As you walk through the office, you see your co-workers glance at you. They begin speaking to each other in whispered tones. You naturally start to feel self-conscious and start worrying about what they are saying about you. In another scenario, as you walk through the grocery store, you see complete strangers looking at you in a way that makes you feel they are sizing you up, or possibly even judging you. Again, you worry about what they are thinking about you.

Most people do worry about what others think of them

Indeed, most people do worry about what others think of them and this is why people often work at jobs they hate for the majority of their lives, in order to purchase homes, cars, clothing, vacations, and all manner of gadgets and material items, hoping to appear to be just like everyone else they know. Nobody wants their friends, family or peers to judge them, and finding them lacking. This fear of what other people think about you keeps you in an invisible prison of your own making. It’s time to break free! Here are some steps to help you tear down those prison walls.

1. Know who you are and what you stand for

Know who you are and what you stand for, and do not compromise that for anyone other than yourself. If necessary, make a list of all your wonderful qualities and attributes and while you are at it, write out what you believe and what you stand for. You can call this your personal statement, mission statement, manifest, or whatever makes you happy. Include whatever you want to include in this statement. Some ideas include your political beliefs and religious beliefs. When you are finished, read through what you have written. Absorb it.

2. Come to terms that you are not perfect

Using what you have written, come to terms with the fact that you are not perfect. While you are at it, remember that nobody else is perfect either. Those who judge you or whisper about you are not perfect. If you find you are constantly worrying about what one person or one group of people think of you, privately turn the tables. What do you think about them? List their imperfections, as well as the things you like about them. Again, do this privately and do not share your observations with anyone else. Otherwise, you’ve changed who you are, and you’ve become one of those people who judges and whispers about others. The next time you feel like they are judging you or whispering about you, remember what you think of them, move the worry out of your mind, and move on with your day.

Don't be too concerned about what others think of you. It's what you think about yourself that matters! - Joyce Meyer

“Don’t be too concerned about what others think of you. It’s what you think about yourself that matters!”

– Joyce Meyer

3. Explore why you even care what others think of you

In another exercise, think about the people who you feel are judging you, and consider the reasons you are bothered by what they think. Do you want them to include you in their circle? Is this your boss, who has a say over whether you get that promotion, or if you have a job at all? Does their opinion of you, what you say, what you do, what you wear, where you live, or what you drive make any real difference in your life? What does what they think really matter to you? You may find in this exercise that what they think of you or anything else really doesn’t matter at all.

4. Their judgment is a reflection of who they are

GIF of a black man making fun of the fact that he is judgmental

You need to be aware of the fact that what people think of you is more a reflection of who they are than of who or what you are. What they think of you usually isn’t about you at all. Their thoughts of you may be driven by jealousy, or by their awareness of what you have that they lack. Their whispers about you may show their own lack of empathy, their jealousy, or their own tendencies as gossip.

5. What someone is thinking really isn’t your business until they verbalize it

Finally, you need to be aware of one vital thing. What someone else is thinking, even if it is about you, really isn’t your business until they verbalize it. If they are glancing sideways at you, but not saying anything, don’t worry about what they are thinking. If they are verbalizing their thoughts, and the thoughts they are putting words to are about you, that is when it becomes your business. At that point, you have to decide if what they are saying about you, and whom they are saying it to matters in your life. If they are harming your reputation or saying something untrue about you, and it matters, you will need to confront them. Just remember not to stoop to their level. Treat them and speak to them as you want them to speak to and treat you.

“So remember what others think of you depends a lot on what you believe about yourself, what you think you are, what you think about, what you say and what you have proven you can do.”

– Rita Zahara

If you live every day being the best you that you can be, you really don’t have to worry about what other people think about you. You know who you are and what you stand for. Those who love and care about you know who you are. If you still really worry and care about what other people are thinking about you, consider seeing a therapist to help you work through this issue. You’ll be amazed at how much sweeter and more productive life can be when you reach that point where what others think really doesn’t matter to you.

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