You’ve Heard This Before
A great deal has been written about this subject and that is exactly the reason I write about it now. The reason so many people have written about the subject is dead simple, virtually everyone is affected by it. How much we care about what others think, affects us in many ways. In this post, I want to show you how your life will improve if you care less about other people’s opinion.
Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth (Katherine Mansfield: A Darker View)
Our Social Nature
As you very well know, it isn’t always easy to not care what people think about you. The irony is that our interaction with other people has the side effect that we do care what they think. However, I will do my utmost best to convince you to try and care less about other people’s opinions, especially their opinions about you.
Let’s Be Honest
I was always told that it is important to forgive and look at a person’s strengths instead of their flaws. While this is perfectly true (something I will discuss in an upcoming post), most of us are focused on people’s flaws, at least to some extent.
Don’t get me wrong, this is natural as it is a form of protection. If you know what a person’s shortcomings are, you know what to expect (and not expect) from that person. However, the opposite is also true and liberating: if you know a person’s strenghts, you get a peek at the beauty that’s inside that person, the beauty that all of us characterizes.
Why Should I Not Care?
Some People Never Change
This is quite simple, some people don’t change their opinion about others. No matter how hard you try to improve yourself, some people will never change their opinion about you, especially when those opinions are negative. You can only feel sorry for that person, because they cut themselves off from all the beauty you have to offer. You are a beautiful person full of potential, don’t forget that!
People Like To Remember The Negative Stuff
Like I said in the previous paragraph, some people are so focused on your flaws that it is difficult to convince them that you also have a lot of strengths and assets. Sometimes it seems that one flaw is equal to ten qualities. This means that you constantly have to work and improve yourself to make sure people notice those qualities.
People Are Afraid To Love
People focusing on negativity tend to be afraid to open up and expose themselves to the positive side of life. Let me put it differently, your flaws are their excuse to not having to like you. Liking someone means caring for someone and this requires energy. Sadly, some people are not willing to invest that energy in people and are missing out on a lot of beautiful things like friendship and compassion. Luckily, most of us do invest the time and energy it requires to build relationships, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.
People focusing on negativity often have a history of pain and suffering that made them focus on the negative side of life. Don’t judge them too hard. Even though it doesn’t justify their behavior, it is their way to protect themselves from more pain, more suffering.
Don’t Lose Yourself
This is the core message of this post, don’t lose yourself. The most destructive downside of caring too much what others think, is that you constantly strive to improve yourself. Uh, why is that a bad thing? I want to be a better person. … Right? .. No? Unfortunately, you’re missing one vital piece of the puzzle. You want to improve to become the person others want you to be. You do your best to fit in their schedule and their story.
This means you are actually doing the exact opposite of what you want to achieve. I have seen this so many times, kind and loving people doing everything they can to be liked by others and, along that path, they become more and more unhappy and sometimes end up being depressed and puzzled. The reason is that they turn into someone they don’t recognize anymore.
They alienate from themselves. They create two personalities, one for the outside world and one for themselves. The first one is fake and the second one is unhappy.
The message is clear, stop pretending. I don’t want to sound harsh, but it’s that simple. When new people come into my life, it takes me only a few minutes to figure out if they are pretending or if they accept themselves, not caring too much about other people’s opinion. The people not pretending glow with energy. You want to be in their vicinity to experience that honesty and love that surrounds them.
Care About Other People Is The Key
I have been rambling on about not caring about other people’s opinions for quite a while now, but I hope you see the positive message. There’s tons of love out there and the important people in your life want you. They love you because of your imperfections and not because you try to cover these imperfections up. They want you to be happy and feel great the way you are.
You probably know what I’m going to say now 😉 . It works both ways meaning that it is important we also accept the people around us as they are. This doesn’t mean you have to suffer from abuse or stand the bad temper of a friend or co-worker. It simply means that a relationship is much more fulfilling if it is based on respect and acceptance. Nobody is perfect. Not you. Not your friend.
It takes time and practice to care less about what other’s think. It won’t change overnight. With this post, I wanted to show you why it is important in the first place. Next week, I will give you a number of tips and excercises that will definitely help you get started. For now, love yourself and realize that you are worth loving. Nobody is perfect and accepting your own imperfections is an important lesson to learn in life.
Let me hear what you think. Do you care what others think about you and what impact does that have on your life?