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Is fear of people’s opinions (FOPO) limiting your life?

Relationships are important and what others think about us can make an impact. However, living your life in fear of what others think is unhealthy and limiting. FOPO or the fear of people’s opinion has intensified since cancel culture has begun calling individuals out and shaming them. Seeing your life crumble before you or being judged unfairly is a real fear for many. Social disapproval is scary and painful even if you don’t know your attackers.

We can’t control others, yet the fear of what others think has become an irrational, unproductive obsession. This fear censors what could be productive conversation. It limits our ability to be creative and have difficult discussions. To move forward and progress as a society, we must have room to make mistakes and learn from them without being branded for life. Taking action to conquer social pressure will help you live a life that is meaningful, free from the burden of constantly pleasing others. Below are four suggestions that will help.

  1. Remember that a life of purpose is not a perfect life. We all make mistakes and, hopefully, we learn from them. Treat yourself with kindness and forgiveness. Compassion for others begins with compassion for yourself.

  2. Stop trying to control what others think of you and focus on your inner dialogue. What you think and say to yourself has a much bigger impact of living a life of purpose than what others think of you. Remind yourself of your goals and purpose in life and encourage yourself when you mess up.

  3. Speak up and protect yourself. Setting healthy boundaries demonstrates self-respect. It is a clear sign to others that you live your life with intention and purpose rather than to appease them. When we respect ourselves, we model how others should treat us. Showing respect and compassion to ourselves and others is a sign of emotional maturity and integrity.

  4. Free yourself from pleasing others. People may not like your authentic self when you no longer tolerate disrespect or live to please them. However, this helps them grow up. When you take responsibility for living your life, it will help others see themselves more clearly.

Part of being an adult is defining your purpose in life and creating a life you find meaningful. When you begin to feel that every action you do has a potential of offending or not pleasing someone, you begin covering up your mistakes instead of embracing them. Letting go of what others think, taking responsibility for our actions, and being honest when we make mistakes is the key to growth. Mentoring compassion, forgiveness, and extending grace to ourselves and others is something we need to practice every day.


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