“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
It is human nature to want to be liked and accepted. However, this often leads to people worrying too much about what others are thinking about them.
This kind of excessive worrying can have a negative effect on your life. It can be so debilitating that it interferes with your ability to feel at ease with yourself and around others. Do not let it prevent you from living your life to the fullest potential.
Here are ten reasons why you should not care about what others think:
People are entitled to think whatever they want, just as you are entitled to think what you want. What people think of you cannot change who you are or what you are worth, unless you allow them to.
This is your life to live. At the end of the day you are the only person who needs to approve of your own choices.
Nobody will ever be as invested in your life as you. Only you know what is best for you, and that entails learning from your own choices. The only way you will ever truly learn is through making your own decisions, taking full responsibility for them, and that way if you do fail, at least you can learn from it wholeheartedly, as opposed to blaming somebody else.
It’s important to recognize that someone’s opinion is often based on what they would do. This alone is the problem. What is best for somebody else, can be the worst thing for you. What one person considers garbage can be another person’s treasure. We are all so unique. Only you know what is right for you.
If you are constantly worried about what other people think, you will never get to where you need to go in life. You are going to have to do things that don’t always meet people’s standards. You will come into situations where you have to put your pride, and your reputation on the line to get what you want. If you are constantly worried about what people are thinking, you will never have the will to do what’s right.
In life, you are the one stuck with the consequences of your decisions. For example, if someone suggests you buy some stocks, but you just don’t feel like it’s the right choice, you are the only one who will live the consequences. If the stock falls and you lose a lot of money, you are the one that will have to live with the fact that you didn’t follow your inner call. When people give you their suggestions or even orders, there is no risk for them. They don’t have to live with your choices—but you do.
We are constantly changing. Some philosophers and theorists suggest that we are in a constant state of flux, so much that we cannot even say we have one, specific ‘self’ (or a fixed personality). People’s thoughts, ideas and views change on a regular basis.
That means even if somebody does think badly of you at the moment, there is a good chance they will think differently in the near future. So basically, people’s thoughts don’t really matter.
You only have one life to live, so why would you spend it worrying about other people’s opinions? Do whatever you want, be whoever you want. You’re not going to see these people after you’re dead. You probably won’t even see them in a year from now. Live your life without worrying about other people’s thoughts and opinion, and you will live your life to the maximum.
Worrying too much about what other people think of you can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Frequently, people indulge their need to be liked so much so that it actually dictates to the way they behave. Some become people-pleasers or so submissive that many people are turned off. The behavior you use as an attempt to ensure you are liked may actually cause you to be disliked.
People generally don’t think outside themselves a great deal of time. It is a sad but simple truth that the average person filters their world through their ego, meaning that they think about most things in terms of “me” or “my”.
This means that, unless who you are or what you have done directly affects another person or their life, they are unlikely to spend much time thinking about you at all.
You can’t please all of the people all of the time. It is impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations so there is no point in burning yourself out trying to do so. Just make sure that one of the people you please is yourself!
The weight of other’s thought can become a burden for you. It can inhibit you from living your life, because your entire being (your personality, your thoughts, your actions) are controlled by an idealized standard of what people want to see. When you become so obsessed with other people’s opinion of you, you forget your own.
You can make a conscious effort to stop giving a damn; to let yourself free. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced, like meditating. But once you truly understand how to let go, you will see the world as entirely different.
Once you give up catering to other people’s opinion and thoughts, you will find out who you truly are, and that freedom will be like taking a breath for the first time.
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