09/12/2014 03:28 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Is FOWOT Controlling Your Life?

FOWOT. It's insidious and affects a huge number of people. It undermines many behaviors and can limit our growth and development.

What is it? Fear of what others think!

How many times have you felt silly, humiliated, shamed, embarrassed or shy? Have you ever wondered what causes those feelings? Ever really delved into their source? I hate to burst any bubbles out there, but no one else is thinking about you. They are too busy worrying about what you are thinking of them.

As toddlers, we believe everything revolves around us -- everything. But as we grow and mature we are supposed to let go of the egocentricity and appreciate that everyone we meet has their own stuff happening and agendas and they really don't think about us all the time. Or any of the time usually!

Sadly -- for many of us, our parents breed humiliation into us as they tell us to grow up or stop being silly or point out what we have done! They don't do it on purpose but those little reminders along with our parents own FOWOT, mean as teenagers we are convinced that the entire universe -- not just people -- is focused on our every move.

If not our parents then school and our interactions with other children can influence us as they make fun of us or exclude us. Being picked on, shunned, mocked or separated out can leave lasting fears.


So now is your time to break the FOWOT cycle! The more you live your life based on the fear of what others think, the more likely you are to a) limit your life dramatically and never find real joy and b) to be judgmental yourself. I don't know how my Mum did it but she brought up three children who never worried about what other people thought. We lived with eccentricity and I guess we thought that was normal. Of course, she taught us all the moral values we needed to make sure our behaviors were appropriate but she never embedded the fear of what others thought -- largely because she was not a judgmental woman. The more judgmental we are, the more likely we are to feel others are judging us and therefore be ruled more by FOWOT.

Identify the original source of your FOWOT if it is an issue for you. Then notice when you are feeling uncomfortable and check to see if that fear is lurking in your subconscious and catch it out! Shine a light on it and then laugh -- and remind yourself -- no one else is thinking about you!

So go ahead and allow your joy to shine out!


Amanda Gore is an author, award-winning motivational speaker and joy facilitator. Her philosophy is that Joy is an Inside Job. Finding joy is the secret to more productive, creative, successful and happy humans -- at work and home. Amanda is also the director of The Joy Project.

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