Do you worry, ‘what will people think’?

Q: Hey Sara, at your UPower concert when you asked us to wave our arms to your song I felt like I shouldn’t cuz my friends weren’t and I was worried that I was going to get made fun of.

A: In some situations allowing the opinions of others to influence us is a good thing. It can hold us back from doing something that is inappropriate.

However, there are many times when people worry so much about what others think of them, that they don’t allow themselves the freedom to be who they truly are. Instead they hide their talents, their abilities and their personality in order to fit in.

It’s easy to allow our mind to worry and to create ’what ifs’ about situations.

For example:

  • What if I wave my hands in the air and everyone thinks I look ridiculous?
  • What if I wear my new outfit to school and people don’t like it?
  • What if I don’t make the basketball team, will people think that I’m a bad athlete?
  • What if people think I try too hard to fit in?

The ‘what ifs’ can be never ending and unfortunately, a lot of the time, ‘what if’ questions are answered with negative responses.

For example:

Q: What if I wave my hands in the air and everyone thinks I look ridiculous?

A: I will feel embarrassed. I might even get made fun of – not just that day – maybe the rest of the year. People might not want to hang out with me.
Even if a small voice in your head is saying, ‘Just go ahead, it’ll be fun’, it will take a lot of courage to go against all the ‘what ifs’ your mind has created.

Most of us have a strong desire to fit in, be accepted and be loved. It’s easy to do or not do something in order to obtain acceptance.

Allowing the worry of embarrassment to stop you from being who you truly are, means that you end up missing out on the fun and freedom of expressing YOU in your own unique way. You also rob yourself of finding friends who truly accept you for you.

Here is something that I did as a young teenager to bounce back from all those ‘what if’ questions. I wrote down the type of person I wanted to be: ‘I choose to be respectful, understanding and confident’. Whenever a situation would come up I would remind myself to make choices that showed I was being those character traits. I still do this as an adult to help me bounce back when the ‘what if’ questions pop up in my mind. This allows me to make choices beyond what others may think.

Here’s a very important question to ask yourself:

Is it more important to ‘fit in’ at the cost of not being your unique self? (If people put you down for waving your hands to a song, are those the people that you want to call friends?)


Is it more important for you to enjoy being You? (Choosing to wave your hands in the air regardless of what others may think. Plus, deciding to wave your hands in the air, may have others following your lead!)

Remember to make choices that show your unique self and the character traits you want to be known for.

Until next time…