A version of this article originally appeared on wellnesswithalie.com
Do you find yourself constantly worrying about what other people think of you?
Do you feel as though they are judging you or noticing things about you that are unattractive, awkward or embarrassing?
It could be to do with your clothes, hair or make up; your body language or facial expressions; something you said or did or perhaps something you didn’t say or do out of fear of what people might think.
You might replay conversations in your head, worrying whether you said the right thing or wishing you had said something different.
You might like to take frequent (and subtle) trips to the bathroom mirror to check that you still look okay. And even if you do look okay, it’s never quite good enough because that need for perfection is always there.
Is it all in your head?
The truth is, most people are much more focused on themselves and their own lives than anyone else.
An awkward conversation you had with someone you recently met or that time when you nearly tripped up the stairs in public might be replaying in your head, but it’s most likely a fast fading memory to others; they have much more important things to attend to, like their own lives!
Similarly, whilst your seemingly bad skin, or greasy hair, or unflattering outfit may be screaming out at you every time you look in the mirror, the likelihood is that no one is even noticing that.
Let go of what others think of you
People see the whole you, not just the little bits. And trust me, the whole you is much prettier than you think. But especially so when you let go of what other people are thinking of you, so that you can actually get back to being you and enjoying the moment.
This is when your natural beauty and personality shine; whether it’s a genuine smile, a laugh, your relaxed body language, the way you authentically express yourself, or even just your presence when you’re fully listening to someone. This is the stuff that people admire and appreciate and yet it requires no effort from the true you at all.
Shifting your focus
This is because when you’re being truly authentic (i.e yourself) around others, your focus is on the people, the conversation, the environment, the atmosphere. You’re not worrying about how you look, how you sound and how you appear in the eyes of others.
The irony though, is that it feels like an effort to do this because you’ve spent so long covering up your true self, hiding your real thoughts and feelings, ignoring your true needs and desires, pretending to be like others…all so that you can fit in and feel liked and accepted.
I get it, I did that too.
Being an introvert (previously in denial), I already felt different to everyone else. So when I fed my introvert mind with fears, doubts and insecurities (which I never allowed to be expressed), things got pretty nasty in there.
Using perfection as a shield
I felt ashamed of my introversion and I subconsciously tried to compensate for my ‘lack of personality’ by looking as perfect as I could at all times, yet always finding a new fault or imperfection to focus on.
I let my fear-driven mind run my life. I believed everything it said. Why? I didn’t know any different.
It turns out, we have a choice.
We get to control our minds, not the other way round. It turns out, our lives are a reflection of what we feed our minds. (Read that again!).
What you believe to be true, will be true for you. But you get to plant your beliefs. And you get to decide how to feed and nurture them.
Getting to the root of the problem
So what beliefs are running your life right now? What thoughts are you continuing to feed your mind with?
It’s likely that you’ll have some deep rooted weeds in there telling you that you’re not attractive enough, smart enough, confident enough, interesting enough, ‘perfect’ enough and that you have every reason to fear and doubt and judge yourself…
And it’s not easy to uproot them! They’ve been left unchecked to do as they please for years, firmly embedded in your mind and probably still growing strong. BUT…
They’ll only survive if you continue to believe in them and fuel them with the SAME type of limiting beliefs. When you stop believing in them, they will get weaker and weaker until they eventually dissolve away.
In the meantime, you get to plant new beliefs, ones that are loving, accepting, understanding and empowering.
The trick is to carry out this process of weeding and replanting little by little, day by day. Here’s how:
Step 1: Weeding
Weaken and uproot your limiting beliefs by weeding them out with the below questions.
What thoughts and beliefs do you have that cause you to feel negatively about yourself?
What negative emotions do they trigger in you?
How are they impacting your life i.e. your decisions and actions?
Would you rather continue believing in them or be free of them? (Here’s your chance to weaken the weeds!)
Step 2: Replanting
Do some replanting by consciously choosing new empowering beliefs.
What empowering thought or belief could you replace a limiting one with?
How would that empowering thought or belief make you feel?
How would it impact your life i.e. your decisions and actions?
What can you do today to honour your new belief?
Be aware that it’s normal for this process of replanting new beliefs to feel forced or fake in the beginning because your scared ego-mind will try to convince you to stay small and fearful (as that’s what it knows best and it’s afraid of change).
But you can override it. The more you let go of old limiting beliefs, the more space you’ll have to plant new empowering beliefs.
This is how we reprogram the mind. And this is how we start actively creating our ideal lives, instead of waiting and wishing that things were different. That’s when the real magic begins.
I believe in you.
Now it’s your turn to believe in you too.
Alie Harwood is a holistic wellness coach and creator of the, The Shy Introvert’s Pathway to A Life of True Confidence, a transformational coaching program. An introvert herself, Alie knows what it’s like to feel ashamed, self-conscious and never good enough…but she’s found the way out and she wants to guide you there with her. Get her free guide to kickstart your confidence journey.