Stop Worrying About What People Think Of You

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” ~Wayne Dyer

2012 started with a great deal of reflection for me. This is the year I have decided I am going to find more of a work and life balance, as well as concentrate wholeheartedly on the people who love me for me.  Even with all my quirkiness, faults and flaws.

I have contemplated writing this post for some time, mainly because it’s content is drawn from the experience of someone not liking a piece that I previously wrote on another blog. On reflection, I have decided the whole experience taught me much, and in sharing what I have learned from the experience, may help someone else deal with negativity shown from others and understand how peoples insecurities can in fact effect their actions.

Some years ago I opened a salon in North Kent, and before I launched the new business I imparted much time and effort into researching what all the other beauty businesses around me already offered.  During this same period I was under taking sessions with a salon business coach.  She was just fabulous. Janice had over 25 years experience in the industry, she was knowledgable, confident and knew a great deal about promoting and growing new businesses within my sector.  During my spare time I was writing a blog, a blog which was connected to my mobile beauty business.  It was just made up of mindless chit chat, my thoughts and details of the services I offered.  Without my knowledge, my business coach had read my blog and during my next session with her, she had mentioned how she thought I had a talent for writing and that she felt I should utilise this talent to support and help expand the new business.

So over the next few weeks I started to write more regular posts, and to my surprise more and more people started reading my blog.  About two months before my new salon was due to open, Janice told me to write a blog post focusing on what the new salon would be offering.  Most importantly she wanted me to focus on what made my new salon different to all the others that were already established businesses. She advised me to be honest, not airy fairy and to say exactly why I had chosen the theme I had and why I had selected certain the products over others. In short she was telling me to shout about my USP, making it clear what made us different.

I thought long and hard about this, and decided what made my salon unique, was it’s very holistic approach, coupled with the fact I had tried to source products and services that no other salons in the area offered.  Over ten beauty establishment within a 5 mile radius of our new salon, offered the exact same product line.  Purposely selecting a different product brand from everyone else, in fact made our services very different from the offset.

A few days later I wrote my post.  I did exactly what Janice had told me to do, and asked her to read it before it was published. I purposely hadn’t mentioned any other businesses (there were many beauty establishments close by), but had basically highlighted what was already on offer on the High Street in the UK and what made us so different.  Janice was delighted with the post.  She told me it was informative, professional and did in fact reflect exactly what most salons already offered in the UK and what made us unique.

About three months later, I logged onto my computer to be met with an email from an anonymous person who had quite clearly read the post in question. I can only describe the email as a total angry rant.  I was astounded. From what I could establish the lady concerned owned a beauty business nearby and for whatever reason, she had read my post and decided, I had nothing better to do with my time, then write the entire piece with the intention of taking a personal swipe against her.  In truth, I was completely amazed.

I forwarded the rather unpleasant email to Janice, as I was truly confused how this lady could have come to the exact conclusion that she had. Janice’s reply read simply this…

“As and when you become more successful in life, certain people will start to pay more attention to what you do and say. Unfortunately some of those will spend more of their energy dissecting your thoughts and actions, than they will their own” 

It all became clear.  The poor woman in question, had such insecurities of her own, that she had read the post and truly believed the entire piece was directed at her.  In turn this had made her angry as she was of the opinion that the thoughts, actions or decisions of others, could directly or indirectly effect her business. Let’s be honest, some time in our lives, we have all been there.  We have found ourselves feeling insecure enough to be subject to that very uncomfortable, is he or she talking about me moment?  We may have overheard a conversation, or read something on a social networking site and for a split second wondered, is that directed at me?

At this point, I actually felt a little sorry for her.  She obviously didn’t know anything about me, and to actually think someone would go out of their way to publicly try and bad mouth one of their competitors, on the internet, for all and sundry to read, (which is basically what she was accusing me of), is a sure stark way for your business to fail from the offset. It isn’t rocket science after all.

This event propelled me into reflecting on the subject of peoples insecurities, and how in turn insecurities can effect the judgement’s that we make about others.   I have previously written posts on how judging another, is actually more of a reflection of ones self, than it is of the person you are judging. There is that old saying, when you point your finger at someone, there are always three fingers pointing back at you.

The fact is, most people that aren’t within our own social circles, aren’t paying us that much attention. They have enough going on within their own lives to be worrying about what we are doing.  And secondly, those who are paying us attention, and are then subsequently judging or speaking badly about us, aren’t the kind of people you want to be around you anyway.  It’s usually their own insecurities or feelings of jealously that causes them to monitor, dissect and judge your actions in the first place.  The issue is in their head or heart, not yours.

We are social creatures, and our need to socialise and be popular with others is deeply rooted within our make up.  We constantly seek love and approval, even if we don’t realise we are doing it. It’s simply a natural human trait.

In my twenties, I was the kind of person who wanted to be liked.  I absolutely hated it if someone didn’t ‘understand me’ or thought I was something I wasn’t. Spending this amount of energy worrying about their opinions of me was in fact a total waste of time. In my thirties, I learned the only opinions that really count, are those of the people that love and care about me for who I really am.

I am not perfect by any means, but I do always try and walk with an open and compassionate heart, however when I find myself on the receiving end of someones unfair judgements, I will endeavour to bless that person on their journey and continue on with mine. There is never any point dwelling on those judgements, those judgements are there in the first place because the other person involved isn’t able to open their heart a little further, and show a little compassion or a better understanding of the given situation.   I will  no longer allow someones misguided thoughts and opinions to effect me in a negative way. In short,  I no longer possess the need to be liked by someone who clearly judges or doesn’t like me.

As we walk through this journey of life, not everyone is always going to like you, and that’s O.K.  In truth, if you look at the bigger picture, does it really matter?  Stop paying attention to the thoughts in your head that people may be talking about you, or judging you, they probably aren’t, and if they are, simply try your hardest to make it your intention not to judge them back.

People will be brought to us during this life time to teach us lessons, the negative or judgmental people can in fact be our greatest teachers.