22 Apr

"Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world" 

 Jim Carey. 

Why does it really matter what people think of us? why are we so driven to conform to the judgements and expectations of others?  and to fit into social norms of society (what ever the norms may be)? 

Fear is one of the biggest forms of anxiety that people suffer with, specifically fears associated with rejection, judgement and abandonment, thus when we experience these feelings we are also at risk of developing a low self esteem. 

 We don't want to not fit in, nor do we want to be viewed as a failure so we learn to adapt a part of ourself to what society want us to be, and not who we really are. (our truest self)

 There are numerous Social Psychology experiments that have looked at people willing to conform due to group pressures.  One of the most well known experiments was carried out by Soloman Asch in the 1950's.  One in particular carried out, showed the number of people who where willing to give an incorrect answer and ignore the reality,  in order to conform to the rest of the group. (some participants where confederates of Asch, and where told to give others the wrong answers to test the groups reactions). 

 The origins of 'fitting in' stem from hundreds of years ago from our indigenous ancestors (tribal). It meant that our ancestors strongly conformed in groups to hunt, fight off predators, and avoid starvation.  Thus a fundamental part of survival.  

Fast forward hundreds of years to the 21st century, western culture has shifted tenfold, our technology is so advanced we can almost have access to anything we want instantly, and social media has become a breeding ground for comparison. 

I don't want to knock social media platforms because I feel that they act as both a curse and a (blessing, if they are used appropriately). 

Unfortunately statistics show that the role of social media in our society has increased the percentage of people struggling with mental health issues.  Thus we have become highly reliant on likes and comments from others to fit in and be accepted. We are faced with a 'comparison complex" in that in order to feel accepted we must be wealthy, educated, have amazing homes and be physically and visually perfect.  

The truth is none of us will ever really fit in because we are ALL different in every unique way, and thats what makes us all interesting. We are not responsible for the assumptions and opinions of other people, yet we are still being held back from personally achieving because we worry about what others think. 

The truth is no matter what you do people will always find reason to dislike you or to criticise you, even when they don't know you.  Even if you are doing something great with your life or making a difference someone will always find fault, and this isn't because there is anything wrong with you, its because you're trying to achieve your full potential and maybe others haven't found that yet.

As Frank Sinatra said in the song "that's life" and lets face it, we have our own assumptions about other people as well, without really knowing them, and we don't always like everyone we encounter at times. 

The problem is, when we allow others to impact our self esteem it has an  affect on our confidence to we  start avoiding things to prevent anyone making a judgement about us, this is a huge problem as it can hold us back from achieving. 

The lesson here is about being conscious of your own thoughts and actions, you are fully responsible for yourself and making change in intercepting the negatives. 

1. Remember people only understand you from their own perception and perspective, no one will ever know who you are, apart from you! or the reason behind why you are getting on! 

2. Ask yourself this? do you really care if Joe bloggs doesn't like you, what part do they play in your life? if any? how do they impact you? do they impact you? do you need to have anything to do with them? if not why are you so bothered about what they think? 

3. If you are struggling to make decisions on something important to you and you need to seek advice, (if you are struggling to find this within yourself) only seek advice and support from people who love you unconditionally, and who fully support you with no agenda. The opinions of these people should matter the most and take priority over those who don't know you. 

for example you wouldn't ask parenting advice from someone who doesn't have any kids. You would be inclined to seek advice from someone who inspires you, or who you think is an amazing parental role model. 

create your team! 

4. The most important thing is what you think about yourself. 

5. As a follow on from number 4 write yourself a list of 5 things that aligns with your own values and how you honour these values. 

ie this could be kindness, patience etc. this is about really understanding who you are and when we actually write it down, it makes a big difference. 

ALSO write a list of things that go against your values and reflect on them, awareness is the key and we can build upon strengthening these. 

6. practice self affirmations daily!

7. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself

8. We are not born with confidence, confidence is something that we gain through repetition and practice. For example the more I ran outdoors the more confident I became, which meant I couldn't give a crap of what others thought of me. The more you practice the more you strengthen the neuroplasticity in your brain. 

9. Make a Journal of your progress. 

10. Think of your goal and keep that as your focus. 

11. Remember we don't actually know what people think of us, unless they have actually told us, so don't let your thoughts and worries blind you on your Journey, because thoughts are only thoughts and they come and go. Make sure your consistent with your goals and that will be your action. 

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but due to your estimate of it: and this you have the power to revoke at any moment" 

Marcus Aurelius. 

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