Have you ever spent over ten minutes deciding on texting “hey” versus “heyy”, worn sunglasses indoors to evade an awkward situation, not taken as many desserts as you wanted at a buffet? You may be suffering from caring too much what others think of you. Don’t worry, this is a freaking epidemic, and realizing this is the easiest step to becoming more self-assured, bold, and liberated: a combo I liked to call “no-BS-self-confidence.”
Nobody Really Cares, Go Wild
Not counting stalkers, most of us are narcissists in the sense we’re thinking about ourselves most of the time. This leads to a fallacy where we all assume everyone else is also caring what we do, when really, they’re just thinking about themselves. For example, think back to the last time you saw someone embarrass themselves. When I did this, I realized when I encounter people putting themselves out there (which usually involves someone doing something odd for money on the subway) I’m usually more concerned about how I’m reacting to them than what shenanigans they’re up to.
Indeed, a study done by the National Science Foundation found that people have an average of 50,000 plus thoughts daily. This means that, even if you do something outrageous enough someone thinks about you ten times in one day, its only 0.02% of their overall daily thoughts. Also, the fact this person is thinking about you so much means they’re probably (1) in love with you, or (2) judging you since they’re insecure themselves and deep-down wish they were as self-confident as you (TBT to me hating on Kim K’s Selfie book in the basement of Urban Outfitters in high school).
Even if you do something outrageous enough someone thinks about you ten times in one day, its only 0.02% of their overall daily thoughts.
Channel a Crocodile Hunter
So, once you’ve realized all this, how do you go about actually being a no-BS-self-confident boss?
Well, How to Beast recommends focusing on your short-term goals since they tend to be passion-fueled and less contaminated by others opinions in comparison to your long-term goals. The Growth List recommends tackling a bucket-list of things that push you outside your social comfort zone, whether that’s asking someone out or publishing a blog post.
The more you do these things you’re afraid you’ll be judged for, the less scared you’ll become of judgment itself. My personal tip is to emulate somebody who already exudes no-BS-self-confidence and ask yourself how they’d react to a situation that’s causing you social stress. This can be Amy Schumer, Sanjaya Malakar (season 6 American Idol anyone?), or in my case, I like to imagine Steve Irwin or some other badass Australian dude with razor sunglasses. I mean, whatever works!
Also, put things in terms of the worst case scenario, which in social terms, is probably just some people thinking you’re a weirdo. But, who cares? Do you think Kim K cared that I judged her Selfie book?
Give Yourself Approval #DIY
Now, don’t mistake this all as a call to arms to be a jerk. Cutting everyone in line since you don’t care what others think is not what we’re going for, guys! The ultimate goal of all this is to live the life you truly want, which I’m guessing isn’t embodying Scrooge or The Grinch. Remember that other’s approval is temporary and if you live life judging your success on how others perceive you. “Whether that’s the number of likes you get on Instagram, the number of compliments you get on your outfit, or the number of guys who attempt to grind on you at the club”you’re always going to be stressed and depressed.
Why not just give yourself approval? As break-dancer Alden Tanput it, “Pretty soon you’ll realize what others think of you is an extremely minor thing in the grand scheme of things, which is your life.” That’s right: the only thing at stake here is the life of your dreams. So stop tiptoeing through a life of people-pleasing mediocrity and start breakdancing (or whatever mode of movement you prefer) towards a passionate life fueled by no-BS-self-confidence. Don’t worry however long it takes you to achieve this, the liberating truth is nobody else really cares.
Pretty soon you’ll realize what others think of you is an extremely minor thing in the grand scheme of things, which is your life.
Cover Image via Elle Magazine
Also published on Medium.