How many times have you been in a situation where you think, “What are they going to think about me if I do this or that?” Or, “Maybe this person thinks that I am not good enough to perform this activity,” or, “it is better if I do not ask because I will look like a fool,” among other thoughts? Most of the time we answer ourselves with the precise answer that is focused into letting us see the worst of ourselves.
- Imagine that you are about to buy a new digital camera and the salesperson is telling you all the spectacular functions it has. You do not understand even half of the explanation and you start to create thoughts like: “Oh my God, I don’t understand anything this guy is telling me. And now, if I ask him to explain it again, he will think that I am completely stupid. I will read the manual when I get home”. Usually, you will end up buying the camera, not understanding what the spectacular functions were for and never reading the manual.
- Let’s consider another typical situation for those who adore going to the gym and doing some exercise. There it is, that beautiful piece of gym equipment you have never used before. You see one guy who approaches it, sits down and performs a wonderful bit of exercise because he evidently is an expert and knows how to handle the machine. You want to go there, too, but you will do it for the first time; therefore, your fears formulate thoughts like: “If I go there, everybody else will look at me and notice that I don’t know how to use the machine. Of course, the other guy knew it. He’s probably been coming for years and that is why he is an expert now. I will look like a weak idiot in front of the rest”. Finally, you do not perform the exercise and your opportunity to burn a bit more calories and build muscles will be lost.
- Hey, and what about when you meet your old school mates again at the big reunion. You think about all the people you have not seen in years and, of course, you want them to know you have done wonderful for yourself all these years. It is evident that you don’t want to be seen as a ‘nobody’, but it is possible that some of your ex classmates have done better than you. How many of them will look gorgeous, splendid and fabulous? It is at this point when you let all those feelings of insecurity into your mind. Two things can happen: one, you decide not to go. Or two, the minute you enter the reunion, your attitude can only be compared to one of the most obnoxious human beings on earth.
The three situations mentioned above have something in common: they all represent your fears and insecurity. At the end of each of them you will reaffirm your thoughts because the only stupid person who bought a digital camera and did not know how to use it is you; the idiot who lost the opportunity to learn how to use a new machine at the gym and burn more calories was you. And the only no-show unable to share experiences, or the obnoxious individual who couldn’t keep a nice conversation with his or her old school mates, was you. The most difficult thing to realize when we are in the middle of these kinds of situations is that neither the salesperson, the people in the gym, nor your old school mates were about to benefit from your actions and it was entirely useless to react according to what they would think. The only affected party was you and your thoughts were promoting such negative information that, unconsciously, you were projecting the same feelings to the people around you. So, how to change the perception others have about each of us? I will sum it up in four easy steps:
- Stop wondering what others will think about you. Just concentrate on being yourself and do the best you can. Maybe sometimes we will feel the “evil look” from others who are judging us because of our actions, but we need to think that they are probably so unhappy being themselves that they cannot appreciate the good in others.
- You are not stupid, an idiot or a nobody. Well, you can be stupid, idiotic and a nobody only if you want to. But understand that we do not have to know everything about everything. We are just human beings who are learning a little bit everyday. If you are retrieving money to buy a new gadget, you have the right to ask whatever you want to know before to making the investment, and if the salesman or woman is not a good person, choose another one. They will be losing their commission. If you are paying to lose weight, learn to use all the machines you want at the gym and ask for help from the instructor. They are there to help and support you. If you want the world to know how successful you are, realize that only the people who really care about you will appreciate you for who you are and not for what you have.
- Learn to use confidence as the perfect tool to display well-being. Just by feeling fine with yourself will you be able to display confidence around you and about you. If you feel insecure and start to get upset with the fact that people could think less of you, the only person getting into that place is you and, with your attitude, you are guiding others to think the same. The outcome: they will have a misperception.
- Be aware that you cannot control the way people think. Giving the best of you is not necessarily translated into being perceived as the most incredible person. Keep in mind that we are all different kinds of persons: no one has grown up under the same family, social and professional circumstances. Not everybody shares the same interests and hobbies. Be confident of everything you have achieved in your life and don’t care about the thoughts of everybody else. Those achievements are for yourself and the people who truly appreciate you. The rest have their own lives and problems.
Remember, what you are feeling inside is what you are projecting to the people around you, and this is your responsibility. We always try to give a good impression and, if that is your main objective, then give the best of you confidently. Even when you ask something you don’t know, display confidence and optimism that the person you have in front of you will help. If this person does not provide you support in a proper way, it could be because he/she had a really bad day and cannot think about anything else, or because he/she is the stupid one.
All the same, you are not responsible for what the rest of the world wants to think about you, despite your good actions. We can only control what each of us does and thinks. Just feel happy being yourself.