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10 Reasons Why What Others Think Of You Is Not Important

10 Reasons Why What Others Think Of You Is Not Important

In an evermore connecting society where personal value is wrongly correlated with social status, it becomes easy to get swept away in the opinions of others. Who likes who, who wronged who, who is doing what and so on are all regular topics in our daily interactions. Let’s not forget, gossip evolved as an evolutionary device – a successful one at that.

Yet despite this, those with their eye on living an honest and fulfilling life should avoid any temptations of this social Whodunnit. It’s true. Caring about what others think of you is an arrow to the knee of your happiness. Here are 10 reasons why.

1. Nobody Knows You Like Yourself.

People can be arrogant in the fact that they tend to judge a persons character within second of meeting them. We all generalise, we form assumptions, we create an opinion of people from the first moments of the first interaction, often inaccurate ones. The truth is, despite the lightening-quick opinions people form, nobody knows you like you do. You know your own strengths, your own weaknesses, your likes and dislikes more than anybody else in the world. Yes, people can be quick to judge. Are their perceptions of you at all accurate? It’s unlikely. Don’t concern yourself with them.

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself” – Thales

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2. Nobody Likes to Feel Bad About Themselves.

We all like to feel confident and that we lack nothing major in our lives. Since it is often difficult for people to directly face their personal issues head on and get over them, people like to bring others down as a means of feeling more secure about themselves. People who readily form negative opinions are often casting their own insecurities onto others as a means of overshadowing their own. It is admittedly easier, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s often nothing to do with you in the first place.

3. You’ll Be Forever Walking On Egg Shells.

Do you wan’t to live a life of anxiety? A life where the views of others sting you like a wasp every time you hear a negative or insulting remark about yourself? I bet you don’t. If you do, you’ll quickly become a people-pleaser. You’ll be that Mr. Niceguy who gets trampled all over by everyone in fear of offending anyone. Mr. Niceguy on the outside, is Mr. Sadguy on the inside. You’re better than that.

4. They Will Take You Everywhere But Up.

Successful people don’t care deeply about what others think of them. Why? Because there are some terrible people out there, and in order to achieve something great you’ll have to make some of them angry. If on your path to success you find that absolutely everybody is agreeing with you, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So why not Do.

5. You Simply Don’t Have Time.

Success means becoming the strongest, most well-rounded version of yourself possible. In order to achieve success, you’ll have to build upon your strengths and minimise your weaknesses. How can you expect to do that if you’re too busy wasting your time contemplating the views of others? If you want to be successful, you don’t have those precious seconds to throw away. Focus on developing yourself, not developing others’ thoughts.

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. Confidence Isn’t Rooted In the Thoughts of Others.

How many times have you heard a confident person say that they get their confidence from the negative opinions of others? Not many, I bet. It’s usually the contrary. Confidence comes from realising the pettiness and inaccuracy of other people’s negative view of you and then ignoring them. Confident people know exactly what they lack and they get comfortable with it. They don’t need others to do it for them.

7. Only Those Who Aren’t Going Anywhere Criticise Others.

In Andrew Carnegie’s world-renowned book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, he mentions the importance of not criticising others if you want to be successful. Before he was president, Abraham Lincoln criticised a man in a local newspaper and it almost landed him in a sword fight. He learned never to condemn people ever again. And then he became president. So… yeah.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity” – Dale Carnegie.

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8. If You Do, You’ll Become Them.

If you concern yourself with the negative views of others for long enough you will end up believing them. It’s a sad truth. You will turn into the very person you are trying to avoid because you don’t have the will to ignore opinions. This is bad. Don’t be fooled into a false version of yourself, remember that nobody knows you like you do.

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

9. You’ll Adopt Their Habit.

Since we are the average of our peer group, the thoughts of others begin to dominate our minds. You could end up adopting their negative habits yourself if you’re not careful. Specifically, you will begin to automatically ridicule and form negative opinions of others in an effort to overshadow your own. Can you see the cycle here? It’s the echo chamber effect in full swing.

10. You’ll Regret It On Your Deathbed.

Not that I want to take a gloomy turn in this article, but it might just be necessary to drive my points home. In Bronnie Ware’s touching book “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying”, Ware recalls her years in palliative care and her interactions with the dying. She noted their top 5 regrets. Can you guess which was top? Yes, it was listening too much to the opinions of others.

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“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” – Top regret of the dying.

Featured photo credit: PixaBay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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