I discovered a new boundary today, which totally surprised me. It's the line between how you feel about yourself, and what other people think about you, or even, what you think other people think about you. You might already be familiar with the Boundaries books by Cloud & Townsend. You can search for them here at Book Depository. (I like them because postage is always FREE.)
Worrying what other people think of us seems to be a modern day plague.
Worrying what other people think of us seems to be a modern day plague. Facebook and other social media has intensified the need for people to look good all the time. Every day people find themselves image managing their lives. If we believe what people post on facebook we could be lured into thinking everyone else has great fun holidays, lots of cool friends, a loving, happy family and their kids are super cute and compliant. The list is never ending.
While we're busy managing our image, our insecurities grow as we compare our life with others and we seem to come up short, feeling disappointed with our lot. There is a lot of noise in the social media environment about having exactly what you want, and how to get it. Try harder, look better, be smarter, kinder, more assertive. This breeds more insecurity as we continue the comparisons, and see ourselves as the 'have nots'. We begin to feel entitled to more than we have, and what we want is ever just beyond our grasp. We strive, we compare, we come up short. There's a great article about this here by Jamie Varon. (Warning, contains some F* bombs)
We find ourselves languishing in the tensions between who we say we are on social media, the image we project in real life, and what others think of us on social media and in real life. Who are we, really? Do we even know any more? More than ever we worry what others will think of us and say about us. We don't worry so much about being loved and adored. But as our insecurities grow, we worry about other people's negative perceptions, and worse still, we worry they might be right! We might even be convinced that our own negative perceptions of our self are true.
"What other people think of you is none of your business."
I was told years ago, "What other people think of you is none of your business." That is some of the best advice I've ever had. That's the boundary line I'm talking about. We need to be able to draw a line around ourselves, and find value in ourselves, by ourselves, for ourselves. This is the hedge that protects us from the fears of what others might think of us. It also protects us from the fear of stepping out because we might fail, look stupid, feel dumb. But if we can overcome the paralysis of what other people think, we might just succeed!! The hedge of accepting ourselves as we are enables us to step out and take risks.
The hedge of accepting ourselves as we are enables us to step out and take risks.
We need to take risks to be able to develop connections with others. Our fear of rejection can hold us back from meeting new people, making friends, finding our soul mate. The 'love yourself hedge' gives you the courage to keep on going, despite disappointments. It gives us the courage to get up one more time than we're knocked down.
I encourage you to let go of worrying what other people think, learn to be satisfied with who you are and enjoy the freedom of being yourself everywhere you go.
If you'd like more help with your boundaries, we can talk one on one, or consider coming along to the Boundaries workshop. You can find out more here.