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How to Not Worry About What People Think of You

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Mar 14, 2019

Question

Asalamu alaikum. I am a dull person. I am not smart and people complain a lot about my attitude including my family. Some people don’t enjoy working with me because I don’t do things fast and sometimes I lack the confidence in some of the things I do.

Often when I am asked to perform a task, I begin to fear, especially when I am being supervised. I usually blame myself when something bad has happened. I hardly forgive myself. I worry a lot about what people say or think about me. I find it difficult to forget about some of the things people do to me which hurt me.

These problems have been disturbing me. Please, I need help. Thanks.

Counselor

Answer


How to Not Worry About What People Think of You

In this counseling answer:

• Practice visualizing a fantastic version of yourself, achieving your goals, and being happy and certain.

• Find opportunities to congratulate, compliment and reward yourself, even for the smallest successes.

• There will always be someone who is displeased with you.

• The negative comments someone makes is about them, and not you.

•  Sometimes those who love us display tough love and we need to realize it is ultimately for our own good. However, not everyone wants to build us, some really want us to fall down. These are the people you need to ignore.

• People with a growth mindset understand they can get smarter through hard work, the use of effective strategies, and help from others when needed.


As-Salamu Alaikum dear sister,

Thank you for trusting us by sharing your feelings with us. I want to first let you know that you are not actually very dull or unintelligent person. You simply lack confidence.

What is confidence?

Someone can be very intelligent and hardworking, but if they are not confident, it is hard for others to see them that way. For example, you sent us a question to answer, and your expert advice on how to overcome and handle your situation. You expect someone who really knows how to help others and how to change them for the better. But dear sister, do you what the truth is? No one does. No one knows.

karim serageldin & naaila clay

Everyone studies, reads, understands and has a passion for helping others. But most importantly, we feel confident that from among the answers we give people asking for guidance at least one advice will create a spark of light and have a positive impact.

Perfection is not humanly, but the journey towards perfection is.

And that is where confidence comes in.

Develop Confidence

Dear sister, would you ever go to a doctor when you are sick and feel confident if he/she says that she is not very confident in helping you? When she looks very nervous and uncertain? No! But you would feel so much more confident if you went to a doctor and him/she looked very confident, handled your problems with care and certainty and helped you. However, they both went to medical schools and learned the same material. But one of them is confident and the other is not.

Here is a beautiful quote:

“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” T. Harv Eker

This quote speaks a thousand words. We think that everyone is very confident, but once upon a time, they were just like you. Uncertain, scared, worried, insecure, and the list goes on. They developed confidence by eliminating the thoughts that prevented their growth.

Visualize Yourself The Way You Want to Be

“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill

Visualization is the technique of seeing an image of yourself that you are proud of, in your own mind. When we struggle with low self-confidence, we have a poor perception of ourselves that is often not true. Practice visualizing a fantastic version of yourself, achieving your goals, and being happy and certain.

We tend to behave in accordance with our own self-image. The trick to making lasting change is to change how you view yourself.

Question Your Inner Critic

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” Louise L. Hay

For example, if you think that you are a failure, ask yourself, “What evidence is there to support the thought that I am a failure?” and “What evidence is there that doesn’t support the thought that I am a failure?” Next, ask yourself, “what do I want to do in my life? What do I want to achieve? Is it not possible to become better.”

Next, find opportunities to congratulate, compliment and reward yourself, even for the smallest successes.

Care for Yourself

“Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” Parker Palmer

Self-confidence depends on a combination of good physical health, emotional health, and social health. It is hard to feel good about yourself if you hate your physique or constantly have low energy.

Forget About What People Say

Dear sister, in life, it is the job of people to criticize and demean and insult. I think this is the reason for your lack of self-esteem.

But dear sister, you are only 24, you need to realize that you haven’t seen much of life, and your life is not going to a bed of flowers. There will come a time when people WILL be unhappy, displeased, and unsatisfied with you. But you absolutely cannot let it get to you.


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However, as people of sound mind and focused direction, we need to realize that as long as we do not do anything to displease Allah SWT or our parents and that we not working in the bad interest of others, there is nothing we should worry about. Let me tell you a story, I am sure you probably heard the same one before or a version of it.

Here it goes.

There were a husband and his wife walking with a donkey on a leash, and the husband was holding the leash. People saw them and said, “what stupid people, they can sit on the donkey rather than walk with him.” Then, the husband made the wife sit on the donkey. People next said, “what a selfish woman, the husband is walking and she is sitting on the donkey.” Then the husband and the wife both sat on the donkey. People then said, “what dumb people! How can they both sit on a poor donkey and burden it!” The husband and wife both got off the donkey and continued walking. And guess what, the chain of comments continued.

But the husband and his wife realized that it doesn’t matter. You simply cannot do anything to please the people. There will always be someone who is displeased with you. Do what is right for you for now, later for your spouse, and eventually for your family. Let people say what they want. Learn to master ignoring what which doesn’t concern you. Most importantly, set pleasing Allah as your main measurement.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” Harvey Fierstein

How to forget what people say:

The negative comments someone makes is about them, and not you.

Dear sister, when someone does see a weakness in you, if they try to highlight it, they are displaying their own strength, but rather their weakness. Therefore, when you feel hurt by others’ comments, realize that it is their own weakness and not yours.

Be true to yourself.

You know yourself. What is it that you are good at and bad at. When you constantly feel let down by others’ insults, you are not being true to your own self.

This is your one life.

Why would you like to waste many minutes of your days thinking over what someone insensitively said? You are not what they define you as.

Remove sources of negativity, immediately.

Sometimes, sources of negativity are some people, but other times, it is our inability to think about other things. Therefore, when you feel weighed down by the thoughts of others’ words, you need to invest your time into feeding your mind. Find a source of inspiration and hold on it.

Trust a few opinions, but forget the rest.

Dear sister, there are some people who truly want us to improve but are not sure how to do it. Do you have someone who, you can feel, truly want the best for you? Does he or she talk in your best interest? If so, then you need to listen to them. Sometimes those who love us display tough love and we need to realize it is ultimately for our own good. However, not everyone wants to build us, some really want us to fall down. These are the people you need to ignore.

Forgive and Forget

Dear sister, even in Islam, we are asked to forgive those who wronged us. Our journey to the Hereafter is full of difficulties and tests. This is our way to prove who we are and this process includes injustice being done to us at the hands of others. If we truly want Allah’s love and forgiveness, we must remember that the hurts of this world are only temporary.

Look at this beautiful saying of the Prophet Muhammed SAW.

The Prophet () said: I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he were in the right, a house in the middle of Paradise for a man who avoids lying even if he were joking, and a house in the upper part of Paradise for a man who made his character good. (Sunan Abi Dawud)

Taking responsibility is good, but compliment it with change, not blame

Dear sister, I am glad to hear that you feel remorse when something goes wrong. This is indicative of the fact that you do not have a “blame-others for my life” mindset. This is a blessing on its own.

You will be surprised to learn that many people consider others faulty when things do not work and, hence, are not willing to make a positive change. However, when you blame yourself and take responsibility when things do go wrong, do not get caught up in the act of blaming.

Work hard to change it.

Evaluate what you did wrong and work on it.

Have a growth mindset.

People with a growth mindset understand they can get smarter through hard work, the use of effective strategies, and help from others when needed. It is contrasted with a fixed mindset: the belief that intelligence is a fixed trait that is set in stone at birth.

Dear sister, I pray that my answer helps you direct your thoughts and change your negative feelings.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

5 Tips to Increase Self-Confidence in Worship

5 Strategies to Improve Self Confidence

Arrogance, Delusion & Self-Confidence – How Are They Linked?




About Madiha Sadaf

Madiha Sadaf in an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, enrolled in BSc. with Major in Biology and Psychology with Minor in Health Social Sciences.

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