Something that I've been very personally affected by in my life is caring what others think about me. I have a tendency for overvaluing the way others will perceive the decisions I make, or things I choose to do, and it often leads to me doing what I feel like I should do and not what I authentically want to do. Rooted in it is a fear of rejection, a fear of failure, and a fear of disappointing others. For me, I think this comes from growing up in really competitive environments and finding self-worth in my external accomplishments rather than my internal progress.
I know I’m not alone in this, which is why I’m sharing about it. As social animals, it’s literally within our evolutionary history to consider the perspective of others. Those who did were more likely to survive because it enabled for more collaborative and mutually beneficial environments. This need to care what others think about you, it’s biological at its core, and there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re affected by it.
The difficult part is we live in a society that has hijacked that part of our brain and created value structures and mechanisms that amplify it, generating a desire for approval that really pulls at you. But let me end by saying this - You don’t need anyone’s permission to do anything in your life. You are independent, you have full agency, and you are at your best when you’re following your heart.