We all make poor decisions as we learn and grow. However, we also make poor decisions that are avoidable when second-guessing ourselves through a preoccupation of ‘what will others think?’.
Why are we prone to this fixation?
It stems from an innate fear of rejection and need for belonging. When we fixate on what (we believe) others will think, we dilute our self-respect and confidence, becoming susceptible to pleasing, avoidance and group-think.
Fear-based decisions are activated by self-depreciating beliefs. These include ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘not smart enough’, ‘too much’, ‘too little’, and that others are and know more. Evidence of the ‘what will others think?’ trap is when we make decisions through ‘must’, ‘should’, and ‘I have no choice’. Other symptoms include ‘fitting in’ and ‘staying out of trouble’.
Possibly the greatest irony of our preoccupation with what others will think, is that they are likely thinking about themselves and not you – because others are also navigating their imposters, even when it’s not obvious.
Importantly, there is a difference between appropriate consideration of others in decision-making, and a fear-based focus on what others will think. The latter dilutes the efficacy of one’s contribution and quality of life. Co-operation is good, pleasing is not, and we can always feel the difference in our body.
We all care what others think of us. However, when I am under the spell of my imposter, I start proving and want to ‘win’ and be different. In-flow or in-proving are a choice apart.
One’s imposter is very convincing, so, notice when you’re about to prove or dilute your discernment, and remain mindful that your self-worth and choices are decided by you.