As the wise Lao Tzu offered: "Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner."
While it is human nature to want to be liked and accepted, getting caught up in trying too hard to win the approval of others is not only unhealthy, it can be debilitating and lead to persistent self-doubt.
Certainly, it is normal to be concerned about how we come across to others, but how much should it matter?
Conversely, being oblivious to the thoughts and opinions of others would be equally undesirable. Indeed, possessing 'emotional intelligence' requires us to be aware of and reflective about how we affect others.
So where does that leave us?
It leaves us with working to maintain a healthy, positive
preoccupied with how we appear to others. When we are comfortable with
ourselves, we do not give worrying about what people think much thought
Understand that you cannot please everyone and not everyone is going to like you. Instead of wasting your time trying to please everyone - mostly because it's impossible; strive to be the best person 'you' can be. Do so by developing yourself and your unique skills, talents and abilities. Endeavor to have people like you for who you genuinely are rather than an inauthentic, people-pleasing version of who you hope people will like. Dare to be yourself!Be aware of your inner critic and avoid second guessing yourself. Many of us imagine that everyone is judging everything we do. We tend to over-analyze any mistakes we make, berate ourselves for making them and then assume everyone is scrutinizing and keeping score of what we do. Frankly, contrary to what we may believe, fewer people care or take time to notice what we are doing, or how. Most are too busy and absorbed with their own preoccupations to pay much attention. Actually, they are probably worrying about how they themselves are being perceived.
Focus on what you are doing rather than how you appear. In order to take the attention away from how you believe others may be critiquing, judging or evaluating you, train yourself to focus instead on the task at hand and on accomplishing what you set out to do. In doing so, you will not only act more naturally and flowingly (by being less self-conscious) you will direct attention to the right issue - the subject at hand.Work on developing a healthy self-concept. As I elaborate upon in my book '9 Essential Life Skills', a healthy self-concept entails knowing yourself, accepting/loving yourself and being true to yourself. If you know and accept who you are, no one can shake your fundamental belief in yourself. When you have solid foundation you don't worry about what people think of you. You already know who you are and of what you are capable. You also know you're a valuable human being subject to the same strengths and weaknesses, disappointments and successes, feelings and emotions that the rest of humanity is - and that's okay.
Seek positive constructive feedback from people you trust. Undoubtedly, it is difficult to be objective about ourselves so if you are still concerned about how others see you - and realistically we need to have some idea - seek positive constructive feedback from trusted family members or friends. There is always room for improvement so constructive feedback can only help. Here are some signs that you worry too much about what others think. They are similar to those mentioned in my article on Healthy Personal Boundaries and How to Establish Them.
Ultimately, worrying about what others think can indeed be debilitating and consequently inhibit you from living your life fully and freely. If you become bound by the thoughts and opinions of others, you are at the mercy of those opinions and therefore not free to be your genuine self.