Do you worry too much about what other people think?
Perhaps you are concerned that you have upset them by something you have said.
Worrying too much about what other people think can be a trait that is present in some (but not all) people with ME/CFS and in people without this condition.
It can be exhausting and a waste of energy!
5 Steps To Stop The Worry Habit
1. Recognise The Pattern
If you think you have said or done something that may have upset another person, you could ask them if you have upset them.
However, if you are doing this too often, then it may be that it is a pattern that you may find useful to break.
2. Recognise That It’s Their Responsibility
In the article ME/CFS: 12 Steps For Setting Boundaries I mentioned that there are 3 kinds of business:
Other business; Neither your or my business.
So what others think about you isn’t your business!
Also, recognise that if other people are thinking unfavourable things about you, it says something about them. What I mean is that happy, well adjusted, positive people don’t spend much time spreading negativity about others.
Instead of dwelling on whether you have said or done something that may have upset another person, you could consider that perhaps if they are upset, then it is their business how they deal with it.
3. Identify Their Strategy
If they are upset, they could:
i. Respond aggressively
Expressing their annoyance.
ii. Respond in a passive-aggressive manner
This is where they express their feelings indirectly, for example slamming doors.
iii. Let it go
iv. Respond in a grown up manner
They could talk to you about it in a calm, reasonable manner, with a motivation to promote understanding and building a better relationship.
We explore how to deal with aggressive and passive-aggressive behaviour on the Assertive Communication training
4. Choose Your Response
If they do respond in one of the first two ways, consider how you respond.
i. Ignore it
ii. Respond in kind
Shout, slam doors etc. Clearly this is only going to cause more problems!
iii. Respond in a grown up manner
You might say “You seem upset. I am happy to sit down and talk to you to sort this. Would you be willing to tell me what’s on your mind?”
This approach may take practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Consider that you could do it face to face, on the phone, or in an email or letter.
5. Validate Your Opinions
It can be useful to consider other people’s opinions, but not at the expense of your own opinions.
Consider that your positive opinion of yourself is more important than other people’s negative opinions of you!
Life gets a whole lot easier when you stop taking responsibility for things that aren’t your responsibility.
Consider what steps you are going to take if you recognise that you worry too much about what others think.
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After working in a demanding job as the Director of a Housing Trust, he went off sick and remained unable to work for the next 8 years.
He discovered a pioneering approach to resolving health issues and got back his health, and now trains others using these same techniques.