Florencia from Uruguay recently asked us,
I’m sick of putting my needs and wants last. I was raised to always be the ‘good’ little girl who cared a lot what others thought of her. For my whole life I seem to have been crippled by the fear of what others will say/think of me. I get paranoid that others will gossip about me or judge me behind my back. So I always try to avoid this by being a people-pleaser. It’s so damn tiring.
But now I’m in a position where I can pursue a dream of mine – to be an artist. But my friends don’t support me, and my family thinks I’m making a big mistake. I constantly feel like they’re talking behind my back about me.
What can you do to learn how to not care what others think of you? Please help Luna and Sol.
If you also struggle with this, please read on.
How to Not Care What Others Think of You
I want to start off by saying this:
It is impossible to stop caring what others think of you.
I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear. But flipping the middle finger at others is tantamount to a teenager throwing a tantrum. Even behavior that screams “I don’t give a f*ck what you think of me!” is still placing importance in what others think indirectly. This kind of behavior is still deeply influenced by what other people think, because otherwise, why would there be a reason to react?
Biologically speaking, caring what other people think of us has helped us to grow, evolve, and stay alive as a species. Not only that but caring what other people think can also be beneficial. When you are receptive to a person’s thoughts and feelings, you learn a lot about yourself and also the other person. I will explain this point more in-depth very soon.
But first, I also want to say this:
Caring what people think of you is not the same as letting it rule your life.
In other words, there is a difference between caring what other’s think and permitting it to dominate you.
Caring what other’s think becomes dangerous when it dictates your every decision, thought and feeling about yourself.
When we allow other people’s opinions and beliefs to control our lives, we become trapped. We feel pressured by our own insecurity to live up to other’s expectations. We become self-denying people-pleasers. Consequently, we feel unfulfilled and bitter towards ourselves and others.
But you don’t have to feel this way. And yes, you CAN care what people think about you and NOT let it ruin your life.
1. Look for the lesson
So your siblings scoff at your dreams. What is the lesson to be learned here? Instead of blindly reacting to what they say, notice how you feel. Belittled, angry, embarrassed? Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is that feeling offended is OK, but you can still move on. Or the lesson may be that your siblings feel threatened by your happiness because they are unhappy themselves.