People care less than you think

Anxiety word cloud concept with abstract backgroundIf you are a perfectionist and procrastinator, you likely spend countless hours worrying what others are thinking about you. In essence, you give your power and energy away. You make your life about their opinions, assessments, criticisms, and judgments of you.

Of course, you want to be acceptable and accepted. You don’t want to be alone.

But, there are three basic points you should keep in mind:

First, remember the words of Ricky Nelson’s song, “Garden Party”: “You can’t please everybody so you got to please yourself.” The simple arithmetic of it is you can’t please everyone. And you don’t necessarily even need to please everyone in your circle. When you strip it down, the number of people you have to please is very small.

What you do need are healthy relationships based on mutual respect, concern, consideration, and support.

Second, when you’re in the throes of your fear, whether expressed as perfectionism, procrastination, or any other number of ways, you easily forget that those people you’re trying to impress have fears of their own. They may even be trying to get acceptance from you and you don’t know it.

You spend so much time posing and posturing, worrying and agonizing, in order to get acceptance from others. It’s time you tried that hard to get acceptance from yourself.

Third, others simply care far less about what’s going on in your life than you think. They think about you far less than you think they do.

I spent countless hours worrying about what people thought of me, trying to manipulate situations to create a favorable response to make me feel good.

I hung on to things they said that struck a nerve — that hurt my feelings — for years, agonizing over them and letting them define me. Of course, the people who said those things forgot all about them two minutes after it happened, if they even ever realized it happened.

It’s not that they were nasty, mean, or callous. They had other things on their minds than me — like themselves.

Nothing you do will ever be as important to them as their own issues, concerns, and lives.
Nothing you do will ever be as important to them as it is to you.

Now, think about the vast amounts of time you waste — killing your own chances in life — trying to please people who don’t really care about how your life turns out. You are sitting in front of the television or computer hoping the fear-inducing task in the other room goes away, and complaining about situations you have absolutely no control over.

Running your life based on what you think other people want is a trap. It’s time to move forward.

Get the Nerve!

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About Joe Serio

Dr. Joe Serio is a keynote speaker, trainer, and author who helps the people in your organization navigate resistance to change so they can move forward successfully.

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