One of the most devastating problems people have is so common that nearly everybody views it as “human nature.” Few people even try to get rid of this ever-present problem because they assume it’s part of the “human condition.”

The words What Are They Saying About You? on a website screen to ask about your online Internet reputation, tracking the perceptions other have of your expertise and experience

What is this ubiquitous problem?

Constantly worrying about what others think and frequently doing things just to get people’s approval.

How you know if you
have the problem

How do you know if you are one of the tens of millions of people who have this problem?

Do you often walk away from people thinking, “Did I say the right thing?” “Did I offend someone?” “Should I have said or asked …?”

Do you frequently hear that “little voice” in your head saying: “What will they think?”

Do you often feel you need to be a certain way to be accepted and you can’t just be yourself?

Although these thoughts and behaviors seem to be an inherent part of who we are, in fact, however, you can eradicate these thoughts and behaviors forever.

How? By eliminating the beliefs that cause them. Although this problem can be caused by different beliefs in different people, there is one specific belief that anyone with this problem almost certainly has: What makes me good enough is having people think well of me.

How this belief is formed and why it is so common

Today, I’m going to tell you how this belief is formed, why so many people have it (maybe even you) and how getting rid of this belief will transform your life.

Early in life many of us form negative beliefs about ourselves like I’m not good enough.  (Almost every one of the 14,000 clients we’ve had from almost 252 countries around the world has had this belief.) Because most parents expect children to do things that are unrealistic for their age (such as be neat, quiet, and come when called at the age of three or four), and because most parents get frustrated, annoyed or angry when their children don’t do what they’re told, most children conclude “there must be something wrong with me” when mom and dad are upset with me so often, or I’m not good enough.

Because our beliefs about ourselves are usually formed during the first six years of life, most of us already have this belief when we leave our homes and go out into the world of teachers, other kids, school, etc. Obviously a belief like this would make us think as we start school: “How can I interact with other people effectively and how will I make it in the world if I’m not good enough?”

And those thoughts, in turn, would lead to us feeling “not okay” about ourselves and anxious to some extent.

The belief gets formed

And then one day a solution appears. We do something that our parents (or perhaps a teacher or coach) like and they give us a very positive response. How does that make us feel? Happy and very good about ourselves.

The first few times this happens we have an occurring: The way to feel good enough about myself is to have others think well of me. And then after this progression of events is repeated a few times and we have isolated occurrings each time, we form a generalized belief: If I didn’t feel good about myself, and then after getting praise and/or positive attention I do feel good about myself, what that means is: “What makes me good enough or important is having people think well of me.”

Survival strategy beliefs

This is a very special type of belief. It is a belief that tells us what needs to happen in order to experience being okay. And when it doesn’t happen we don’t feel very good about ourselves.

Well, if we don’t experience being good enough the way we are and we need something outside ourselves to become good enough, how often would we want that outside something to occur? All the time! Anytime anyone doesn’t like us, rejects us, or thinks poorly of us, or doesn’t include us, we have failed at our “survival strategy”—our method for making us feel good about ourselves. At that point the underlying belief: I’m not good enough, is uncovered and stares us in the face, leaving us feeling not good enough and producing some level of anxiety.

As a result, the need to have others think well of us is experienced like a drug addiction by many people. When they achieve it they feel good for the moment, but it’s only a matter of time before they need another “fix.” At that point they become obsessed about getting it.

There are other “survival strategy” beliefs, such as What makes me good enough is doing things perfectly; what makes me good enough is being successful/wealthy (can you see now see why some people are obsessed with this?); and what makes me good enough is taking care of others. And it’s possible to have more than one. But based on our experience in our private practice, “having people think well of me” is the most common survival strategy belief.

It now should be clear why so many people are obsessed about what others think about them: Most people have the belief I’m not good enough (or some variation of it) and “having people think well of me” is the remedy most of us have found to cover up the anxiety that stems from having that belief.

Get rid of the beliefs to get rid of the obsession

If the obsession about having people think well of us is a direct result of having several beliefs, the way to get rid of the obsession is to get rid of these beliefs. You can eliminate I’m not good enough using our free interactive web program at You also can buy a program that will enable you to eliminate, What makes me good enough is having people think well of me, as well as a number of other crippling beliefs. See our Natural Confidence program at

Are you worried about what other think? Do you now understand why? Can you now understand why this is such a common phenomenon—but it still is not human nature? Please share your experience.

Thanks for reading my blog. Please share your thoughts about most people’s need to have others think well of them and how it is not human nature.

Disagreement is as welcome as agreement. Your comments add value for thousands of readers. I love to read them all and I will respond to as many as I can.

If you want others to improve their lives as you have with the information on my posts, please share this blog post with them by using the buttons located below.

If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to our interactive online belief-unlearning program where you can unlearn several limiting beliefs free.

You also can find out about Natural Confidence, an interactive digital program that enables you to unlearn 19 of the most common beliefs, which cause some of the most common behavioral and emotional problems that plague us.

Copyright © 2015 Morty Lefkoe


  1. Pre written Essays August 24, 2015 at 3:24 am - Reply

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  2. Academic Writing Company July 5, 2015 at 10:27 pm - Reply

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  3. Education Help July 3, 2015 at 8:06 pm - Reply

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  4. Isaac June 17, 2015 at 6:54 am - Reply

    This is an important piece of writting. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good job.

  5. Rajeev June 12, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

    its been almost a month since your last blog, I hope everything is well with you.

  6. Karthik May 25, 2015 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Hi Morty,

    I have a sense that I don’t have this belief “What makes me good enough or important is having people think well of me.” and yet I care about what people think…have you come across some others beliefs or reason among your clients that cause the effect.

  7. Attila Beres May 17, 2015 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Morty,

    You are telling us in this article that a survival strategy belief is “…a belief that tells us what needs to happen in order to experience BEING OKAY (caps mine).” This is a general description (being okay) that doesn`t narrow down the meaning of a “survival strategy belief” to the context of this article i.e. “worrying about what others think”.

    The feeling of “Being okay” is a result of having our basic human needs met. Regardless of the system of needs we use, these are generally the needs for safety; for physiological/neurological homeostasis (by finding a balance between certainty/passivity and stimulation); for belonging or connection; for esteem; and for self-actualization (growth, contribution, meaning, self-transcendence).

    Science has proven that humans are able to form thoughts only as a result of their culture enabling them to do so. Because they are born into a culture they are able to form thoughts, categorize things and find ways of uniquely expressing themselves along these learned pathways, they always create rules for themselves how they can meet their own needs; rules that are often limiting but that become part of their identities. And because of this, these rules can be very difficult to notice and to change. Not experiencing “being okay” – your definition of a survival strategy belief – is the result of having certain rules about meeting our needs that are not serving us in a specific situation. “Being okay” is not limited to getting others to like us, accept us or to think well of us or to include us. These are mainly related to our need for belonging and somewhat to our esteem and safety needs, the latter coming from receiving protection from our group/tribe. In order to feel being okay we also need to meet our physical needs and self-actualization needs.

    But then you follow up shortly afterwards with this: “Anytime anyone doesn’t like us, rejects us, or thinks poorly of us, or doesn’t include us, we have failed at our “survival strategy”—our method of making us feel good about ourselves.”
    However “being okay” and “feeling good about ourselves” are not the same. To feel being okay when I am fatally dehydrated, it`ll suffice to receive enough hydration – to meet my physiological need -, which will not affect at all how good I feel about myself (as a person) or in other words how good I think I am.

    There are unique differences in which human need each person tends to consider more important. For example, men tend to give more importance to the need for esteem (independence, being special or important) than to the need for love and belonging, which women tend to favour more. In the light of this understanding it is useful to look at what kind of people constitute your client base when making a comment you made here: “based on our experience in our private practice, “having people think well of me” is the most common survival strategy belief”.
    Though in our age men are becoming more feminine and women more masculine, and because of broken families men are often lacking the fraternal support to step into their own masculine power and dare to be independent, I`d still imagine that more of your clients are female than male. If it was the other way around, beliefs like “what makes me important/successful is…” would be the most common ones in your client base.

    I certainly don`t think that the need for acceptance in its almost pathological form that we without exception all have experienced, is part of our human nature. However, to quote you again, Morty: “Anytime anyone doesn’t like us, rejects us, or thinks poorly of us, or doesn’t include us, we have failed at our “survival strategy”. And a survival strategy indeed it is, one that has been an integral part of human nature for as long as our species has existed. Tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago when we were as close to our true evolutionary nature as possible, we were dependent on our tribe for our survival. Being expelled from our communities – being rejected, other members thinking poorly of us, not including us etc. – meant certain death so in order to survive this behaviour became part of our blueprint from the very beginning of our history as tribal creatures. Today we aren`t dependent on being part of a tribe, in fact everyone is a “one-man-tribe” on their own with the population of the planet moving towards joining as one big tribe at the same time. Regardless of these changes in our environment that have been sudden in evolutionary terms, having others think well of us is still an integral part of human nature that, when used as a psychological tool, can still provide us fulfillment if we can adapt it into our modern times consciously and without making it part of our true spiritual identity.

  8. Almog May 14, 2015 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Hey Morty,

    After using the Natural Confidence program, I can identify with the freedom of getting rid of this belief. A big chunk of approval seeking goes away after eliminating this belief, and it is gone a hundred percent after getting rid of a few more beliefs and conditionings that some of them are in the program and some are not. I still remember asking myself: “But how is it possible NOT to worry about what others think?”. I also remember the experience of feeling totally carefree after eliminating all the beliefs that had me seeking approval, particularly this one. If there is one thing I owe you for, it is helping me get rid of this problem :-]

    Love, Almog.

  9. Katie May 13, 2015 at 4:16 am - Reply

    When I was young I had the same problem, making other peoples thought about me important. That changed the day I realised that it is not important what other people think about me because it doesn’t make a real difference in my life and only makes me perform in a way that didn’t seem to fit in with who I am. I realised it’s me who has to live this live and not other people, so right now I listen but I don’t really care of what other people think about me and my oppinion etc because I am unique and I live my life the way I feel fit. I care a lot about animals and friends but friends have their live and I have mine.

    • ali May 14, 2015 at 5:46 am - Reply

      like it

  10. Mark May 13, 2015 at 4:04 am - Reply

    I believe that almost everything can be traced back to self-esteem … if self-esteem is what we think about ourselves … and the answer is in any way negative. “I’m not good enough” is the umbrella term encompassing I’m not talented enough, pretty enough, intelligent enough, rich enough, funny enough and all the other “enoughs”. Then comes the remedy, which as Morty says, can be acquisition, status, popularity, or masking agents such as drugs and alcohol. If people knew they were good enough, there would be no need for remedy. However, this is not incompatible with striving to be better.

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