Worrying about what others think?

Worrying about what others think often coincides with social based anxiety, or painful shyness. What people seem to fear the most is; other people thinking negativity about them. The most common fear I hear of, from clients suffering this form of anxiety, is that “other people, will think I’m stupid”. This is often as result of the worrier believing deep down that “they are not good enough”

We all know people who don’t seem to care what others think. As a result of this, they are loved by others for this carefree attitude. How do they do this?

What is the difference between someone who worries about other people’s opinions and those who don’t? As someone who was a “worrier”, and is now a reformed worrier, I aim to shed some light on this question, by applying my knowledge and experience as a Hypnotherapist.

As a reformed “worrier”, I recall this pain during social situations. They occurred mainly, when I was in the company of people that I didn’t know very well. There was only thing I wanted to happen, and that was, for the ground to swallow me up, so I could disappear.

I would do anything I could, to be invisible, avoiding eye contact, keeping as quiet as I possibly could. “Would you like a drink Alexia” I would reply in a squeaky high pitched voice, “no thank you” whilst blushing and feeling like I might pass out; despite wanting a cup of tea. I would become angry with myself for being, what I perceived to be, inadequate.

My inner tyrant would appear and I would proceed in giving myself a metaphorical “good beating”. My internal dialogue being something along these lines: “you idiot, why can’t you just be normal and say yes to a cup of tea?  “The problem was if I said yes, then more questions would follow: “how do you like your tea Alexia, sugar, how many, milk, cup or mug, how strong?” This would make me have to talk MORE, and this would have made people look at me, and discover how stupid I really was. Once I had the cup of tea, I would have to drink it, and if I drink it, I might spill it, cough, slurp, and draw more attention to myself. Then people would see what a rubbish person I was. It seemed much easier at that time, just to avoid having the cup of tea and make one when I got home. Which I invariably did. Made just the way I like it!

On the occasions where I had to talk, I would blush and say things in the wrong order. Stutter and do EXACTLY what I didn’t want to do, which was to make an idiot of myself. For me, the whole process was exhausting and quite soul destroying. Being in the company of “strangers” was an ordeal for me. It was something that my deeper mind learned to avoid at all costs. The cost was of course, loneliness.

I believed that other people were better than me, cooler than me, more intelligent than me, more interesting than me, the list went on, but I’m sure you understand my point.

I often wished I had more money, so  I could  have designer clothes,  a posh car, to be smarter so I could have an interesting job, or to be able to make funny jokes, as I  mistakenly thought all this would make things better for me. If I was more like everyone else, then I would be ok. However, I was a very skint single mother; this made the majority of the above solutions impossible. So, avoiding situations was the best option. Or to drink alcohol where possible, which in effect is the same thing.

As a reformed worrier, I no longer worry about what other people think about me. How did I change this?

  •      1)  I stopped believing the world was a horrible place. As long as I believed that the world was a horrible place, I would always worry that people were out to get me. (I still can’t work out why I actually thought this, but nevertheless I did)
  •    2) I stopped believing that everyone else was the enemy, and realised other people have insecurities, and fears and were not as bullet proof as they seemed. Despite seeming intelligent and funny and wearing posh clothes. This is called distorted thinking.Example
  •    3) I challenged my own judgements  I was very quick to judge others, and I was actually highly critical of others. I now know that this was about MY insecurities and not about others at all.  My critical judgemental mind, mistakenly led me to believe that other people must think like me. Yes, I believed this, whilst believing that I was some sort of freak of nature. That I was so different to everyone else, because they were cool, trendy, funny, drove nice cars and so on.  I wasn’t like them, but what I did believe was that we all thought horrible things about each other. (This of course isn’t true, we see the world differently. I’ll write about World Views, in my next blog. As that subject is a really fascinating and enlightening one)

I see other people through compassionate eyes these days. We are all trying to get by and the majority of us just want to get along and have an easy and happy life. Those who appear hostile or difficult to connect with, I now know, are the people who are afraid as I was. Or perhaps have things going on in their lives, which are troubling them.

  •      4) Challenge negative inner chat: this is something everyone should become aware of. The inner conversations we have; play a major role in our worries. It is the inner chat that runs a commentary of what others think. We take this inner voice as a truth and our body reacts accordingly. Here is a typical example:

Michelle has a work “do” tonight:

Before the event

The Inner voice begins, “oh god this will be a nightmare, I hate these events, I don’t want to go, (body starts to feel nervous) “I bet nobody will talk to me, I feel horrible, my clothes are rubbish, if anyone does talk to me, I will make an idiot of myself” (The mind will recall other times when this has happened, (evidence for the false assumptions) and the body feels more nervous…

 At the event

Every interaction with a colleague will be assessed and viewed negatively.  For example a colleague says “hello” and smiles and asks how you are? This is interpreted as “why has she asked how I am” does she know, I’m not ok? She can see I’m nervous or not really wanted here, she knows I’m insecure and she feels sorry for me.

A group of colleagues burst into laughter as she returns from the toilet, this in interpreted as they are laughing at me, and what I’m wearing.

Poor Michelle, why would she want to go out?

These are just a few examples of what goes on in our heads when we worry about what other people think.

4)Change your inner voice, talk to yourself kindly, in the same way you would talk to a friend or your child who was worried about doing something. Soften your tone and affirm, “it will be fine” challenge any distorted fearful thoughts. Just because you think it’s true, it doesn’t mean that it is.

For many people who worry about what others think; the issue is that they are putting themselves under pressure to be perfect. Another underlying fear is that others will see their faults and insecurities, and dislike them for it. For those who don’t worry about what others think; they are comfortable with their faults and insecurities and are happy to reveal these flaws to the rest of the world. The beauty with this attitude is that other people admire it. We like people who are honest about themselves, it’s easier to connect with them and they appear to be more genuine. As we know deep down, nobody is perfect.

  •    5) Lower your expectations; it’s ok to say the wrong thing, so what? Laugh about it. It’s ok to blush, and it’s ok to feel afraid. Instead of trying to cover it up, share with your friends and colleagues. You will be amazed at how many people will say they feel the same. This really takes the pressure off you. and is a great way to open a conversation
  •     6) Smile more; it’s such a lovely feeling to get a smile from someone. Smile at strangers, when it’s appropriate of course! It will make you feel better and someone else may benefit too. Try it, it’s like magic!! This quote puts a “smile” into perspective, I think.  I love a good smile 😀

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou

This beautiful and famous quote, is perfect for this blog

Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of the universe

You’re playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of the universe that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Worrying about others think, is certainly one the top three most common issues that I deal with on a daily basis. There are more people worrying about what others think, and whilst they are doing that; they are not thinking about you. They are too busy trying to work out what you thinking!

So in summary:

1: Stop believing that the world is a horrible place. I’m not saying you need to become Mary Poppins. Just view it as a sunny Sunday afternoon rather than a rainy Monday morning.

2: Only allow positive inner chat, it’s your chat so you might as well make it work for you!

3: Challenge negative thoughts and question them.

4: Know that nobody is perfect and we all have insecurities.

5: Smile!

6: Lower your expectation and stop taking yourself so seriously.

Big love Alexia X

Or you can of course, make an appointment for a free hypnotherapy Consultation in Leicester, with highly experienced Hypnotherapist Alexia Elliott.

Empowerment Hypnotherapy Leicester Hypnotherapy in Leicester with Hypnotherapist Alexia Elliott. Free consultation session at Empowerment hypnotherapy Leicester

 

Call or text Alexia Elliott on 07966 412209 or email alexia@alexiaelliott.co.uk

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Shadows and silhouettes

Shadows and silhouettes
By Alexia Elliott
The day is closing in, I am sitting looking out of the kitchen window, which leads to the fields at the back of my home. The trees in the distance are silhouetted against the fading light. Their outline black and sharp, is all that can be seen.
We know there’s more to the trees than what we can see, but until the light shines again, we cannot see the different parts that make up the tree as a whole.
“it is not the eyes of others I am weary of, but my own” Noel Coward.
Nature is laden with fascinating metaphors offering us opportunities to gain deeper insights into ourselves, if we allow ourselves a moment to pause.  Im sitting down with my cup of tea, watching the sun disappear into the horizon. My thoughts drift to social media, and how this is like a silhouette.
How we present, often carefully chosen facets of our lives, to create illusions to the outside world sharing insights into our lives. It’s curious isn’t it? that we take photographs of  our beautifully constructed healthy meals, or  write a post informing everyone how hard we have worked at the gym or at yoga,(I’m aware, I better include myself here ) or how much fun we had last night at a party, with our numerous wonderful friends.
Is this for our self esteem? Or Is it, defining our self concept? Or is it, creating an illusion that our lives are far better than they really are?
My musings, are not criticisms, as we are all guilty of this form of ‘show and tell’ in various degrees. Would I really want my Facebook friend list to be full of people eating junk food, slobbing in front of the TV, moaning about their lack of friendship and happiness. My train of thought went full steam ahead, to thinking how this might relate to Carl Jung’s theory of the shadow.
The shadow, according to  the Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung, is the unknown ‘‘dark side’’ of our personality. The shadow tends to consist predominantly of the primitive, negative, socially or religiously depreciated human emotions and impulses like sexual lust, power strivings, selfishness, greed, envy, anger or rage, and due to its unenlightened nature, completely obscured from consciousness.
The shadow represents the repressed in our life. When we encounter difficulties in life, for example,  if you continue to encounter many difficult relationships in your life, at some point we have to wonder is this more about me, why do I keep repeating the same patterns. Valuable insights and potential healing may lie hidden within the shadow, which will enable us to break unconscious patterns of behaviour. There are positives, that can be gained from the shadow,  we can encounter much resistance, which is often fear.
Rumi said,  ‘that the wound is the place where the light enters you’, I believe we do not just wake up or become enlightened. (Whatever enlightenment, really means), I believe we are forced to deal with our ‘stuff’ when finally it becomes unbearable to live with anymore.
Something will happen, a major problem, issue, trauma, or life change that causes us to reflect, and feel forced to take action, or to soul search for release from the inner turmoil.
If everything’s going well in our lives, the tendency is to just go along unconsciously “bib bobbing” along.
I do think that when adversity comes, we can use it as an opportunity to finally see things that would have been invisible before. The wound opens us up and shows us things that are only visible through the wound. our distress, allows us to see and think in a way that we cannot think otherwise. Depression, for example, allows us to have thoughts that we couldn’t have if we were not depressed.
Stephen Harrod Buhner said “Continually trying to look on the bright side interferes with our finding the wisdom that lies in the fruitful darkness. Continually striving upward toward the light means we never grow downward into our own feet, never become firmly rooted on the earth, never explore the darkness within and around us, a darkness without whose existence the light would have no meaning”
This is actually my most favoured quote.  Dealing with our darker side, can be uncomfortable, it can also be painful, and a bit embarrassing at times. However this part of us, is rich in wisdom, it is also a part of us, that we can not banish or get rid of, it’s a part of us that actually needs kindness, love and compassion. Embrace your darkness, love yourself for your envy, fear and inadequacies.I believe once we  understand  and embrace our darker side, it enables us to be happier, to feel more congruent, and at ease with our lives, which I believe give us the courage to walk on the path where our heart and soul intends.
Let’s not allow Social media to encourage us to be afraid of who we are.
let’s not buy into the nonsense that we all have to be perfect to be of value.
Let’s celebrate being who we are, with our imperfection, flaws and lumps, bumps, fears and inadequacies.
Trust you are more than enough
Peaceful blessing and love
Alexia X

On shame

Oh dear sweet girl, I can see you are hurting, I can help you be, who you must be, I know you are not perfect, I'll keep your secrets.

Its painful isn't it, seeing how wrong you are? You can be like the others, you are defected and not worthy.

I will protect you,

I will tie a belt around your heart,

you will learn humility,

I'm the antidote to omnipotence,

nobody will know,

you won't know,

I'm subtle,

yes powerful,

as long as your keep your secrets,

there is a price to pay, I will own your soul.

You will experience life as a bystander,

wrapped in my warm complacent blanket with safe illusions.

Daily affirmations of "I'm not good enough" are required by you, as is  apologising for everything. You will feel stuck in the present, with persistent pops up adds,  from the past in the backdrop of your mind, to keep you small.

Therapy and conflict

 conflict-cannot-survive-without-your-participation-quote-1

I decided to write a series of rambles, here is my first ramble. 

A few years ago, when I was teaching a Hypnosis course. A student participating on  the course, was genuinely  surprised when I  shared  that I was recovering from  a cold. “I wouldn’t expect you to get a cold Alexia”

I found this interesting, the student had made an assumption, that being a Hypnotherapist, somehow made me immune to  getting a common cold.

Over the years, I have heard variations of this myth. Clients being surprised when  I admit, I get angry or feel sadness or frustration. So, I thought  I would  share, and why not? My life is about encouraging people to share their inner worlds with me. I’m more than happy to be open with you.

I have periods of time, when I experience inner conflict, It’s not what you expect to hear from a  Therapist. There is an assumption, that we (Therapists) have worked it all out, and our lives are uncomplicated and blissful.  So to admit, that I experience inner conflict, may seem incongruous to my profession. Well, I do.  I’m happy to share this with you, and guess what?  It isn’t a problem, I see it as an asset, to me on a  personal level, and  valuable regarding  my work.

I will explain why.

The conflict I create, is intimately connected to my purpose and passion for making sense of my existence.

It is curiosity. I’m curious and I enjoy it.

The conflicts,  inner debates and more often than not, futile  discussions, are in constant motion, evolving, as I continue to learn.  Nothing is static, our thoughts and feelings are  always in flow. If we step back rather than resisting and fighting.   Strangely, what I often consider is very important to think about and understand, becomes pointless. What I consider pointless becomes, far more interesting.

Some days, I muse and curse internally for hours, wanting to understand and  feel clarity.  The next day, I don’t care, I’m in flow, I feel love, joy and a sense of awe,  with the insanity and nonsensical  beauty of life. YAY.

One would think, surely Alexia, you want basque in joy, every day? Yeah I do, I have strong addictive nature,  but I  have learnt to understand these desires, and accept my curiosity for learning and further wisdom. I realise my desire to learn,  has equal importance to the transitory joyful feelings.

I truly believe, one has to step into the richer soil of our consciousness, to really fully understand ourselves.

As a Therapist, I feel it is important for me, to keep a close eye on what going on behind the scenes of my consciousness, if I don’t, I will unconsciously contaminate the sacred space, between myself and the person I’m working alongside. In addition, as a Therapist, I see myself as a guide, to helping people understand their inner worlds. By keeping in touch and nurturing behind the scenes of my consciousness, I feel more in tune with the feelings people share.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. Goethe 

How can we really know and understand ourselves without venturing into our darker side?

Life has taught me, my darker side, is a protective friend, which when respected and understood, is a fruitful teacher.  If my little inner darker side is ignored, she will cause F**king chaos and has many times,  I’m writing a book about this.  Date to complete? err, give me another year, I may say that next year. I’m in no rush, its joyful, at times, said with gritted teeth.  Anyway, lets not go off topic.

I have ruminated over the years, regarding the term darker side, I’m not fully in tune with this term. I continue to use it, for simplicity.

Navigating our darker side, can be painful to begin with, however during the pain, moments of insight, clarity and understanding emerge, which Goethe called  pregnant points, moments when something just makes sense. These small moments are golden, and when recognised and valued, they  come more frequently.  (Key point, look out for them)

Pain passes, something which was disastrous can change our life in a profoundly beneficial way, so what might be painful now will transform with time.  Pain can be your greatest teacher, my ignorance to the call of my soul  in the past, led to a great deal of pain.

My favourite quote is “Continually trying to look on the bright side interferes with our finding the wisdom that lies in the fruitful darkness. Continually striving upward toward the light means we never grow downward into our own feet, never become firmly rooted on the earth, never explore the darkness within and around us, a darkness without whose existence the light would have no meaning.” Stephen Harrod Buhner

What is my advice for embracing inner conflict?  

  • It will pass and although it might be distressing. Remain, mindful,  clarity and resolution, will follow if you do not resist this inner debates.
  • I would strongly suggest writing down the arguments. What is the positive purpose of the conflict? This is really helpful
  • You can just say, f*ck it and let it go.
  • Be the observer of the thoughts, arguments and feelings. You are not your thoughts. They are just thoughts and feelings pass.
  • Focus on the solution, this a useful way to direct the inner debates towards inner unity.  Simply keep saying, what do I want? How can I resolve this?

I feel it is important to  challenge my beliefs, thoughts and assumptions about myself and the outside world. Clients, often unknowingly challenge my beliefs which I welcome. I’m self aware and practice what I preach. I do not see myself as a guru, or an expert on living, I see myself  more like  a seasoned navigator of difficult inner terrains.

A few year ago I climbed Kilimanjaro, I was led by a man, who had walked every path of this mountain many times. I’m not an experienced mountaineer, it was wise  a decision to walk the path with this chap.  I developed AMS (acute mountain sickness) and was taken care of by people, who knew what was required for me to heal.

How different my experience may have been, without walking the path with an experienced and wise soul.

With that I would  like to express my sincere gratitude, to all those who have shared with me over the years. I feel truly honoured.

Why not? Be gentle with yourself .
Alexia   X

www.alexiaelliott.co.uk 

Hypnotherapist in Leicester

Alexia Elliott

I’m available on Skype, or come and see me,  in my office in Leicester.

Free consultations available to all new clients.

I am a hypnotising, Hypnotist,  using Hypnosis. 🙂

Tel 07966412209