If you’re an introvert who cares too much what others think. You’re not alone. A lot of my introvert readers and students come to me with deep-seated fears about disapproval and rejection from others.
Caring what others think is normal. But there’s a point when it’s limiting. Caring too much keeps you stuck in a state of fear—fear of embarrassment, disapproval, being cast out from the tribe.
But caring what others think also motivates you to improve, grow, and put pants on in the morning. So, how do you know if you care too much what others think?
There are two surefire signs:
A constant sense of worry. Your mind is always buzzing with worst-case scenarios of how you could embarrass yourself.
You worry how others will think about what you say or don’t say and what you look like.
A loss of identity. When you worry too much what others think you forget who you are and what matters to YOU.
How can you express your true self when you care more about what others think about you than what you think of yourself?
If you already know that you care too much what others think, you might want to know how to stop caring. But there’s a problem.
Caring is actually good. The fact that introverts care so much what others think is a sign of our empathy and thoughtfulness.
It’s just that our care is misdirected. There is a a better way to focus it, so that we reconnect with our true identity and confidently express ourselves. Allow me to explain…
My biggest fears
I had a dream last night that I was doing standup and I didn’t have time to prepare. Everything went wrong.
I forgot my punchlines. The audience was distracted and noisy. People I cared about saw me fail.
These are all my biggest fears when it comes to standup comedy. But somehow, I manage to get on stage 2-3 times a week despite these fears.
How do I overcome the fear of embarrassment?
I can get on stage despite my fears because I have a bigger WHY. I want to improve fast and that trumps my worries about judgment from others.
It’s the same with socializing, or work, or dealing with judgmental family members. You need a bigger WHY.
For example, in my teens I was spent a lot of time at church, but I never felt like I belonged. So I set a goal to make every new person who came to church feel welcome.
Having that bigger Why made it easy to stretch my comfort zone, smile at strangers, and initiate conversations.
Multiple people later told me how grateful they were that I was the first person to make them feel welcome and accepted at church. Mission accomplished!
Not only that…
The whole experience really boosted my confidence.
Doing the confidence two-step
There are a lot of steps to being confident, but it all boils down to two key steps. You can see these two steps clearly in my story about welcoming people at church.
Step 1: Do a mental reframe.
You STOP indulging old mental habits that reinforce your fears, and START approaching things from a fresh angle.
In my case that meant ‘tricking’ my brain into focusing on a bigger goal instead of a fear of rejection.
Step 2: Take decisive action.
I say “decisive” because indecision and self-doubt drain both your energy and confidence.
Decisive action requires that you a) know the steps to take, and, b) actually take them, without overthinking it up the wazoo.
Of course, it would all be so much easier if someone told you the exact steps to take.
Because I’m an introvert who happens to also be a writer, comedian, and lifelong thinker, I know how to transform abstract concepts like confidence into concrete steps.
That’s exactly what I’ll be doing on Wednesday, July 31st when I go LIVE with a new Introvert Core Confidence Workshop.
You can join me live, or watch the recording. If you’re ready to step into a more confident you…
P.S. In case you’re new here. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Michaela, and I help introverts gain confidence and connections, all while embracing their introversion. I have hundreds of articles and resources to help you live your best innie life. You can start with my free Introvert Confidence Lessons.