How do you stop thinking about what other people think and focus on yourself instead?
We asked experts to share their insights.
Table of Contents
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Redirect your thoughts
- Keep a journal
- Focus on yourself
- Practice self-acceptance
- Reduce how often you compare yourself to others
- Practice the art of letting go
- Start doing some thinking for yourself
- Everything is what it is
- Understand the difference between selfless versus selfish
- Surround yourself with positive people, places & energy
- Never let other people steal your energy
- We are in control
- Everything others say and do is more a reflection of themselves than it is of us
- Decide whose opinions matter
- Be clear about our own goals, standards, and values
- Be your true self
- Write a journal
- Falling in the love with the person you are and the person you are becoming
- Choose your tribe well
- You must learn to trust yourself and be okay with making mistakes
- Focus on yourself
- Listen to your own voice
- Ask yourself what are the best and worst things that can happen
- Embrace your uniqueness
- Don’t take advice from people you wouldn’t consult or confide in
- Bolster your self-confidence with daily reviews of your accomplishments and wisdom
- Don’t rely on other people for feeling positive about yourself
- If a specific person can’t help you or behaves poorly towards you, move on
- Even nice people have down days
- Mature, sensible people don’t depend on someone else’s opinion for a sense of self-worth
- Focus on your better qualities
- Develop an attitude that life is a long lesson; all of us are works in progress
- Being rooted in your core values
- Reminding yourself that it’s impossible to please everybody
- Believing in yourself
- Identify your triggers and patterns
- Treat the negative voice behind your worries as a good warning
- Remind yourself that everyone is different and there’s no right or wrong way to live
- Listen to the people with the same goals as yours
- Embrace self-effacing humor
- Envision a negative situation to the extreme worst-case scenario
- Choose the people you’ll want to listen to
- Ask yourself why their opinions of you are so important to you
- Frequently Asked Questions
Acacia Parks, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist, Happify Health
Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others and focusing on what other people think about you is bad for mental health. The happiest people don’t even think about others, they focus on themselves and being better than they were previously.
If you find yourself spending mental energy on what other people are doing and thinking, make a plan to distract yourself, like watching a funny video or snapping a rubber band on your wrist.
Redirect your thoughts
Worrying what other people think about you can cause anxious thoughts, but it is possible to detach from them and treat them as just one possible source of information about what is going to happen next. Taking an experimental approach with your thoughts can be helpful.
For example, if someone has a project deadline coming up, and they think to themselves, “My boss is going to think this is horrible. It is going to be humiliating,” but after analyzing this thought it can be redirected to, “Okay, that’s one possibility. Another possibility is that my boss will love it. Another is that my boss will have some feedback, but in the end, it will be a good project. Let’s submit it to my boss and see which one is the truth.”
Keep a journal
When good things happen to you, write them down. Every night, write down at least three good things that happened that day. Every couple of weeks, you will be able to go back and see all of the good things that happened to you while you were focusing on yourself and not worrying about how other people feel about you.
Focus on yourself
Take time to invest in yourself. Pick up a new hobby or skill that will make you happy. Consider where you want to be in five years and focus on taking steps towards that goal rather than being preoccupied with what others think about you.
Author, Hope(y) | Inspirational Speaker
Embrace your authentic self. Being your authentic self is the first step to success. Although this phrase of ‘authentic self’ is hot right now, the concept behind it is not. We used to call it being confident, self-assured and in the famous words of Shakespeare “to thine own self be true”.
The nugget of truth within all of these phrases is the ability to not care what others think of you. Being your authentic self as the first step to success may sound tripe, but it is accurate and achievable.
Each of us can gain ground in being our authentic self and letting go of what others think of us on our road to self-improvement. We can take simple steps that help us turn this concept into reality in each of our own lives. We can practice self-acceptance, reduce time spent comparing ourselves to others and we can employ the art of letting go.
Self-acceptance is foundational to living our authentic selves. Love and accept who you are and appreciate your uniqueness. Are you perfect? Yes! Yes, you are perfect. No one else can be you. You are a unique human being with skills and experiences that no one else has.
That is a powerful reminder of the gift you are to the world. Forgive your mistakes and find ways to savor your successes for a bit longer. We live in a fast-paced world where we rush from one moment to the next and rarely take time to even realize all that we are accomplishing each day.
At the of your day make a mental list of the things that went well, items completed or accidents avoided. These are to be celebrated. Start the next day with a reminder that you are the perfect you, and go out in the world accepting and loving yourself.
Reduce how often you compare yourself to others
The less time you spend comparing yourself to others, the greater chance you will have the effect of increasing your self-acceptance. There is always someone richer, smarter and thinner than you. There is always someone with less money, more fat and not as intelligent as you too.
Stop comparing yourself to others as it only detracts your practice of self-acceptance. You cannot be someone else, and so why spend time lamenting that you are not someone else? The time spent comparing yourself to others is wasted and leaves us feeling lacking and less worthy.
This applies to wealth, relationships, physical appearance, and even your core personality. Comparing your marriage tothe neighbor’s marriage does not improve your marriage. Neither does compare yourself to the uber-fit stay-at-home-mom or the rich guy sitting in first class.
You can observe these relationships and people and take away learnings, but comparing yourself to them does not benefit your growth. If you find yourself spending a lot of time wishing for some other life, put the breaks on that line of thinking.
Acknowledge what you want, but remind yourself that you are the perfect you and you are on a journey to self-improvement. It might be something you aspire too, and it is okay that you don’t have it yet. Let the time spent comparing yourself to others go.
Practice the art of letting go
Letting go of others opinions is critical to embracing your authentic self, and you may find this difficult at first. After the first few times of employing the art of letting go, it gets easier and easier. We have all obsessed over someone’s thoughts, or something they may have said, or their opinion of us.
An important first step of learning to let go is to realize that you cannot do anything about their opinion
Other people’s thoughts are embedded in their own experiences and riddled with their own perceptions. It is enlightening to understand that their opinions may have little to do with you. They have no idea who you are or what you have experienced.
When you come to know their opinion has little to do with you and more to do with themselves, it becomes simpler to not care about what they think.
Second, the people who don’t like the real you are not going to be a helpful partner on your path to awareness and authenticity
Be comfortable letting them go and finding people who love you for who you are. People who accept you exactly as you are today. These are the people who will help you grow.
John Powell is quoted, “humans grow in the soil of acceptance.” This applies to the people who surround you and your practice of self-acceptance. Let go of others opinions and remember it is their baggage that is weighing them down. There is no reason to carry their luggage.
It sounds simple enough, but we know if it were this easy then we would already be doing it. Practicing self-acceptance, comparing yourself to others less often and letting go can be learned by taking small actions each day.
As with anything, the more you practice the easier it gets. With continued effort, a tipping point will be reached and you will find yourself brushing off someone’s anger or bruising thoughts. Embrace your authentic self, love your quirky habits, your poochy tummy, and know that no one else can be you. You are perfect as you are!
Professional Speaker | Author | Business Strategist | Founder & Chief Rippler, The Ripple Effect
From our very earliest of memories, we’ve all relied heavily on the opinions, encouragement and yes disappointment of others. Our first influence was likely by our parents.
How they gave us positive strokes and encouragement when we first started trying to walk as an infant to their mindful approval (or disapproval) of the grades we brought home from school.
Our earliest opinion of ourselves was often formed through the lenses of someone other than ourselves. As we grew up those lenses became wider with the feedback and input received from our teachers, sports coaches, first employers and of course our friends.
We become so reliant on how others view us, good, bad or indifferent that we often lose sight of our own personal opinion of ourselves. It’s not really our fault, you could say we were sort of tricked into thinking our opinion isn’t nearly as important as those of someone else.
The reality this approach really handcuffs us to a life of unrealistic expectation. So many people I know can’t begin to reconcile how they really feel about themselves because they are too busy obsessing over how everyone else views them.
It seems ludicrous when you think about it but how many of us still hear that little voice in the back our head from that someone whose opinion and perspective to this day still holds so much power over us?
Start doing some thinking for yourself
The reality is at some point we all need to wake up and stop listening to what other people think and start doing some thinking for ourselves. Easier said than done I know but an important and necessary first step if we are ever going to find any peace and satisfaction with our lives.
The first step to solving this problem is to understand you first have a problem
Think of the most recent big life decision you made, did you first stop to consider and/or worry about what someone else might say about what you were about to do? If so, you have a problem. You are putting other people’s opinion before your own.
Ask yourself a question – how do I really feel about this?
It’s in these moments that we can begin to interrupt the cycle and break free of the opinions of everyone else. It’s empowering when we start to asserting something positive on our own behalf without any outside influence. Believe it or not, the more you do it the better you get at doing it.
I know this sounds all pie in the sky for some but until you make that decision to take back control and view life and yourself through your own lens, you’ll always second guess yourself and wonder if you are living up to everyone else’s expectations. And man what a crappy way to live your life.
Of course, that’s just my opinion, now go form your own. I’ll be rooting for you from the sidelines without any further judgment.
Entrepreneur | Author | Creative Director | Author, LIVING WITH LIFE: the beginning
What I have learned is that no one is just born with self-confidence – it is a process learned through love, adapted with encouragement and being truthful in every moment. Learning the differences between situations can and will greatly build up one’s self-confidence.
Everything is what it is
Every day, something happens and how you allow that to affect you is all on you. If you choose to say “it is what it is” you take control away from that situation and give it an ”okay” that happened or that was said. Let’s move past this. Time wasted is a waste of your time.
Understand the difference between selfless versus selfish
There will be moments in your life will you will need to know to help yourself first before someone else is allowed. I have learned myself just how important it is to be okay with helping yourself first. We cannot always be there for every, but we want to.
But the reality is the ones we are selflessly giving our time to usually are the ones who steal our time and that can hurt our self-confidence because it brings up questions like why does no one ever stop and help me or why do they always call me but never pick up when I call them?
Related: Why is Self Confidence Important?
Surround yourself with positive people, places & energy
Make sure your friends and family members are raising your energy. Make sure they are in your corner. Make sure those around you add value and challenge you to be greater.
Go to the gym, surround yourself daily with people reaching goals and are always in the room for the same goals.
Most important I have discovered is time alone can be an important fact behind our own confidence. Because learning to be happy alone will only make you greater in the presence of others.
What life has taught me is no one is what we believe them to be. So worrying about what others say or think about who you are is a waste of your time.
For us as individuals to find true self-confidence, we must first love ourselves no matter what. We must also believe in ourselves no matter what. Most importantly we must understand others will not give us the key to self-love. That door can only be accessed by our self-confidence.
Life is filled with ups and downs… Love from individuals to business will change us and challenge us… Haters will hate. Cheaters will cheat, but how you stand up and see it all will make you stronger. No one can break your spirit once you reach self nirvana.
You are your most powerful weapon when facing the world of social justice and stereotypes. Only you can decide you are above all that. The secret is…. you are!
So allow yourself to know you might not always be in the right situation or say the right things, but you gave all of you and that is a beautiful truth behind all confidence. Just BE YOURSELF. The world will adjust or you will find better surroundings
So at the end of the day, the best advice is to let yourself acknowledge what’s going on, but at the same moment but move on from the negative energy!
Addiction and Trauma Therapist
Never let other people steal your energy
The goal is to remain neutral to others and outside forces and to keep aligned in the center of yourself.
One must put a “veiled golden shield” around themselves to keep the energy of others out of their sphere. This way you stay connected to a higher source of light and navigate what needs to be done without interference.
It is important to understand all problems from the level of energy.
The truth is that people who are sensitive are like sponges that absorb and take in other peoples energy. Be in the sovereignty of yourself and stay strong in integrity and authenticity and let that be the foundation for living. Then you can really see how others affect you. If you get thrown off your center then you have a weakness in yourself that needs healing.
Speaker | Author | Health Coach
Learning to be immune to what others think is one of the greatest favors we can do for ourselves. It’s a quest that the ancient Greeks took on in the philosophy of Stoicism, which holds that the only things we can control in this world and in our lives are our thoughts. We cannot control external events or the thoughts and actions of others, only our response to them.
We are in control
So, we begin by realizing that we can control how we react to what others think. And we can choose to not react.
Everything others say and do is more a reflection of themselves than it is of us
If someone says or does something hurtful, we can know that they are projecting an inner conflict onto us. This is reminiscent of the old adage, “You can’t love or hate something about someone else unless it reflects you something you love or hate about yourself”.
Given these two perspectives, we can learn to not care what others think because it’s usually not about us anyway.
I’ve been ignoring what anyone’s been saying about me for years. It took a while to learn how, but eventually, I did. It comes down to a few simple rules:
- Don’t let people live in your head rent-free.
- Why should you give a crap about what people who don’t care if you live or die to think about you?
- Stop caring what people who live in your phone think.
- The only people you have to impress are those you deem worthy. Yourself, perhaps a loved one, perhaps a child, or a pet. That’s IT.
- It’s not a race between anyone but you and yesterday’s you.
Author | Psychotherapist
Decide whose opinions matter
The issue is more about deciding whose opinion we should value and to not care excessively about what others think of us. This is a tricky balance. If we are sure that people truly care about us, if they are mentally healthy, and if they have our best interest at heart, we will want their feedback and advice to enhance our lives.
That is, we will want to care what they think of us. Alternatively, if people who are not mentally healthy give us unsolicited suggestions or make unwanted comments about us, especially in a way that is not useful or welcome, we might want to discard what they say.
Be clear about our own goals, standards, and values
We must be 100% honest with ourselves and not screen out opinions that are different than ours because it makes us uncomfortable. We must give up approval-seeking and people-pleasing and value our own thoughts and feelings above those of others.
Additionally, we must be able to seek counsel from others when we need it and be comfortable with people caring enough about us to share their opinions.
Angel J. Storm, Ph.D.
Life Coach | Founder & Director, Ashes to Beauty Ministries
There are times when caring what people think is necessary, such as at a job interview or when we’re meeting our significant other’s family for the first time. Caring what people think all of the time, however, is toxic emotionally and mentally and even physically.
I’m a life coach and I tell my clients that when we focus our energy worrying about how people perceive us or will receive us, we rob them of experiencing who we truly are and we also steal from our own selves.
Many of my clients have identity issues (wonder who they are, what they should do, why they exist, etc.) because they have lost themselves in trying to please everyone else. We are all familiar with the airplane analogy – put your own oxygen mask on before you try to help others. Our identities are the same way.
Be your true self
When we know who we are and that we add to the world and the people around us by being our true selves, we won’t fix our eyes on the comments of others, thereby robbing them of receiving what we have to give.
This does take practice and time, but usually, we care about the opinions of others when we have come into agreement with a lie. For example, so-and-so knows more than me, if I say what I truly feel they won’t like me, they only accept me when I behave a certain way, etc.
When we recognize the root of this lie and why we believe it, we can pull that root out and replace it with a tree of truth. This could be something like “people love the energy I bring to my workplace,” or “I truly accept myself and those who love the real me are attracted to what I carry.” These aren’t mantras just to be recited over and over. This needs to become a real belief system with deep roots.
When my clients struggle with self-confidence issues I teach them how to recognize the signs that they are coming into agreement with the lie. Maybe this means your thoughts start racing, you start hearing a voice that condemns you with thoughts of self-hatred, your heart races or you start sweating.
Usually, you’ll feel uncomfortable in your body. Recognize these warning signs and have the truth ready. Maybe you need to write your truth on a piece of paper that you tape to the back of your phone or debit card (whichever you carry around with you the most) when you first get started at replacing the lie with the truth.
Write a journal
Just like when you start working out you might feel sore or hurt but this is actually a good thing! Your truth is taking root!
Getting a coach who can help you through this process is also something to consider, especially if you have believed a lie for a long time and you’re finding it hard to remove by yourself. Like when you’re driving a car and if you focus on things that aren’t the road, the car will go in the direction you are looking, so it is with your life.
Focus on your truth – the road – and it will not only keep you out of the ditch but it will ensure you reach your destination.
Dr. Elaine Sanders
Co-Founder, Harlem Girls, Inc.
We all have the need for validation and approval, the issue is to what degree. One of the ways to stop caring about what others think is to become confident in who you are as a person.
Falling in the love with the person you are and the person you are becoming
Often times we spend too much time trying to please people who are dealing with their own struggles and may try to place their insecurities on us.
Choose your tribe well
Surround yourself with a tribe of people who will assist you in following your dreams and will encourage your authenticity. Remember you get to choose these people and you give them permission they speak into your life. Remember as the CEO of you, you get to choose who you hire and terminate from your company.
You must learn to trust yourself and be okay with making mistakes
Mistakes are there to help us learn what not to do the next time. If you never take the risk or step out on faith you will always look to others to validate your importance.
Dr. Cali Estes, Ph.D.
Psychologist | Cognitive Behavioral Therapist | Celebrity Addiction Specialist |
Founder, The Addictions Coach
Focus on yourself
My favorite quote is “Your opinion of me is none of my business.”
I have been the victim of bullying and many people in my industry who did not want me to be successful. I have had to utilize my mantra to focus on myself and not allow anyone to tear me down or ruin my happiness and of course my business.
When we focus on what others think of us, we get wrapped up in the negativity. It is best to understand where and why people try to break us and tear us down.
They do this because they realize that you are doing better than them (or are prettier, smarter, etc) which triggers and reminds them of all their own faults which in turn, irritates them. They then continue bully and talk down and it’s our choice to either choose to internalize it or forge ahead.
Another mantra I use is “My self-worth is not dependent on your opinion of me” or “Your opinion of me doesn’t pay my rent”. These are different ways that I refocus my energy to block out the haters. I also give back a lot to the community and that makes me feel plugged in and loved.
Relationship Therapist | Adjunct Professor of Counseling Psychology, Columbia University
Listen to your own voice
If your internal whisper likes who you are, and it tells you that you are a good person who tries your best and doesn’t hurt other people on purpose, yours is the only voice that matters.
There will always be people who find fault with you, for a variety of reasons, including to boost their own self-image or they have unrealistic expectations for who you “should” be. Tune them out and spend your time with those who build you up, not those who tear you down.
It takes some life experiences to realize that you can’t make everyone like you. You only have one life to live on earth so if you constantly worry about what other people think you will be paralyzed by fear and hindered in your personal development.
Ask yourself what are the best and worst things that can happen
Do this whenever thoughts and the worry about what other people think creep in. When you do this mental exercise most of the time you will realize that in the worst-case scenario someone may make or say a comment, but in the best-case scenario, you will get to do something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled in your life journey.
The people that overly criticize you are self-selecting themselves out of your life so, in the end, it all works out. If you live your life with intention and are true to yourself then you will also find that there are like-minded people who appreciate you for who you are.
TEDx Speaker | CEO & Founder, Banish
Because I didn’t have friends in school and I was bullied, I grew up to be independent and learned to do my ‘own thing’. From my experience, I see things as an outsider and that made me have a different perspective than my peers. I also developed acne, which made the situation worse.
I stopped caring when I started to take back the key to my happiness that was once held by other people. I stopped minding about the likes/views and followers on social media, I stopped comparing and basing happiness on what is posted online. I just mind my own business and cared less.
Embrace your uniqueness
I embrace my uniqueness and quirks instead of trying to fit in with everybody else. I realize that what makes me unique can actually be my selling point. I embrace how I am different from everyone else because I’ve learned that I can use my diversity to my advantage as a business owner and female Asian-American entrepreneur.
Don’t be afraid of sticking out and owning the unique parts of yourself. I just live according to my unselfish agenda and ignore those who don’t contribute to it.
I realized that many current skincare ingredients, such as fragrances or fillers, break out my skin, so I created my own skincare products in my kitchen. I documented my struggle on my YouTube channel, which now garners over 70M views.
Eventually, my followers saw great results on my skin and encouraged me to launch my own business. Now we are a diverse team focused on inspiring confidence in others.
Author | Life Coach Certified in Counseling Skills | Editor Specializing in Medical Topics, e-counseling.com
Your emotions can roller coaster, or even broil when someone criticizes your thinking and decision-making processes. Your anger might be especially strong if you didn’t even ask for that person’s opinion.
If you end up distressed that you care what the person said, there’s an easy way to put him or her and their remarks into calming perspective:
Don’t take advice from people you wouldn’t consult or confide in
But if you did ask for the advice from someone you regret having consulted, read on to learn how to remain self-confident anyway.
Negativity is pretty much a default setting for some people. They tend to share that negativity whenever it can make them feel powerful. Destroying someone’s hopes or plans seems to do that “Now I feel Powerful!” trick for them. Don’t fall for the con!
If you interact with someone who has information (e.g., employment opportunities that you desire, or the ability to get specific tasks done) or access that you need, or you want their admiration or acceptance, know that you are vulnerable to the person’s negative reactions.
Bolster your self-confidence with daily reviews of your accomplishments and wisdom
This will help you prevent feeling ruined by rejection. Besides, if the person is usually helpful but having a bad day, both of you can get past the temporary glitch with a sense of acceptance and a sense of humor.
Don’t rely on other people for feeling positive about yourself
If you emulate traits that you admire in other people, then you too are worth admiring. If you do nice things for yourself and other people, know that you are a worthwhile person.
If a specific person can’t help you or behaves poorly towards you, move on
There is no value in stressing yourself over the situation. True, the disappointment hurts. Deal with it constructively instead of stewing in anger, though. Talk it out with a trusted confidante, soothe yourself with a rewarding activity, and praise yourself for doing so.
By the way, the conversation with that confidante is likely to include a discussion about your constructive goals. Keep them before you always. Write a list of them and attach the list to your day-planner, mirror, whatever works, to remind you of your noble self.
The more that you realize your self-worth, the less likely you are to feel damaged by someone’s condemnation or disapproval.
Even nice people have down days
If they evoke unhappiness in you, know that the problem is with them, not with you. Pass the negativity and leave it behind.
Mature, sensible people don’t depend on someone else’s opinion for a sense of self-worth
They mingle with people who support them and their endeavors. They build themselves up from the inside, too, building a strong self-reliant character.
Focus on your better qualities
Remind yourself that you work at improving yourself and on realizing that you have unique value to the world. Focus on your upbeat goals, and stick with them.
Develop an attitude that life is a long lesson; all of us are works in progress
One lousy day isn’t the end of our lives or stories. Be self-led. Take on the future with a fresh attitude, and keep reminding yourself what you do and did well. You won’t care what negative, destructive people think of you. One day they just might learn to value your thoughts and opinions!
Pamela Palladino Gold
Author | Speaker | Entrepreneur | Mind-Body-Spirit Strength Expert |
Founder, Peace Power Parenting
Being rooted in your core values
First, knowing what your core values are and second, having those values be the litmus test for whether you want to allow other people’s opinions to affect what you do.
If someone is being critical of your choice of work, for example, you can reframe this around your values and decide from a place of strength whether you want to take their thoughts into consideration.
Being clear on our values and practicing using them as the frame for our feeling and choices takes our power back into our own hands.
Certified Life Coach | Health Expert, Maple Holistics
Reminding yourself that it’s impossible to please everybody
There will always be someone who will judge you for something. Although you can’t stop people from judging you, you can decide that it won’t affect you.
Once you realize this and embrace it, you’ll find that people actually respect you more when you stand up for what you believe in, instead of caving in to other people’s expectations.
When you’re being your authentic self, you’ll find that you don’t care what people think. Doing things for other people is a surefire way to ensure that every action is reliant on other people’s approval.
Believing in yourself
If you’re doubting your every move and decision, other people’s opinion of you makes a big dent in the way that you perceive yourself.
If you’re confident in yourself and your choices, you won’t bat an eyelid when people give you their negative opinions because you know that you’re doing what’s good for you and it’s allowing you to live your best life.
Executive Career & Life Coach, Course Correction Coaching
Identify your triggers and patterns
In my experience, this often comes up when people you care about criticize or offer advice about how to live differently. You’ll want to change how you perceive their criticism and advice (because you can’t change them, only how you take their criticism).
What you want is to accept that they’re doing this out of love no matter what it sounds like coming out of their mouth. Much like forgiveness, this isn’t about them. It’s about you.
Shifting your mentality will make you less angry and resentful of their opinion, making it less likely that you’ll doubt yourself and hence care too much about what they think.
Treat the negative voice behind your worries as a good warning
Anytime you realize that you’re worrying about what people might think, talk to that inner voice (you might even give him/her a name). Ask your voice to tell you what he/she is worried about and to identify the thoughts and fears behind those worries.
Once you do that, thank your inner voice for doing its job and tell it to leave. This will help you feel more in control and think more rationally about what’s going on.
Remind yourself that everyone is different and there’s no right or wrong way to live
You get to choose what matters most to you and how to live your life (and it doesn’t matter what others think). Practice this consistently to help you more easily (and quickly) let go of what others think.
Brenda Della Casa
Author | Writer | Speaker | Founder, BDC Digital Media
Listen to the people with the same goals as yours
While no one wants to be rejected or judged, the truth is we all will be, regardless of what we do. Therefore we need to consider whether or not we want to jump through hoops trying to please people and campaigning for likes and approval or if we will focus and have the courage to create our own strategies and live a life that may make some people uncomfortable and leave others inspired.
I always ask myself what my 90-year-old self would tell me to do and that makes it very easy. I look for advice from people who have achieved what I hope to achieve, look to impress those who are worthy of that effort and consider those who I need to consider when I make important decisions.
In all other cases, I follow my own instincts and adhere to my own value system. That’s the only way I can live with what I think about myself.
Speaker | Author | Certified Laughter Leader Expert, Try Laughter! Inc.
One of the benefits of aging is that there is freedom from other people’s opinions. Over the years, it has become clear that people aren’t thinking about me, my actions or opinions near as much as I’d thought they were.
Embrace self-effacing humor
Before I did that well – and it is quite humbling- it only mattered to me that I did things correctly and very well. When I screwed up royally, I was angry at myself and embarrassed. I’ve also been called out when I directed that anger at others who’d caught me goofing up.
With self-effacing humor or humor that pokes fun of yourself, you get to show the world that you’re imperfect, vulnerable and possibly human!
My mantra is, “Let them laugh at you. You know they want to. But you go first!” Now, I can drop, forget, trip over and mispronounce things among my many other flaws and faux pas and not care what anyone thinks.
Self-effacing humor depletes others from tossing teasing barbs at you when they know they can’t push your buttons.
When others realize that you are good-natured and open to whatever happens, you create more bonds with people instead of being repellent. You also help give others permission to be imperfect themselves. Because, really, who cares?
Founder and CEO, Yael Consulting
Envision a negative situation to the extreme worst-case scenario
This dwarfs the actual situation and exposes it at an insignificant occurrence in the bidding scheme of things. For example, if I am told “no” on a sales call then it feels bad, but I then ask myself “now what?”. Do I now close my business and risk my family’s financial security? Just quit because everything was hinging on what that one person said? Of course not!
Once I accept that this extreme is ridiculous, I am left with one choice – to keep going and pushing through what I am doing, with the full belief of why I am doing it.
Choose the people you’ll want to listen to
This is quite the balancing act. On the one hand, other people’s opinion can be an important reflection of who you are and how you carry yourself. On the other hand, some people make negative comments purely out of spite, jealousy, or a litany of other negative motives.
I’ve found that while I want to be open to constructive criticism, it’s important to ignore the truly “hater” comments. In other words, if someone is tearing you down to derive pleasure out of the act of doing so, that’s when you should put your “Do Not Care” filter on.
At the same time, I also take time to read these negative comments, filtering for those that are truly fair criticisms. It’s okay to not care about comments from the “haters,” but if you try to put yourself above everyone else’s opinion, you may end up walling yourself off from the real world.
International Emotional Intelligence Coach | Power Speaker | Diversity Strategist
Ask yourself why their opinions of you are so important to you
In many cases, this then helps us to see it’s not just the opinions of others that hold us hostage but also the deep-seated judgmental beliefs and biases we hold dear that we often project on others which boomerang right back to us.
Doing this deep thinking should cause us to reflect on our own belief systems. Once we correct our flawed thinking we feel less compelled to embrace other negative views people send our way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it okay to not care about what others think?
Absolutely, it’s okay not to care about what others think. It’s natural to consider others’ opinions, but it’s essential to strike a balance between seeking validation and maintaining your authenticity.
When you prioritize your own values and desires, you cultivate self-confidence and self-reliance. Remember that it’s your life, and your happiness should come from within rather than depending on the approval of others.
So, go ahead and embrace your uniqueness while remaining respectful and open to constructive feedback.
Can I train myself not to care what people think?
Yes, you can definitely train yourself to care less about what others think. It takes time and effort, but it can be done.
Here are some strategies to help you on your journey:
• Self-awareness: Reflect on your values, goals, and priorities. Know what matters to you and let that guide your decisions instead of others’ opinions.
• Develop self-confidence: Practice self-affirmations, celebrate your achievements, and focus on your strengths. This will help you develop a strong sense of self-worth, making you less vulnerable to external opinions.
• Surround yourself with supportive people: Cultivate relationships with those who uplift and encourage you. They will help reinforce your self-belief and independence.
• Set boundaries: Learn to say ‘no’ when necessary and assert your needs in a respectful manner. This will help you feel more in control of your life.
• Practice mindfulness: Engage in activities like meditation or yoga to help you stay present and focused on your own journey.
Why do I care what others think?
We are social beings, and throughout history, our survival has depended on being part of a group because of our need for social connection and acceptance. As a result, our brains have evolved to prioritize fitting in and gaining the approval of others.
However, seeking external validation can become unhealthy when it interferes with your personal values and goals. Acknowledging the reasons behind your concern for other’s opinions is the first step in regaining control over your own life.
By working on your self-confidence, self-awareness, and setting boundaries, you can gradually shift your focus from pleasing others to living a life that is true to yourself.
Why should I stop caring about what others think?
Caring about what others think can be a major source of stress and anxiety in life. It can prevent you from pursuing your goals and dreams and limit your ability to be your true self.
Additionally, the opinions of others are often subjective and based on their own experiences, biases, and insecurities, so they may not accurately reflect reality.
Instead of worrying about what others think, try to focus on what makes you happy and fulfilled. You’ll likely find that when you let go of caring about others’ opinions, you’ll have more energy and motivation to pursue the things that truly matter to you.
How do I overcome the fear of being judged by others?
Overcoming the fear of being judged by others can be a journey, but it is one that is well worth taking. Here are some tips that can help you get started:
• Practice self-reflection: Take time to understand your own values, beliefs, and goals. This can help you develop a strong sense of self-worth and make you less vulnerable to the opinions of others.
• Challenge negative thoughts: When you find yourself worrying about what others think, take a step back and question the validity of these thoughts. Are they really true? Are they based on facts or just your own insecurities?
• Surround yourself with positive people: Seek out friends and family members who support and encourage you. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can help you feel more confident and less afraid of being judged.
• Focus on your own growth: Instead of worrying about what others think, focus on your own personal growth and development. When you are actively working on becoming the best version of yourself, you’ll have less time and energy to worry about others’ opinions.
• Remember that everyone makes mistakes: No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Try to be kind and forgiving to yourself, and remember that it’s okay to stumble and fall. The important thing is to keep moving forward.
• Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you would show a close friend. Remember that you are human and that it’s okay to make mistakes.
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