As a human, it makes sense that we desire to fit in and be accepted by others. From an evolutionary lens, we have used this to survive in what was once a very dangerous world.  Now that we are no longer living in caves nor hunt our food in our day-to-day life (acknowledging this is a privilege not all have access to), it is up to us to be willing to step outside the societal boxes and be ourselves.

As exhilarating as living outside the box can be, fully accepting oneself may be challenging as those around you may impose their personal views on your actions. So what can you do to support yourself in letting go of what people think of you so you can fully live out your best life?

Read on to find some simple steps in which you can do that.

  • Remember: Most people are living in their own world. Imagine for a moment you are on a date with a crush.  You are finishing appetizers and waiting for the next dish, when your mind starts to ruminate about whether your shirt is stained, if you were shoveling too much food into your mouth at once, or if said potential partner is enjoying themselves or bored out of their mind.  Believe it or not when it comes down to it you are your own worst enemy. Majority of the time we go about our life worried about what others think about what we are saying, thinking, or doing. However, when it comes down to it, most people are experiencing the exact same internal mind battle as you!

The main thing to remember in any given moment is that there is scientific research showing that for the most part our brains are wired to primarily focus on ourselves. When it comes to most social interactions, people innately will focus on themself to connect with another human. So be gentle with yourself and recognize that if you are thinking about your own stuff, there is a high likelihood that the other person is thinking about their own stuff too.

  • Practice mindfulness. Though this buzzword may cause eyes to roll in some readers heads, it is important to recognize the power that comes with maintaining a sense of presence in our day-to-day life. Being mindful – or present – means to recognize in each moment what is arising in your experience. What thoughts are showing up? What sensations are in your body? What conversations or events are playing out in your surroundings?

A great way to practice this is to wash dishes. Fill the sink with some water, add some soap, and as you begin to wash each dish make a conscious choice to connect to each movement. As you pick up the dish, notice the soapy suds moving through your fingers. Sense the temperature of the water and how it makes you feel. If your mind is wandering off to the next task or thought, bring it back as soon as you notice. You can also use the breath to sync to the action of washing dishes. Noticing each inhale and exhale.  Keep practicing this and see what new awareness arises for you.

  • Check in: Are the thoughts really you? Here is where the real magick happens. You get an opportunity to really see who you are and shift from worrisome thoughts.  The next time you are worried about what someone else is thinking of you, ask yourself “Is this thought true?” “Does this belief define me?

For example, if you start having thoughts about yourself being judgemental in a conversation, ask yourself: “Am I someone who is really that judgemental?” “Does this thought that I am judgemental actually define me?”  Allow yourself to sit with the question and see what arises. Think back to other interactions you have had and evaluate them for or against the thought. We are our biggest critics and most likely you are for the most part an open-minded individual. Now if you witness these a pattern of behaviors and realize “Wow, I actually am quite judgemental!” then get to work on creating healthy changes.

More likely you will see that you are not actually that judgemental and can begin to have more compassion for yourself and others when they show up in this way. Overall, this technique brings to awareness the fact that we are for the most part good and caring people and that the judgements we place on ourselves are self imposed.

You are not your thoughts. You are simply observing them. It is our desire to be accepted and the more we can accept ourselves, the easier it is for us to allow others to accept us too. Have fun with these techniques and let us know how it works for you.

Written by Fola Veritas