The reality is that most people think about themselves most of the time. At best, we are often a blip on their radar screen before they turn their attention to something or someone else.
This could be really depressing. We could say, "Wow, everyone is so focused on themselves. No one cares about me."
But what if being a blip on everyone's radar screen was actually freeing? What if we didn't need to worry what random people think of us because they don't really care? Someone might express a negative opinion about us or our choices, but that's usually because they're projecting their own insecurity or frustration.
How freeing to not live in fear of the opinions of random strangers.
But we do this all the time. We don't wear certain clothes because we worry what someone might think. We don't pursue a different career because we fear the judgment of bystanders. We don't speak passionately about the things we love because we fear someone will call us a nerd or a weirdo.
And then if someone does actually say something negative to us, it confirms our worst fears. That person really is judging us. So we feel ashamed and live smaller.
Eventually, we can feel so much shame that we draw ourselves into a little box where we try to take as few chances as possible. We try to fit in and get along. We try to hide our fragile self from the harsh criticism of an uncaring public.
But the realization that these people's opinions don't matter is liberating. It allows us to release our shame and anticipatory fear of what someone might say. Instead, we can decide that we are the only person living our life. That random person's opinion is two seconds in the entirety of our lives. Are we going to give away our power to that person?
No. If we are a blip on their radar, their judgment can be a blip on our radar. We can allow ourselves to dare greatly, live wholeheartedly, and not make ourselves small so that we don't draw the attention of people whose opinions don't matter.
So next time you want to do something but worry what other people might think, just remember that this is your life. You are the only one who lives it, and you have more power than the judgments of strangers. They might criticize you for a moment, but you'll have to live with the regret your entire life if you don't take action.
How do you overcome the fear of other people's opinions and take action to live the life you want? I'd love to hear your tips and experiences in the comment section.