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How to Conquer FOPO (Fear of Other People's Opinions)

Do you spend too much time obsessing over what other people think of you?

Guess what? You're not alone.

We all worry, but sometimes people can get trapped by worrying too much about other people's opinions. They might spend their time with people they don’t like, people please, not set effective boundaries (or worse, compromise their boundaries), or avoid certain people because of their perception about what that person, or people, think of them.

FOPO can also cause people to struggle with decision making, even simple ones. Instead, they might change their position in response to any criticism or different points of view. They could hesitate to share what’s on their minds or believe others are upset with them when that isn’t true.

Does some of that sound familiar to you?

It's possible that you might be putting too much energy into other people's opinions.

How to Conquer FOPO

Focusing on what others think can prevent you from enjoying personal and professional success. If you fall into this trap from time to time, here is what you can do to turn things around:

1. Accept that people will have an opinion about you.

We all make judgments about others. Some are correct; others are not. When you accept that people will draw conclusions, even if they are incorrect, you are in a better position to not let their critiques negatively affect you.

2. Remember that people care less about you than you think.

It seems a harsh statement, but it is accurate. Most people are more concerned about their own feelings, insecurities, and self-perceptions than how you bombed a presentation. More than likely, they have fewer opinions of you than you realise.

3. Understand that people who have been hurt might hurt other people.

Life’s circumstances affect us all and how we respond to people. Even if you try your best to be kind and considerate of others, people will judge you. Their judgment comes from their beliefs and reflects their own experiences. When you understand this, you gain the opportunity to become more compassionate with others.

4. Stay out of the 'Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda' weeds.

Mistakes are a part of being human. We all make them - even those who judge your mistakes make errors of their own. But getting stuck in a replay of what woulda, shoulda, or coulda gone differently doesn't benefit anyone. Own up to your mistake(s) and get on with life. If someone else doesn't let it go, that is their problem, not yours.

5. Find your role models and keep them in your line of sight.

Find people that you admire who have faced and overcame similar fears or obstacles, and focus on those people. Learn more about how they worked through their insecurities, adversities, and fears and how they learned to let go of the burden of FOPO. Their inspiration can help you through your tough times.

6. Surround yourself with those that love and support you.

Who are the people who see ALL of you: your strengths, your limitations, your fears, and love you just the same? Invest in those relationships.

Refuse to let the worry of others’ opinions stop you from the success you deserve.

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