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When You Get Caught Up in What Everyone Else Thinks, Wants, Does

Allef Vinicius, Unsplash

Many of us rarely check in with ourselves. We rarely wonder what we really want. What nourishes us. What delights us. What hurts us. How we can respect ourselves. Which people are actually healthy for us to be around. What is the most compassionate, supportive decision. Or we may know these things but we don’t act on them.

One reason is that we get caught up.

We get caught up in what everyone else is doing and thinking. And we assume that we, too, must follow suit. I have to buy that, too! I need to be on that diet if she’s trying it. They think therapy is a waste of time and money. She doesn’t think anyone over a size small should wear a bikini. He’s adamant that I lose weight. They completely disagree. Maybe I do, too?

When we get caught up like this, we silence ourselves. I don’t mean asking others for feedback or advice or helpful insights. I’m referring to times when we ignore ourselves. When we let others’ perspectives override our own.

When we get caught up like this, what can help is to refocus. To ask ourselves: OK, but what do I want? What works for me? 

Here are other questions you can ask to check in with yourself, your needs, your desires, your intentions, your heart:

  • What do I need the most right now?
  • What is most important to me in this situation?
  • Am I ignoring my own opinion but prioritizing others’ wants and needs and beliefs?
  • Am I ignoring my concerns? My emotions? My values?
  • What are my values?
  • What matters most to me in this world ?
  • What am I telling myself about the situation? About today? About this moment? About myself?
  • What am I trying to avoid? Why?
  • Am I trying to avoid making a decision? Why?
  • What am I aching for?
  • Am I letting fear drive my decision? Is my fear warranted?
  • Where do I feel stuck?
  • How can I be gentle with myself right now?
  • Am I trying to prove my worth by staying silent? By following what others want or think?
  • Why do I let others dictate my decisions?
  • What am I afraid of?
  • Why can’t I trust myself?
  • How might I start trusting myself?

Asking ourselves questions such as those above may reveal important answers. It may lead to a new and deeper understanding or perspective. It puts us back in the driver’s seat.

As I say often, asking ourselves all sorts of questions means we are listening to ourselves. We’re acknowledging that our thoughts and feelings matter. Because they do. And in asking questions, in taking the time to listen to the answers, we are building self-trust. We are caring for ourselves in a powerful way.

Photo by Allef Vinicius.
When You Get Caught Up in What Everyone Else Thinks, Wants, Does

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2016). When You Get Caught Up in What Everyone Else Thinks, Wants, Does. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 21, 2019, from


Last updated: 12 Sep 2016
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