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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default What do you do when you're worrying too much about what others think of you?

    I wouldn't say it's a constant thing in my life. It goes along with rough patches when I feel like maybe I'm doing something wrong, or I AM wrong/flawed/unattractive/broken etc...and that's why certain things (some friendships/relationships/job interviews/whatever!) don't work out well in my life. I fret about how I come across, how others see me, and whether I should be doing something to change that.

    Periods of low self-esteem, I guess. But I wish I had the cast iron self-regard that some people have. Well, not that I want to be conceited. But I'd like to be more secure in who I am and not take my self-esteem from how others see me or react to me. Again, not that I'm doing this all the time...but I feel like it happens too often.

    Is this a problem for you? All the time, some of the time? What does it coincide with? How do you deal with it when it comes up?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member knight's Avatar
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    I had the same issue. I started redirecting my thoughts, when I start getting caught on what people are thinking of me.

    another trick for me is dealing with whatever right away before it becomes an issue.

  3. #3
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    Thing is, if you vocalize your obsession, then one thing is for sure - you're going to come off as a bit insecure. This may be a drain, and it may also bring a connotation that other people are judgmental, which can be insulting.

    Best way I have to deal with this is by directing my attention outwards to judge and assess others. Perhaps then is when you will gain a better understanding of what they think about you - it may be nothing at all. Maybe it only tells of your own projected uneasiness with yourself.

    I tend to be very self-conscious about what I ought to be doing in certain situations, particularly with people I want to lay a good impression on. Things don't always go as planned when I act upon my assumptions, whether I'm acting formally or informally. The most disgusting feeling isn't to be rejected for something you are, but being rejected for something you aren't which was simply you trying to act your best according to the situation. I believe Kurt Cobain had something to say on that issue. Still, perhaps you deserve it if it was the consequence of fabricating a persona.

    Inevitably, I become more comfortable with a group or individual and the truer self unravels. On occasion, I try to dive into being my truest self head first, which, paradoxically, tends to be confining and confusing.

  4. #4
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by knight View Post
    I had the same issue. I started redirecting my thoughts, when I start getting caught on what people are thinking of me.

    another trick for me is dealing with whatever right away before it becomes an issue.
    yes.

  5. #5
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    Thing is, if you vocalize your obsession, then one thing is for sure - you're going to come off as a bit insecure. This may be a drain, and it may also bring a connotation that other people are judgmental, which can be insulting.

    Best way I have to deal with this is by directing my attention outwards to judge and assess others. Perhaps then is when you will gain a better understanding of what they think about you - it may be nothing at all. Maybe it only tells of your own projected uneasiness with yourself.

    I tend to be very self-conscious about what I ought to be doing in certain situations, particularly with people I want to lay a good impression on. Things don't always go as planned when I act upon my assumptions, whether I'm acting formally or informally. The most disgusting feeling isn't to be rejected for something you are, but being rejected for something you aren't which was simply you trying to act your best according to the situation. I believe Kurt Cobain had something to say on that issue. Still, perhaps you deserve it if it was the consequence of fabricating a persona.

    Inevitably, I become more comfortable with a group or individual and the truer self unravels. On occasion, I try to dive into being my truest self head first, which, paradoxically, tends to be confining and confusing.
    You're right about the projection, I think a lot of it has to do with that. We all do this at least sometimes (projecting what we're feeling and thinking that others are thinking it) and I'm no exception.

    I think generally I only come across as insecure (sometimes) with close friends. I allow myself that more, when venting about how I feel, or whatever. I do occasionally, with people I'm less close to, catch myself putting myself down, but not very often. I think I come across pretty confident actually. A calm exterior will do that.

    I just hate being misunderstood, and that's a bit of an INFJ thing for sure. Even if in a way the misunderstandings are positive (like, people often think I'm more confident than I am.) I want to be seen for who I really am, and I worry about that too much, I guess.

    I know that sometimes it's due to have too many/the wrong expectations of others. And sometimes it's almost egotism. I need to apply some of my own advice here. Sometimes friends will get upset about what others have done, and I'll say to them, it's not so much about you. It's really about the other person. Which is mostly true. I need to apply that in my own life!
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  6. #6
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Is this a problem for you? All the time, some of the time? What does it coincide with? How do you deal with it when it comes up?
    Yes, it's a problem for me a good deal of the time. It's the worst in situations where I feel it's important to make a good impression- especially if I know that I've only got one shot to do so. This is the case with job interviews or first dates. Don't make a good first impression, don't get the job or another date. It's also bad in situations where I'm not getting alot of what appears to be positive feedback from the other person. It's worst when I first meet someone but even if I know the person well, there can still be some anxiety in certain circumstances.

    How I deal with it is to realize that I'm not alone in feeling this way. The anxiety about making a good impression is because I care. The anxiety if channelled properly can work in my favor. For example, if I didn't care about making a good impression in a job interview and had no anxiety whatsoever, I'd probably be more likely to say or do something stupid.

    I also try to get a broader perspective. If someone doesn't like me or some aspect of me, what difference does it really make in the whole scheme of things? Probably not much. Nobody is liked or approved of by everyone and I'm well aware of that, yet I still strive for that lofty goal. I struggle with being okay with the fact that not everyone is going to like me for who I am.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Santosha's Avatar
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    This is a great thread topic, something I'd like to see more input on. I've had this problem at times too. It's gotten better as I've gotten older and become more set in my ways, with my friends and partner, etc. Yet still, there are times that I can be PAINFULLY self aware. When I become this way.. I am very perfectionistic with my appearance, anything I create (right down to cooking!) the way my house looks, the car I drive, and tend to replay things that I said that could have been construed as a bit off. Again, I don't seem to have too much problem with it anymore.. but this is definately a pattern with my INFJ brethren.

    My one INFJ friend just beats herself up over comments she's made, tiny little things, but she had a problem with perfectionism too. It's truly been a life long struggle for her, leading into issues of insane exercising, bulimia, anorexia, anxiety & depression. She was floored when I admitted to her recently that I also have problems with this.. (the caring too much about what others think).. because I do suck it up and hide it well. Our defense mechanisms operate differently.. and when I become insecure I tend to to put up a front of even more confidence, and less caring of what people think.. It's like the class clown who feels like if they are the first to make fun of themselves, it won't hurt so much when others do it later. I take more of a 'I am confident in who I am, you don't affect me, so fuck-off vibe'.. but the truth is I can care tremendously.

    Anyhow.. here are the things I do when I get into that negative, overanalytical thinking patterns... I combat them in my mind with more objective thoughts.

    1) Most people are not as intuitive as I am. They are not going to pu on the subtle expressions, tones, and body movement that I do.

    2) It's not ALL about me. While I live in myself.. other people live in themselves.. their mind is much more pre occupied with what they are going to do, eat, drive, work problems, etc. People are not just sitting around all day trying to see into my fucking core. It is not only selfish to assume people think of me on this level, but simply inaccurate. Why should I beat myself up over something that others thougth on for 2 seconds and have moved on?

    3) The people that do think and analyze me on a deep level are people that I am really close to anyhow. These are the people that truly matter. and these people know and accept me already. I don't need to prove anything to them.

    4) While I want people to like me, I just cant make everyone like me all the time. No one can do this, and to hold myself to this standard is absurd.

    5) Thinking too much about how I come across really affects my ability to live in the moment and have fun. Life is too short to analyze this, curtail who I am.. hoping to cator to others. Nobody is perfect, so why do I expect this from myself?
    If I observed someone else do something stupid or innapropriate would I be as hard on them as I am myself? Nope.

    6) Judgement says little about who is being judged, and much about the judger. If someone is going to think terrible things about you.. that reflects on them as a person, not you. Healthy, happy people do not walk around day after day thinking shitty things about others. (This was an especially helpful tip for me to understand, as my mother was a verbally abusive addict.. and I grew up believing that since she had such terrible thoughts, ALL people must have terrible thoughts. This is NOT true. I repeat ... healthy, happy people DO NOT think excessively negative thoughts about others. It took along time and the befriending of many truly healthy people for me to realize this and heal my perception.)

    7) The truth is, no one really likes people that are always perfect, all the time. It makes them feel uncomfortable and guarded. Imperfection is the human experience. These perceived mistakes, failures, etc. are very important. They give us charactor, humility, compassion. When we can reveal these short comings to others.. we help them feel at ease. We show them that its okay to be imperfect too. We are able to connect or inspire on a deep level.
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  8. #8
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    6) Judgement says little about who is being judged, and much about the judger. If someone is going to think terrible things about you.. that reflects on them as a person, not you. Healthy, happy people do not walk around day after day thinking shitty things about others. (This was an especially helpful tip for me to understand, as my mother was a verbally abusive addict.. and I grew up believing that since she had such terrible thoughts, ALL people must have terrible thoughts. This is NOT true. I repeat ... healthy, happy people DO NOT think excessively negative thoughts about others. It took along time and the befriending of many truly healthy people for me to realize this and heal my perception.)
    I will have to keep this point in mind more. Thanks for the insight.
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  10. #10
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    I also try to get a broader perspective. If someone doesn't like me or some aspect of me, what difference does it really make in the whole scheme of things? Probably not much. Nobody is liked or approved of by everyone and I'm well aware of that, yet I still strive for that lofty goal. I struggle with being okay with the fact that not everyone is going to like me for who I am.
    Me too...


    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    My one INFJ friend just beats herself up over comments she's made, tiny little things, but she had a problem with perfectionism too. It's truly been a life long struggle for her, leading into issues of insane exercising, bulimia, anorexia, anxiety & depression. She was floored when I admitted to her recently that I also have problems with this.. (the caring too much about what others think).. because I do suck it up and hide it well. Our defense mechanisms operate differently.. and when I become insecure I tend to to put up a front of even more confidence, and less caring of what people think.. It's like the class clown who feels like if they are the first to make fun of themselves, it won't hurt so much when others do it later. I take more of a 'I am confident in who I am, you don't affect me, so fuck-off vibe'.. but the truth is I can care tremendously.
    In a way I'm more like you in that respect, than your friend. I do become ill (as in nausea and fatigue) when under emotional stress, which tends to be related to misunderstandings and conflict, but yeah, I think I do come across as quite confident, certainly self-sufficient...but I care so much too and am affected too much by the actions and attitude of others toward me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    Anyhow.. here are the things I do when I get into that negative, overanalytical thinking patterns... I combat them in my mind with more objective thoughts.

    1) Most people are not as intuitive as I am. They are not going to pu on the subtle expressions, tones, and body movement that I do.

    2) It's not ALL about me. While I live in myself.. other people live in themselves.. their mind is much more pre occupied with what they are going to do, eat, drive, work problems, etc. People are not just sitting around all day trying to see into my fucking core. It is not only selfish to assume people think of me on this level, but simply inaccurate. Why should I beat myself up over something that others thougth on for 2 seconds and have moved on?

    3) The people that do think and analyze me on a deep level are people that I am really close to anyhow. These are the people that truly matter. and these people know and accept me already. I don't need to prove anything to them.

    4) While I want people to like me, I just cant make everyone like me all the time. No one can do this, and to hold myself to this standard is absurd.

    5) Thinking too much about how I come across really affects my ability to live in the moment and have fun. Life is too short to analyze this, curtail who I am.. hoping to cator to others. Nobody is perfect, so why do I expect this from myself?
    If I observed someone else do something stupid or innapropriate would I be as hard on them as I am myself? Nope.

    6) Judgement says little about who is being judged, and much about the judger. If someone is going to think terrible things about you.. that reflects on them as a person, not you. Healthy, happy people do not walk around day after day thinking shitty things about others. (This was an especially helpful tip for me to understand, as my mother was a verbally abusive addict.. and I grew up believing that since she had such terrible thoughts, ALL people must have terrible thoughts. This is NOT true. I repeat ... healthy, happy people DO NOT think excessively negative thoughts about others. It took along time and the befriending of many truly healthy people for me to realize this and heal my perception.)

    7) The truth is, no one really likes people that are always perfect, all the time. It makes them feel uncomfortable and guarded. Imperfection is the human experience. These perceived mistakes, failures, etc. are very important. They give us charactor, humility, compassion. When we can reveal these short comings to others.. we help them feel at ease. We show them that its okay to be imperfect too. We are able to connect or inspire on a deep level.
    Thanks for those. Very helpful and thought provoking. 2) is very true. It really isn't all about us and it helps to contemplate that. I also found 6) interesting as I hadn't thought about it quite that way.
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