Most people are only thinking about themselves. It’s a simple concept, however, one that’s hard for a lot of people to grasp. If you can train your mind to realize that most people are too self-absorbed to care about your actions you will sleep better at night. There are two types of people in this world: those that are sad over people not thinking about them and those that rejoice. Be the one that’s happy that no one cares about them. The truth is no matter how much you stress yourself over the thought that others are judging you research says they’re not.
Research Shows Most People Only Think About Themselves
Harvard researchers Tamir and Mitchell found in 2013 that most people engage in a cognitive bias called “anchoring“. This is considered a type of bias where you invoke your own experiences to infer the experiences of another person. This is important because it plants a false reality of what many people believe others are thinking about them.
For example, you absolutely HATE public speaking and someone begins going into detail about a conference they spoke at the past week. While this person loves public speaking, you immediately plant yourself into that situation and assume it is a negative. In short you’ve taken a story about someone else and made it about yourself.
Why is this important? Because overwhelming research has shown that for the most part when we’re feeling judged, we’re actually judging ourselves. In this example of public speaking your brain took a situation about someone else and made it about yourself. This 2018 study is pretty much summed up by proposing that most people don’t care about you because their brains are too busy caring about themselves. This is especially important when you get to college. You might be spending your nights sleeping on your twin xl dorm mattress topper worrying about what people think about you and your image.
When you come to realize that no one is thinking about or judging your life you can relieve yourself of a lot of unneeded stress. So when should you be concerned that you are overthinking situations where others might be judging you? Here are some clues:
- You feel you need approval from others to feel good about yourself.
- You think about everything you’ve said after the fact.
- Before you do anything you play out the different scenarios that can occur.
- You don’t speak what you really think so that the other person might agree.
- You are always wondering how others will react.
If you feel like one or more of the above situations might apply to you then chances are you’re caring a little too much about what others think. To resolve this problem simply just remember that “they really aren’t obsessing over me the way I assume they are” and carry on with what makes you happy. Be yourself, not what others want you to be.
We Can’t Read Minds
Superpowers are fun to think about, however, they are unfortunately fictional. As much as we want to believe that we have the ability to read minds the fact is we will never be able to do it. Even more importantly in most cases even if we could, we would misinterpret their thoughts anyways.
So when you find your mind wandering into a situation where you’re trying to guess what other people are thinking just repeat this:
I’m not a mind reader. That superpower doesn’t exist. Stop thinking about it.
In other words, cut the thought of thinking about other people’s thoughts off at its roots. Before thoughts of other people’s judgement have a chance to grow and take roots in your mind just kill it right then and there. When you realize you’re starting to go down that path of overthinking just stop and repeat the above to yourself. Life is a lot easier when you’re not pretending to have mind-reading superpowers.
The Benefits Of Realizing No One Is Thinking About You
Once you come to the realization that most people are only thinking about themselves life becomes so much easier. You can:
- Tell your GOT friends who thought the series ended perfectly how you truly feel about Game of Thrones Season 8.
- State your true feelings about presidential candidates over dinner.
- Wear whatever outfit you want and believe it looks great.
- Go to the gym with pride and ignore all the buff bros and gals.
- Improve your self image in the way that you see most fitting.
Really you can just be yourself without having to stress over what others are thinking. So that’s the gist of it . . .
NO ONE IS THINKING ABOUT YOU . . . and that’s perfectly fine.
Here’s a great TEDx Talk by Albert Hobohm where he goes into detail about how to stop thoughts from controlling your life.