How to stop caring so much about what other people think

Leave a Comment / Uncategorized / By Christopher Tausala

 Admit it–you care a lot about what other people think. 

Don’t worry, it’s natural. We’re hardwired to crave acceptance and social approval–it’s in our DNA, after all. 

That’s why disapproval stings and rejection hurts so much. It’s also why we get lonely. But let’s face it–we’re all guilty of spending too much time obsessing over how other people perceive us instead of simply living our best lives. 

What would my colleagues say if I turned up to work dressed like this?

No one can ever know I listen to this band. What would they think of me?

What does doing this/watching this/thinking this say about me?

Let’s be honest. We all think along these lines every single day, and it needs to stop because it’s ruining our lives. That’s why you’re reading this post, after all–you know you obsess over what people think, and you’re sick of it. You’re out of f*cks to give.

But I’ve got great news for you.

You can stop giving a damn about what people think about you right now. How is this possible, you’re probably wondering. Don’t worry. It’s really very simple. 

No one really cares about what your up to anyway 

There’s not a single person out there who cares about the intricacies of your daily life the way you think they do. That’s the problem with the ego–we all have it, and we all think we’re special enough to occupy someone’s every waking thought. Truth is, that’s just not possible. 

Everyone’s more interested in what’s going on in their own lives than in anyone else’s. 

We all see the world, and everything in it, from our own unique perspective. That means we spend a lot of time obsessing over what’s important to us, what’s normal for us, and, of course, if anyone’s judging us. Do you see the problem here? 

We’re all thinking the same thoughts. When you’re worrying about what other people think about you, that same person is worrying over what you think of them. The reality, then, is that they’re probably not thinking about you at all. Crazy, isn’t it? 

Even crazier is this cool fact–we each have at least 50,000 individual thoughts a day. That is a lot of thinking. Over half of these thoughts are negative, and many of them are repetitions of the thoughts we had the day before. Our brains like routine, apparently–even unhealthy ones.

What does this mean, then?

  • People think many negative thoughts about themselves, so they’re too busy worrying about their own lives to judge yours; and 
  • People think the same things over and over again, whether it’s about their problems or their passions, so that one fleeting thought they had about you doesn’t stick around very long.

Unless you affect someone in a significant way, or you do something which directly affects their lives, those one or two judgmental thoughts they might have go right out the window. Worrying about how anyone else sees you is a complete waste of time–and only adds to your negative thought cycle. 

Maybe you’re not convinced yet. That’s okay. Here are some examples which might make matters clearer. 

Going on a date

You’re in a restaurant and you’re worrying about [insert negative thought of your choice here]. The menu is a minefield, and all can you think is, do I have spinach in my teeth?

Guess what–you’re date’s thinking all of these thoughts, too. Even if a sly slither of lettuce gets stuck in those teeth, you’re date will just be glad it didn’t happen to them (see how we turn everything back to ourselves?)

Using the gym

You look around at all these people who seem like they were born knowing how to lift weights or sprint on the treadmill. Your thoughts go something like this:

I’m going to look so stupid trying this. Best I don’t bother. 

I’ve been staring at these instructions for two whole minutes and I still can’t turn this thing on. Everyone must be judging me now. 

What if I do something wrong and it’s loud and everyone turns around and notices?

I’m exhausted just typing these thoughts. Because guess what? Everyone’s too busy thinking the exact same thoughts. Maybe we should all just, I don’t know…stop self-obsessing and help each other or something. 

You won’t get any thanks for it

As you can see, obsessing over how other people perceive you is the definition of time-wasting. Even if someone does judge you, the thought isn’t even significant to them, let alone you. That brings us to our next point.

No one asked you to care what they think of you, so they won’t thank you for living your life like this. 

Sure, your parents, significant other and close friends might hope you weigh their opinions against your own. Your boss probably wants you to remember how they’d feel if you turned in work late and had a party in the conference room. But in reality:

  • No one’s sitting there expecting you to live your life based on how they see you;
  • No one’s on the subway thinking wow, I’m so glad everyone based their fashion choices on how I feel about life at 6am on a Monday morning;
  • No one’s going to come up to you and say, Thanks for making all your decisions today based on how I, an anonymous person in the street, feel about it!

We think you get the picture. 

Just in case, let’s put it this way–if no one thinks about your daily life choices very much, and no one asks you to dictate your life around their approval, then why do you give a f*ck what they think?

No, we don’t know, either. 

Stop trying to please everyone

We touched on this one above, but it’s worth repeating–even if you’ll always care, to a degree, what certain people think about you, you can’t please everyone. It’s just not possible. 

There are over 7.6 billion people on this planet right now. Every single one of them has their own unique opinions, beliefs, and contributions to make to this world. No one is the exact same. 

For everyone who approves of you and your life choices, many people don’t. This is the same no matter how perfectly you try to lead your life and how conscious you are of everyone else’s thoughts and feelings. 

Although we could all please everyone in an ideal world, it’s simply not reality. Giving a f*ck what people think means spending your whole life knowing that somewhere out there is someone who would judge you. That’s exhausting, and it’s no way to function healthily. Stop trying to please everyone. 

Worst case scenario–someone judges you and decides, based on one random thought they have about you, that they wouldn’t want to be your friend or they don’t have anything in common with you. 

We’re pretty sure that with over 7.6 billion people on the planet that this one person isn’t much of a loss. Instead, focus on surrounding yourself with people who respect you for owning yourself and living by your own game plan.

People-pleasers are actually less appealing to most people

Ah, one of the great ironies in life. The more you try to please everyone, the less people like or respect you. 

When all you do is accommodate other people’s thoughts and feelings, everyone else just sees you as a pushover. A doormat. While we say you shouldn’t give a f*ck what people think, having everyone see you as a soft touch is an exception because:

  • If you’re a people-pleaser, everyone sees you that way and views you negatively because of it;
  • You attract people who will abuse this quality, which will only dampen your self-esteem and autonomy more; and
  • You attract other pushovers, which creates very difficult relationship dynamics.

People-pleasing will make you lose sight of what you want and how important your opinions and thoughts are. Don’t do this. As we’ve said before, no one will thank you for it, anyway. 

To recap: you shouldn’t give a f*ck what people think because it’s a waste of time. You can’t please everyone, and no one respects you for trying. Embrace the fact that no one has the 

amount of f*cks to give that you think they do

Now we’ve covered the reasons why worrying about what people think is toxic, how do you take back control and stop giving so many f*cks?

Work out who you are

This sounds obvious, but how many of us take the time to connect with ourselves and find out who we really are? An effective way to stop giving a f*ck what other people think is to understand yourself and be passionate about what you believe in. You should know:

  • What matters to you most in life. Are you driven by money, freedom, family, or fighting for causes you believe in? Ask yourself a question–what would I do for the rest of my life if money wasn’t an issue? A simple question like this provides illuminating answers.
  • Who matters to you the most. Most of us only have a small number of friends and family we consider ourselves “close” to. Who are they, and what do they stand for? Surrounding yourself with people who have similar values to your own will make you happier in the long run. Why? Not just because they’re more likely to approve of you–instead, it’s because you have intrinsic beliefs in common. 
  • What you want to achieve in life. Maybe you want to raise a family, travel the world, make a difference, get famous or simply be happy inside. It doesn’t matter what your life goal is–what matters is that you own it. Once you love who you are and what you want, you automatically run out of f*cks to give about what other people think. 

Make positive changes

Make changes to your life which align with the goals you’ve discovered above. Remember–your happiness is just as important as anyone else’s, and you should own what makes you unique. 

What happens when you embrace “you”? You attract positive influences and people who respect you. Self-assured, confident people are naturally appealing to others, and you’ll find that more of the right opportunities and contacts come your way. 

Dump negative influences

Those friends you’re always worrying about impressing, that person who takes you for granted, the clique who make you feel embarrassed about what inspires you–get rid of them. Now. Don’t wait. Once you stop thinking about fitting in with whatever they want, you’ll become a happier version of yourself. 

Freeing yourself from toxic influences frees up more f*cks for you to give about what matters to you. Sounds like it’s worth a shot. 

Find others who don’t care about what others think

Whether you know them in real life or you simply follow them on social media accounts, surround yourself with people who reinforce how important it is to not give a f*ck about what people think. Life gets tough sometimes, and it’s easy to forget what matters to you. Filling your news feed with positive energy, socializing with other self-assured people and reading uplifting books will help you stay on track. 

Try something new

When you’re embracing your new zero-f*cks-given lifestyle, you don’t just need a new attitude–you need to try new things. Trying new things is shown to:

  • Boost morale and self-confidence;
  • Expand your horizons;
  • Improve your social network; 
  • Improve your overall satisfaction with life; and
  • Teach you more about yourself than staying in your comfort zone ever will.

Whether you start small or go large, do something daring today. Wear that bright, bold shirt you love but haven’t had the courage to wear yet. Book tickets to see that band you don’t normally admit to listening to. Start a blog and share your views. Ask that cute commuter who you see every day out to lunch. 

Maybe you’ll be acting “out of character”, but that’s only if you’ve been portraying a certain identity to the outside world which isn’t the real you. Acting out of character can also be a good thing–it will reveal sides of you that you never knew existed.

What’s the worst that can happen, anyway? We think you already know the answer to that. 

Bucket lists should be a priority

Think of all the different things you want to try and all the places you want to go. Instead of just dreaming about them, write them all down somewhere and create a plan of action. Maybe you can’t afford to travel the world right now, but what can you do instead? Writing things down will help you see what matters to you and give you something to focus on. 

And when someone asks you what kind of things you’re hoping to do over the next few years? Answer them honestly. If you’ve got a quirky hobby, a lifelong passion for something less common or you’re desperate to act “out of character”, own it. 

Most people secretly wish they didn’t care so much about what other people think. They wish they could be more like you–a strong, self-assured individual who’s all out of f*cks to give. Because life’s too short to waste it worrying about what that guy on the subway thinks of your bright orange shoes. 

Travel somewhere on your own

If there’s one sure way to kick you out of your comfort zone and stop giving a damn about what people think, it’s traveling alone. Some people think there’s a “stigma” attached to this–if you’re one of these people, that’s all the more reason to give it a try. We’re back to the same problem–if you worry what other people think, you’re not living your best life. And no one’s got time for that. 

If you don’t have the resources to travel far, go somewhere which won’t break the bank. Plan out what you want to see and do, and go do those things. Take selfies if you want and post them online when you return–show people what a great time you had on your own. 

If you can’t afford traveling right now, or you can’t get time off work, that’s okay. There are still plenty of adventures you can have on your own. 

Go anywhere on your own

Like we said, traveling isn’t the only option–especially if it’s just not something you’re into. Whatever you do, go and do it on your own. Show yourself that you can enjoy your own company and that you believe in yourself enough to successfully navigate somewhere on your own. You could:

  • Visit a museum;
  • Go to a restaurant alone–don’t sit on your phone, own it!
  • Go to the movies alone; or
  • Go see a sports game on your own. 

The world’s at your fingertips, folks. Don’t waste the opportunities because you’re scared what other people might have to say.

At the end of the day, your life is yours to live–and yours alone. By embracing your zero-f*cks-given philosophy, you’ll become the best version of you…and who knows, you might 

even inspire others to do the same. 

Live your best life without caring so much about what others think. Good luck.

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