Why do we care so much about other people’s opinions, even those of total strangers?
Why do we do things, or not do things, because of how we expect others to react?
No matter the “why” the truth is, at some point, we base our actions and decisions on how we anticipate other people will perceive us. As a result, we don’t always do the things we want to do, because we’re afraid of what others will think.
I’ll kick this off with a disclaimer. It’s beneficial to have opinions from a few people you can trust to tell you if you’re doing something bat-crap crazy, or to encourage you to take a risk. But what about other people’s opinions? What about those who spew hate and venom your direction for no reason? Or what about people you go to school with, work with, or otherwise have to tolerate because you encounter them frequently?
For a good chunk of my life, I valued the opinions of others too much. I wasn’t the most confident kids, I was laughed at for having a long nose, taller than most kids if not all, and carried more weight than normal. This really affected me and Unfortunately, I allowed a lot of opportunities to pass me by, simply because I cared too much about what other people would think or say. I would often not be true to myself, or do the things that would make me happy, out of fear of how other people might react.
Perhaps you can relate: when is the last time you didn’t do what you wanted because you cared more about what other people would think?
Probably more frequently than you like to admit.
Now more than ever, thanks to the internet and social media, people have no problem being jerks and letting their opinions fly. The pool of negativity has grown larger, and deeper.
It’s time to stop caring about what other people think …
7 Practical Ways to Not Care What Other People Think.
- The negative comment someone makes is about them, and not you.
You shouldn’t get upset, and certainly shouldn’t take their unwelcome opinion to heart. Only take pity on whoever is choosing to spend their limited time on this earth flinging bile toward people they don’t even know. It’s unfortunate that some people have nothing better to do than try to tear others down.
- Be true to yourself.
Never underestimate the beautiful power and freedom that washes over you when you commit to being true to yourself.
- This is your one life. There are no do-overs.
Take responsibility for your own life, be kind to yourself. When you can put things into perspective and realize that we only get one life, it makes it easier to stop caring so much about what other people think and be true to yourself.
- Think, really think, about the absolute worst case scenario.
What intimidates you? What’s holding you back from doing the things you want to do? Ask yourself this question: What is the absolute worst thing that will happen if you do [insert whatever it is you want to do]?
What is the worst thing that will happen if we don’t do the things that make us happy because we’re concerned with what other people will say/think?
In short: we won’t do the things that make us happy, and we won’t live life to the fullest. How sad is that? The next time you’re hesitant to do something or take a risk because you’re afraid of what other people will think, stop and ask yourself,
“What’s the worst case scenario if I do this?” More than likely it’s not that bad. And I can almost guarantee you’ll be worse off if you do/don’t do things because you’re more concerned with what others will think.
“I’d rather look back on life and say ‘I can’t believe I did that’ than ‘I wish I did that’.”
- Remove sources of negativity, immediately.
Purge your life of negative, toxic people and resources. If your co-workers have a knack for starting drama, avoid them. If your circle of friends has a tendency to tear you down, then separate yourself and look elsewhere.
If you have a public life on the internet or have trouble with cyber bullying and can’t (yet) laugh off the terrible comments people say about you, for the love of everything stop reading the comments or remove yourself from the situation! You can’t stop people from being hateful, but you can choose to ignore them and do something meaningful with your time instead. Instead of revelling over comments, keep doing the work that makes you happy. Continue following your passion. Choose to make positive, productive, fulfilling decisions with your time.
- Trust a few opinions, but forget the rest.
There’s freedom in being true to yourself and not caring about what other people think. However, it is important to trust a select few to share their opinions with you, or people you can go to when you need to talk. Have a few close people you can confide in; people who you know have your best interest at heart.
- Some people are going to dislike you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Don’t waste your time trying to get everyone to like you, because it’s impossible.
Instead of worrying about who doesn’t like you, focus on being a better person for those who do. Spend your time and energy living an awesome life and using your talents, gifts, and abilities to make the world and people around you better.
Let other people like you not because of who you’re trying to be, but because of who you genuinely are. Or, as I like to say … I’d rather be hated for who I truly am than loved for something I’m pretending to be.
Apply those seven tips and you’ll be on your way to not caring what other people think and living a more awesome life.
Ready, Aim, Don’t Care What They Think
Are the tips above easier said than done? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Just like anything else in life you want to master, it will require consistent practice. In the same way working out takes some time to achieve results, you’ll also have to consistently put the above tips to practice if you want to stop caring about what other people think and live the life you want.
Finally, please practice this with other people too. If you find yourself judging or gossiping about others, please stop. Let’s focus instead on becoming the best versions of ourselves and encourage others to do the same, even if it’s a different way than us.
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