It is a human desire to be liked, loved, respected and held in esteem. So, naturally because we are social beings we care what others think of us, how people see us is important to us, we don’t want to be judged or criticised. This means that we can act in ways to put up a front and it isn’t always healthy. We care about how we’re viewed so much that we tend to suffocate ourselves, and don’t live true to ourselves and it can have adverse effects on us. All that being said, there will always be exceptions.
In this week’s blog post, we’re going to be looking into how to stop caring about what other people think of us and start living better lives. Let’s gooo!
Why do we do things, or not do things, because of how we expect others to react?
In reality, there are many times when we act or react based on how we think others will think or say, we think to ourselves “what will they say if I do this?” Due to this question we often ask ourselves, we don’t end up doing or not doing what we want all because we’re afraid of what other people may think. Having this mentality isn’t completely bad or wrong, in fact it is useful when we’re thinking doing something crazy or risky.
The opinion of a trusted person or a professional can go a long way in helping you out, for example, if you want to drop out from university, it’s best to ask what will others think and then talk to someone about it before making your final decision.
The issue is that we also care about the opinion of others who aren’t all that important or don’t understand our situation, for example classmates and colleagues who are only acquaintances if anything at all. It’s even worse when we catch feelings or prevent ourselves from doing what you want because of haters.
There are times when the people’s supposed opinions you care about are your friends and family and that stops you from acting true to yourself, it isn’t always easy especially when they won’t understand so that shouldn’t stop you, I know it is easier said than done but it can still be done!
Many people don’t care nearly as much as we think they will, this is because we’re self-absorbed beings, we’ve got our own issues to deal so why should we care about you all that much? If you keep trying to live up to other people’s expectations, you’re gonna get tired eventually because you won’t be able to keep up and your true self will cry.
Many times we expect people to have a greater opinion over our choices than they do, this is probably we’re looking at ourselves through how we think they see us rather than how they actually see us and this can make up overly harsh on ourselves. Think about it, do people always notice when you get a new haircut, buy new shoes or wear new clothes if you don’t tell them?
Next time you find yourself being self-conscious or worried about what someone else may think of your choices, remember that you’re probably making a mountain out of a molehill. Don’t allow fear of the what-ifs prevent you from doing the things you want to do.
You should also keep it in mind that life is better when you live it on your terms and don’t necessarily concern yourself with how others perceive you. According to Nia Shanks, “There’s great freedom from doing what makes you happy; being authentically yourself. Whether this is something as simple as how you dress, the career path you choose, or anything else. When you’re true to yourself and don’t allow the assumed thoughts of others dictate your choices, life possibilities expand, and your joy increases.”
The people that should care about public opinion or perception are politicians and other public figures because it can help keep them accountable but even that should have its limits.
5 Tips to Help You Stop Caring What Others Think
1. Know Your Values
Knowing what’s important to you cannot be overemphasised, having values and principles we live by make us better people. There’s so much power in knowing who you are, what matters to you and what you want; they help you make decisions and other thinks. Once you have this strong sense of self, what others think of you stops being a concern or a priority. People will always think whatever because they lack 100% context, only you have 100% context of your life.
When you know your values, you'll start saying no to some things and you will put yourself first because others won’t. When people pressure you to for example, drink, go out or do them a favour you won’t feel the guilt of saying no or the need to say yes. It will also help you fend off distractions and help you stay focused on what’s important to you. When you start putting yourself first, you’ll lose people but at least you’ll gain a better quality of life.
2. You Only Live Once
When most people are about to die, most of their regrets aren’t materialistic, it’s about the opportunities they didn’t take or things they didn’t do because they cared about what others would think whether it’s their loved ones or random peoples. Ultimately, they wish they lived happier lives (see 06 Ways to Live a Happier Life).
As we live our lives, it’s important to remember we’ll die soon, it could be today, tomorrow or years from now but however long it may take, death is inevitable. When we are able to accept our fate of eventual death, it can liberate us, we will stop worrying and start living because YOLO, you only live once and nobody can live your life for you! We should strive to live with as little regrets as possible, take the opportunities when necessary, strive for self-improvement, etc.
3. Only Value Few Opinions
As much as there’s liberty in being yourself and not caring about what others think butttttt it doesn’t mean you should become unhinged and do whatever you like. Like I said before, you need people to check you when you’re about to do something risky, crazy or new.
In essence, it is important to value some people’s opinions. You should have people to confide in who have your best interests at heart, but you should take their advice with a grain of salt because some of it might be out of fear or complete context.
How many times would you let the unsolicited opinions of strangers get you down? Why should you feel bad when people you don’t give a fuck about tell you how much weight you’ve added or something else? Some people are going to dislike you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
4. Stop Trying to Make Everyone Like You
It is impossible for everyone to like you, you can’t be everyone’s piece of pie, and not everyone likes pie. Some people will always hate on you, not because of you but because of they are insecure (see How to Overcome Insecurity). Instead of caring about those who don’t like you and trying to convert them, focus on personal development for those who like you and who matter.
It helps to remember the same way you can’t make everyone like you, it’s the same way that no one can; Jesus was betrayed and crucified and he didn’t hurt nobody. You have to be your own friend, be compassionate to yourself and stop bending over backwards trying to please people because you’re only going to be taken for granted and left disappointed (see How to Deal with Disappointment).
As Nia Shanks advises, “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.”
There are people who will appreciate for who you are even if your friends and family don’t, they are called your tribe or community, they understand your situation and perhaps they can relate; so go find them! When you surround yourself with these people, you feel safe and well-nourished internally.
5. Stop Chasing Perfection
Many of us are under the impression that if we do things a certain way or if we become a certain way or become “perfect” that everyone will love, praise and respect us. This is a wild goose chase or like build castles in the sky, it’s all an illusion.
For example, if you follow dreams and become a success, your old friends or neighbours may say “you’ve changed” or “you’re proud” or “you think you’re the shit now, huh?” and your new friends will be happy for you. At the end of the day what becomes evident is you can’t be the same person if you want to be successful and change is just part of the process. There’s no point where you can be perfect enough for everyone to accept you, you will only be compromising.
Instead of chasing perfection, you should chase excellence, perfectionism is the enemy of excellence! If you wait for things to be perfect, you will never do anything, for example, the perfect time to do something doesn’t exist, you create the time to do it. Try to be excellent because you can attain that and so can others.
I make Instagram videos almost every day, I love doing it but I make a lot of mistakes, I get tongue twisted, I forget my lines etc. I do a lot of retakes but when I’m satisfied that I’ve said what I need to at the 1 minute mark I upload it. The videos are by no means perfect and I make mistakes but they get the job done and that’s what matters to me.
It’s important to keep this in mind, “Whenever you’re trying to get better at something, there will always be a “gap” at first. Meaning, you’re not as good as you’d like to be.”
Perfectionists are more vulnerable to feelings of shame and embarrassment. Especially, when they’re trying to be perfect in the public eye. People who chase excellence are not as susceptible to such vulnerability and honestly, perfectionism is just very stressful!
In conclusion, the opinions of others should be lord over your life because you’re going to keep suppressing yourself, as long as you’re not hurting nobody or doing something illegal, you should live true to self. It is usually refreshing to see people who really don't give a fuck in the right way! For more on this topic, you should read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson and follow Gary Vaynerchuk.
QOTD: “Every second you spend on other people’s opinion on what you’re doing is wasted on your ability to take that same time and use it to execute on your actions to win the debate in the end.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
WELL, THAT’S IT FROM ME GUYS. NOW…
When was the last time you didn’t do what you wanted because you cared more about what other people would think? Or when last time you didn’t care and did what you wanted? Comment below. Help me and others by Sharing this on social media, SUBSCRIBE to my blog for awesome weekly content and to get my free e-books. Follow me onInstagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. See ya next Monday!
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My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!