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How to Overcome Your Fear of What People Think

Written by on November 28, 2012 in Emotional Health Tips, Identity & Life Tips, Resilience with 4 Comments
How to Overcome Your Fear of What People Think

Arianna Merritt, M.Ed. – life coach, author, and founder of Arianna’s Random Thoughts.

Do you sometimes feel paralyzed because of what people will think about your appearance, performance, opinions, and choices?

These tips for overcoming fear of what people think are from life coach Arianna Merritt, M.Ed.

“For years, I kept my mouth shut as I was too shy to speak up,” she says. “While I wasn’t afraid of performing in sports or music, when it came to sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings with others, I was insecure and closed up like a clam.”

Arianna adds that when you put yourself out there and share your talents, voice, and story with the world, you risk being judged.



“Until a couple of years ago, I hid myself and silenced my voice as I had been criticized and bullied in the past for showcasing my potential,” she says.

I think most people are scared to show their true selves because they’re afraid of what people will think – or, worse, what people will do (judge, bully, oppress, silence).

Are you scared to share your story because of how people will react? What if, however, their reaction is better than you ever expected?

Here, Arianna describes four lessons she learned from sharing her story.

Overcoming Fear of What People Think About You

Guest Post ~ Arianna Merritt

Individuals think shy people are quiet. This is not true for me; as many people know, I love to talk and to share when I’m comfortable in an environment. My shyness does not mean that I am inadequate in any way or that I lack skills or talent. Rather, it only means that I have a hard time sharing what I hold on the inside. When I enter a situation for the first time, I have a hard time speaking up until I feel comfortable in that setting. Some may mistake my lack of speaking as an indication that I have nothing to contribute. That isn’t the case at all; I have A LOT to contribute – I just do not feel comfortable enough initially to speak up.

(Sometimes shyness is confused with introversion. Read Are You an Introvert? A Test for Introverted Personality Traits).

Over the last five years, I have developed the courage to not let the opinions of others prevent me from being the best version of myself.  In the past, I was looking to others for me to feel comfortable enough to speak. I’ve learned, though, that this comfort and confidence must come from within! I came upon this knowledge through years of seeking others’ approval. This change has really been reflective in my writing.

If you had asked me years ago when I was extremely shy and scared of public speaking whether I ever pictured myself blogging and sharing my thoughts with the world, the answer would have been a loud, “No!” However, I love where I am today and the path I am on.

There were many setbacks when I started writing online.

Initially, my blog wasn’t successful and I almost gave up on it. When I started loving myself and valuing myself, and not focusing on my inner critic and the past insults of others, the posts started to flow as I began to write from the heart.  The words just came to me and suddenly I knew exactly what to say.

On that note, here are the top four lessons I have learned from sharing my story:

Life is about the journey, not the destination

Every obstacle teaches you a lesson that shapes you into the person you are today.

Looking back at my life, I have had many hardships but I wouldn’t change them as they have taught me so many insights about life.  I now look at any obstacle as: “What is this experience teaching me?”

Don’t listen to the critics

All the way along, there have been negative comments.  Even after achieving great things, I have learned to not take the mean comments personally and to keep going on the route I am on.

Surround yourself with positive people

Having a wonderful group of people around you that support you and nurture you is so important.  In life, I have an amazing network where we all help each other become the best we can be.

Persevere

I have felt like giving up.  Life is hard sometimes, I will agree. But, along with the pain and suffering, I know there are so many amazing things waiting for you.  When I was going through the obstacles, it appeared like the fog would never go away.  I knew, however, in my soul that life would get better.

Guess what, it did.  It turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  Through learning to love myself unconditionally, now not only am I sharing my thoughts on my blog (safe zone), I reach out and share my journey with others!

This is what was holding me back from sharing my story; what’s stopping you?! Take the risk. Tell your story. 

For more tips on overcoming your fear of what people will think, read When You Can’t Think of Anything to Say – Connecting With People.

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Arianna Merritt, M.Ed., is a life coach, an educator, and the founder of Arianna’s Random Thoughts. The focus of her work is centered around issues of: perseverance, mentoring, self-worth, body-image, and bullying prevention. Arianna empowers individuals to reach their full potential through finding their voices and sharing their stories. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or on her website

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4 Reader Comments

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  1. Arianna says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Tina! It’s always great to hear from people who experience the same things as you. I may be quiet and shy and first – but my mind is always buzzing with thoughts :) Hope you have a wonderful week!

  2. Arianna, you are spot on. I am very shy but once I get going, I can talk forever. Thank you for your article. Nice
    Cheers
    Tina Boomerina

  3. Arianna says:

    Thanks, Laurie, for the opportunity! The article kind of wrote itself when I sat down to write. It really is amazing what happens when you share lessons from your heart. Keep up the wonderful work you are doing.

    Since I love quotes, here is one of my favourites for you:
    “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” E. E. Cummings

  4. Laurie says:

    When I was uploading this article, I had to choose Tags and Categories. When I chose “authenticity”, “overcoming fear and anxiety”, and “being yourself”, I realized that these are the exact type of articles I want to publish.

    Thank you, Arianna, for encouraging me to be myself! I really appreciate this article, and am so glad you wrote it.

    Laurie

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