goals or my dreams or are constantly making me question what I'm doing and doubt my own thoughts. I don't want you to give your power to them because they can't make you do anything. And they can't make you feel anything. Your own thoughts do. But I think if you're around somebody who is extremely critical of you, it might be harder for you to create thoughts for yourself while you're on that person. Right. Thoughts that are like supportive and motivating. And so maybe your decision is like okay, I need to limit the amount of time. I need to put up certain boundaries or maybe I don't talk about it with those people. Right. It's just really smart to understand who the people are so you can see how you want to navigate those relationships. So that's one, but here's the biggest, mind-blowing thing about this topic that I want you to understand, that I think is really life-changing: is that whatever you are worried about other people thinking, okay, whatever, you're really concerned about, it's because you secretly think it yourself. Okay. I want you to hear me out on this. Whatever you're worried about other people saying about you is because it is an insecurity that you have within yourself. So what they're saying triggers the thoughts that you have and you become defensive or you want to kind of protect it. So I'm going to give you an example so you can understand this. One of my favorite mindset coaches, Kara Loewentheil, does a really great example of this and talks about this a lot where, you know, if you think of something that you're very confident in, or even something you don't care about, like Kara gives the example of like you know, for me, let's say I have black hair, right? I have never in my life walked around thinking I hope people don't wish I was blonde. Oh God, I really hope that person like staring at me doesn't wish like God, she would've looked so much better as a redhead. It's just such an insane thought. And if someone had said that to me, if someone said like you’d look much better as a blonde. I’d be like alright, thanks for the tip. Not going to do it. I, cause I don't care like I don't have an insecurity about my hair. I've never even thought about it in that sense. Right. Or let's say something that you are confident and let's say like you're sure you're competent in pouring a glass of water. Right? Like you've done it a bunch of times. You know how to do it. If someone came and said like mm I don't think you're going to be able to pour that glass of water. I just don't think you know what you're doing. You would like think they're crazy a little bit. Right? You're like okay, I'm pretty sure I can do it. Thanks for the tip. You know, whatever. So when people are pointing out things that you have an insecurity in is when we feel triggered, right? So if you want to quit your job and somebody says I don't know if that's such a good idea. You shouldn't leave behind the safety of this, you know, the salary that you have. You have those doubts already yourself. And so when they say it, it becomes much harder to ignore those doubts, right? It becomes harder to motivate yourself to continue on. You have to face that. And so that's when we get angry because we don't want to face it. We are spending so much time hyping ourselves up and wanting to go after this thing that we want other people to just like not bring up this fact that we already have this doubt.

And so what I want you to work on, and this is the key to all of this, is that you will never change other people's opinions ever. And if you spend your life waiting until they agree with what you're going to do or they understand, or they're supportive, you're going to wait forever. You're going to spend your whole life explaining yourself, trying to get permission, trying to get them to understand so that you can maybe then feel better or like have more belief in the thing you're going to do, but you don't need them to understand what you're doing. What you need to work on is on your own insecurities about that thing. Okay. So if you are insecure about quitting your job, because you want to let's say start a business, which is totally normal to have doubts, right? It's totally normal. If you've never had started a business, you likely don't know what you're doing. And so you likely will fail a lot. Right? And so you're going to have thoughts of like maybe this isn't the right thing to do, or can I pull this off or whatever the questions are that you're going to be asking yourself. I want you to work on those insecurities. I want you to work on like yeah, maybe I'm going to fail but I'm going to figure it out. And I'm going to learn from this. This is going to be my training ground. Right. This is going to be my education. Maybe I lose a little bit of money in the process but I know I figured a lot of things out and I'm going to work on those thoughts because then when other people ask me and they say like oh, are you sure this is a good idea? You can just be like I dunno actually, I think it is. You know, I've gone through all the plans. I'm working on it. It's going to be a bumpy ride. We'll see what happens. You won't feel the need to feel so outraged and triggered and defensive and be like of course, it's a good idea. I know what I'm doing. Why do you always doubt me? Why don't you support me or whatever else it is because you already know that like there's maybe some truth to that doubt. Or maybe you do have some insecurity around it and you're working on that. And that still doesn't mean you can't do the thing. It just means that you don't have to convince everybody that that thing is the right thing. And it becomes so liberating to understand that like you're still going to care what they think, because here's the thing. If they all supported it, it makes it easier for you to support, right? If they all believe in you, it makes it easier for you to have thoughts that believe in you too. It makes it easier for you to say like yeah, this is a good idea. Like everybody I tell this business idea to says it's a great idea. That makes it easier for me to believe that it's a great idea. Sure. Or let's say some people think that it's a bad idea. It's worth listening to that criticism because maybe they're going to tell you something that you can help like come up with a solution for, for that business or figure out where the holes are that that you're not saying that's totally fine. But the difference is like when you take what they say is like if they don't support me, if my mom or my family or whatever, doesn't support what I say, or if people are going to judge me, or people are gonna think I'm crazy, or they're gonna talk behind my back. And I can't stand that. I just need everybody to think what I'm doing is right. Then you'll never move forward. And so the goal isn't to like get everybody to agree with you or to have everybody like have wonderful thoughts about you. The goal is to have those thoughts about yourself. The goal is to work on your mindset, on your own insecurities and understand what those triggers are and understand why you get so triggered by them and what you're actually afraid of. And then work on that and still go through with the thing that you want to do. And so I want you to start shifting your focus every time you think but what are people going to say? I want you to shift back to but what do I think about this? Where is my fear in this? Like what am I scared of? And I want you to go back to that and work on that. And it could even be with things like judgment, right? Like let's say the fear is, is that other people are going to think it's silly or stupid what you're doing. Right. Like trust me when I left law to start a photo booth company. And even when I left that, I mean, I didn't leave it, but since I've started building my coaching business, I've had tons of thoughts of people judging me for that. Right? Like oh, now she's a coach. Or obviously with social media, like putting myself on social media, there's tons of thoughts that come along with that. Like you know, who does she think she is? Or of what now she's trying to be an influencer. She's, you know, whatever, all the thoughts that we all have about social media. A lot of what I started realizing is that my own thoughts about social media and what people did was what was triggering my fear of what other people would think of me because I had had those thoughts. Right. And so I started shifting my thoughts to things that allowed me to show up and experiment. Right. So I started thinking like yeah, people will likely think that. And that's okay because I'm committed to having the most full life and allowing myself to show up and experiment and try stupid things. Like if I want that kind of a life for myself, then I have to be okay with the fact of like maybe other people aren't going to get it. And that's okay. And that's going to be uncomfortable for me. I'm not like oh, I don't care at all what you think. I do care, but I'm focusing more on like what kind of life do I want? What kind of experience do I want? What am I committed to giving myself? You know, what kind of life do I want to commit to creating for myself? And all of that, it's like yeah, well then once I get over those fears for myself, once I work on the thoughts of like yeah, it is really childish and stupid let's say. When I got on Tik Tok, I was like yeah, tons, it's just kids on this app dancing. And I'm still gonna post my stuff because I just want to try. And a lot of people aren't going to get it and that's okay. I don't even get it really. And I judge people about it and that's fine, but like I'm committed to trying new things and letting myself experiment and fail. And I ended up getting 125,000 followers on there in a year. Right. And it's like I can never do that stuff if I was always waiting for everybody else to agree or to think what I was doing was cool. And so I want you to just like practice shifting your thoughts to about what you think about that situation. Every time you catch yourself thinking like what is everyone going to say? I want you to shift it back to what do I think about this? Like realistically, like even what are my fears about this? What are my judgments about this? Because that's what I need to work on. And that leads me to my last point, which when talking about judging, what I work on a lot with the fear of what other people think is just having empathy for other people. Which allows you to have so much compassion for yourself. Right. We all judge every one of us. Okay. And when we do, it is such a beautiful invitation to understand what is triggered inside of you. Okay? Because every time we are judging other people, it has nothing to do with them. Nothing. It has everything to do with our own thoughts. And usually those thoughts are about ourselves. So this will be another episode for sure. And we'll go even deeper in this, but it's such a powerful tool that I've been practicing a lot, especially when I'm on social media. When I'm like scrolling and all of a sudden see myself like thinking very horrible, vicious thoughts about other people like judgmental thoughts of like why is this woman doing this? Or whatever. Like who does she think she is? Or whatever the thoughts that we all have. I now practice stopping myself and asking like what about this is triggering something within me? Why do I think this is wrong? Is it really because of my values? Or is it because like, it tends to be something that I feel like I'm lacking in, or I'm depriving myself of, right? Maybe it's like a jealousy that I'll never allow myself to act a certain way or show up a certain way or be as carefree or happy or whatever the thing is. And that triggers in me because I feel like I can't have that because I won't allow myself for whatever reason, because I care about what other people think, because it goes against certain values that I have, whatever it is. And somebody else who has had very different life experiences is out here doing something that I'm judging. And so it's a really beautiful invitation for me to figure out like what is that thing that is triggered in me because what this person is doing has no effect on my life. So why do I care what they're doing with their life? And then when I do that, I also understand that about other people judging me. Right? I have so much empathy because I know that the people that are judging me, it's from their own insecurities. When you go against the grain, it is going to trigger people, right? If you decide to quit your job and go try something new, it will trigger a lot of people in your life. Because you know why? They're not giving themselves the same freedom to do that. So they're going to think like who does he think he is? Work isn't supposed to be fun. Oh, what? We're all going to be Instagram influencers now? That's cute. It'll be funny when she falls flat on her face or whatever, because they'll never give themselves the opportunity to try something and fail at it. Right. They'll never give themselves the opportunity to the possibility of having a huge life or trying things just for the fun of it or experimenting. And so it's triggering when you watch someone else do it. When you watch somebody else, like try to go against what everybody else says is normal. When you try to see what, other people are trying to create a life on their own terms, it makes you feel like you’re doing it wrong. Like why do they get, first, it's like the jealousy, but then it's also like why am I not brave enough to try something like that? Why am I not smart enough to figure this out? Why am I not fearless enough to, you know, buck society's will and do the thing that I actually want? There's so many deep- seated triggers that we all have. And when we see other people push past them, it can feel like we're failing even more. Right? Like we can't figure it out and everybody else is figuring it out. And so that's why we judge. And so for me, a lot of it is understanding that like there are going to be people that look at my social media and have tons of thoughts and that's okay. That has nothing to do with me. It's their own thoughts about their own lives, about what people should and shouldn't do. And I'm just not going to live my life like that. But again, that's just the thought I've chosen, right? Is that I'm going to focus on my own thoughts about me and I can totally understand that they don't think it's the right thing. Okay. I think it's the right thing. And so I want to leave you finally with this mantra, that again, we can talk about in a future episode, more on like wanting our family to support us. But I want you to really understand that you don't need anybody else's permission to live the life that you want, even if they don't get it, even if they're fully against it, that does not mean you can't do it. Right. So many of us think like if we can't get them on board, that means like I can't start, but that's not true. And so I want you to repeat this to yourself. You don't have to say it to them, just in your own head, when you find the need to over-explain what you're doing, or you want to convince people, or you're feeling super triggered that somebody is judging you. I just want you to repeat I don't need you to understand, I understand. Or I don't need you to believe in me, I believe in me. Or I don't need you to accept this decision, I accept this decision. You get where I'm going with this. You don't need other people to think or do or say anything for you to be able to think and say, and do the things that you want in your life. It is not their job, it is your job to decide what you want and go after that. And they will always have thoughts. And you will just come back to your own thoughts. You will take their thoughts and understand that you're triggered and use that as a beautiful tool to figure out what it is triggering in you and what insecurities you still need to work on. And when you do that, I promise you this huge, overwhelming weight of what everybody thinks will start getting lighter. It will start lifting like as you keep doing this work on yourself, you will start realizing like oh, I'm not stopped by what other people think. It actually doesn't affect me at all. Because once I work on my own thoughts, it doesn't really matter what they think. And it's the most liberating, amazing thing to realize that other people's opinions of you literally have no bearing on your life. And you finally have a way to control that so that you can push through without just trying to like not care. So I want you to go forth and ask yourself, what are the insecurities that their judgment is triggering within me? And I want you to work on those thoughts. And if you need help with that, that's exactly what we do in my group program. For six months, we work on this intensively so that you can start figuring out what those thoughts are and work on your own thoughts. So you can start pushing past this fear of what other people think. I would love to have you in the next round. We'll open doors next month, but you can get on the wait list so that you can be the first to be notified and you can get on the wait list at I would love to help you with this stuff. I hope that was helpful and I will see you on the next episode.

Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes, it'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at Lessons From a Quitter and on Twitter at QuitterPodcast, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.