Do you ever lay awake at night worrying about what someone thinks of you? Do you have a brilliant idea you want to put out into the world, but stress about how it will be perceived and what everyone will think?
There can be a million different scenarios for how we care what other people think of us and how it can negatively affect our lives – if we let it.
Most of us are guilty at times of caring too much about what people think of us. We stress, we worry, we tie our stomach in knots and for what?
Caring what other people think can hold us back from achieving our dreams, goals or plans. It can stop us from ever pursuing them in the first place.
The sooner we stop caring about what other people think, the more content and peaceful our lives will be.
Before we get started on our list, I want to be very clear about something. This isn’t about not caring for or caring about other people.
This isn’t about trying to hurt someone or not caring about the repercussions of your actions.
This is more about your everyday interactions with people.
Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Any compensation I may receive does not affect the price you pay.
Important note – I am not a medical practitioner, so if you are having problems with depression, anxiety or suspect you may have a mental illness, please seek help from a qualified medical practitioner as soon as possible.
Let’s look at 2o ways to stop caring what other people think of you.
1. Understand not everything thinks the same way you do
There have been times when I’ve been upset at a friend and got myself into a spin about what she must be thinking about the situation.
I’d play scenarios over and over in my head about how I assumed my friend was feeling about a particular situation.
And you what……it was all a HUGE waste of my time and energy because the next time I would see her, I’d realize that she was totally oblivious to what I’d been thinking about. My thoughts and concerns hadn’t even been on her radar.
People’s brains think and work differently. Different situations trigger different thoughts, feelings, and reactions for different people. What you think is a problem or a concern might not even register with someone else.
Don’t assume that people think the same way you do.
By the way, this isn’t about someone being right and someone being wrong, it’s more about different opinions.
2. Understand you have different values to other people
Here is the truth of it, you are going to disappoint people.
And we are not talking strangers here, we are talking people who you love with all of your heart.
You are going to disappoint them and you know what….this is perfectly okay. It’s a normal part of life because people have different values and beliefs.
You might love your parents and respect them dearly but not want to live the same life they do, follow in their footsteps, like the things they do or about a thousand other things.
This may disappoint them. Hopefully, their disappointment will be brief – but it may disappoint them.
The sooner we wrap our heads around the fact that we will disappoint people and that it’s okay (again this isn’t about trying to hurt people on purpose) the better our lives will be.
3. Make peace with the fact that people aren’t thinking about you anywhere near as much as you think they are
I don’t say this to upset anyone but people probably aren’t thinking about you as much as you think they are.
That doesn’t mean the people close to you don’t love and care about you. They do.
What it means is that people are generally caught up in their own lives, their own drama and their own problems. They have their own needs and desires.
People don’t think about you as much as you think they do.
Instead of seeing this as a bad thing, look at it as a release valve taking some of the pressure off you.
4. Understand people will judge you
You might be thinking about the office gossips at work that never seem to stop whingeing or complaining about other people.
You might be asking – How am I supposed to not care what they say about me to other people?
We all know the constant complainers and work gossips. We’ve been at the team lunches and listened to them bagging people left, right and center. We all secretly hope they won’t come after us next.
The constant complainers often have their own agenda. For starters, they might be feeling insecure about themselves and their position at work or they might be craving attention and validation. Talking about people makes them the center of attention and gets people listening to them. It might make them feel popular and important (and yes some do it just to stir up trouble because they like the drama).
It’s probably not a great idea to get too close to the people who whine and complain a lot because at some point you know that they are going to be talking behind your back.
Though it’s not a great comfort, it’s important to remember that people bitching and complaining is often more about them than about you.
Throughout your life, people are going to judge you. People will criticize you and say bad stuff about you (both true and untrue). Sometimes criticism is going to get to us and we have to deal with it and other times the best thing you can do is stay strong, ignore it and power on.
Related post – How to Deal with Criticism
5. Accept that people you love will complain about you
I have a confession. I was complaining to my Mum about one of my close friends the other night.
I also know that my close friends complain about me to someone else every now and then and I am fine with it.
People do petty stuff that ticks us off and we might have the occasional grumble to someone about it. We do petty stuff that ticks people off and they have a whinge to someone else about us.
People often process their feelings by talking to other people.
Some personality types need to talk more than others. Some talk less and process internally.
It goes something like this – someone does something to hurt our feelings, we get it out of our system by talking to someone about it and then we forget about it and move on.
To clarify, I’m not talking vicious backstabbing, spreading rumors about someone or being nasty and trying to turn people against them.
A word of warming – be very careful about who you open up to. It needs to be someone you TRUST. The further removed they are to the person you are talking about the better.
For instance, don’t whine about family to other family members unless you trust them implicitly.
People will grumble about you every now and then when you annoy them or tick them off.
Don’t worry about it, just get on with your life.
6. Realize you might need to have a conversation with someone
Following up from the last point, if you have a problem that needs to be addressed with someone, you should talk to them directly instead of talking to other people about the issue.
This doesn’t mean that you have you have to confront people over every little slight.
It does mean you need to pick your battles.
Talk about the serious stuff.
Let the rest go.
Related post – How to Have Those Hard Conversations
7. Choose whose opinion you care about
Some people’s opinions are more important to us than others.
You need to decide for yourself whose opinion you care about.
Bear in mind that sometimes the people closest to us can be the most judgmental and can also have their own agenda.
Don’t blindly follow other people’s advice or feedback, make up your own mind and always believe in yourself.
8. Accept that some people will like you and other people won’t (no matter what you do)
You know people who you don’t like…….right?
When it comes to people we know, most likely, the people you don’t like have probably hurt or wronged you or someone you care about in some way.
But have you ever met someone and just not felt great about them?
For some reason, you just didn’t like them. Or perhaps you felt a certain vibe about them? You can be civil to them and have a chat but you know deep down that you probably aren’t going to be best buds with them anytime soon.
I am sure we have all had moments like this and been quite okay with them.
We don’t have to like everyone. We won’t immediately bond with everyone.
Well, guess what….that works the other way around too.
People aren’t always going to like you and it might be for no particular reason, just a feeling or vibe they have or even the mood they are in at the time. It could be something as basic as you reminding them of someone they don’t like or your name may even trigger a bad memory from their past. All nothing to do with you personally!
Some people won’t like you and that is perfectly normal and okay.
Get on board with that and you will be a lot more content.
Jumping through hoops trying to get someone to like you is exhausting and a waste of your emotional energy.
Energy is a precious resource, don’t waste it on people who aren’t interested in you. Go find the ones who are interested.
9. Stop being a people-pleaser
While we are on the topic of trying to please people, you might need to stop being a people pleaser.
This one is a big topic as lots of blog posts and books have been written about it and needless to say I’m not going to do it justice in a couple of paragraphs.
If you need specific help in this area, these posts can help.
If you are a people-pleaser reading this, I have a suggestion for you.
Be kind to yourself.
Get focused on your self-care and taking more time out for yourself.
Treat yourself for no reason at all (it doesn’t have to be something expensive, just something that makes you feel happy).
Develop a sense of joy by being kinder to yourself.
10. Work on the way you feel about yourself
A lot of our insecurities and self-doubt comes from the way we think and feel about ourselves – not from what we think other people are talking about.
The more you work on yourself the more self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence you will have.
The result of a high sense of self-worth – caring a lot less about what other people think – because you have an unshakeable belief in yourself. You will still struggle with things now and then but your core will be strong.
Related posts that can help –
- Know Your Own Worth
- Know Your Own Worth Even When it Feels like the World Doesn’t Quite Agree With You
- Don’t let Anyone Define Your Worth
- How to Believe in Yourself When People Don’t Support You
Your self-talk plays a role in how you feel about yourself, so it’s important to be aware of the way you talk to yourself.
- 3 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Positive Self-Talk
- Pay Close Attention to Your Inner Dialogue
- Know Your Trigger Words and How to Deal with Them
I recently completed an online course that I got a lot out of and really enjoyed. The course is How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence.
Mel teaches that self-doubt is a habit, which is actually great news because habits can be changed. Mel walks you through the steps and strategies in breaking the habit of self-doubt. She makes it fun and interesting and I highly recommend this course.
If you want to read my review to see if this course is something you would be interested in and something you will benefit from you can read it here.
11. Understand the importance of validating yourself from within
I can’t stress this one enough. You need to be able to validate yourself from within.
So what does that mean exactly? It means you need to love and accept yourself.
It means that you know your worth.
It means that you don’t constantly need people to tell you you’re smart/beautiful/lovable or whatever word or group of words you want to substitute there.
I know from experience that this one thing can be a massive turning point in your life because it was for me.
There was a time when I constantly sought outside validation from other people because I didn’t believe I was lovable.
I don’t believe that anymore.
The love you seek resides within you and that’s where you need to source it from.
Related post – Stop Waiting for Acceptance – Accept Yourself
12. Understand that you get to decide what you suffer for
After reading the amazing book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson last year, I did a lot of soul-searching.
I absolutely loved this book and in fact, bought 3 copies of it. I bought one for myself, one for my friend, then another one for myself (because I loaned the original to another friend).
We all know that life involves some suffering. The good news is you get to decide what you suffer for.
You get to decide what is important to you. You get to choose (because whether you realize it or not you are already choosing all the time).
This book will challenge you and make you think harder about what is and isn’t important to you. It’s a MUST READ and yes, if you can’t tell by the title there is some swearing involved.
13. Understand there is more important stuff to worry about
Let’s get real for a moment if you are going to worry you have more important stuff to worry about then what people are saying about you.
I remember being younger and worrying about every little thing! The stupid part was how much of it was external – as in what someone thought of me or what would happen if someone did a particular thing.
When my Dad got cancer and passed away, I fully understood that there are much more important things to worry about.
Generally speaking getting older does change the things you worry about because your priorities change and shift. Death, illness, and loss can change your life perspective.
Life will give you enough serious things to worry about.
Don’t add to the pile by caring about what everyone you meet thinks of you.
14. Understand you have more important things to do
While you are worrying about what people think of you and stressing about what people are saying about you – guess
what you are not working on.
Your life, your career, your family (whatever it is that is important to you).
Again this isn’t about being selfish and thinking the whole world evolves around you but hey your personal success and happiness do evolve around you, so you need to focus.
To achieve your goals you need focus and clarity. You need consistency and perseverance and you won’t have all of these things if you are sitting around stressing that someone didn’t like your hair, clothes or something you said at the office morning tea.
Need help defining and achieving your goals? This year I’m using the Slay Your Goals Planner. It’s a great planner to help you work out the why, what, where, when and how of your goals. It’s also now form-fillable (yeah!) which means no printing required (unless you want to print of course).
Download your Free Slay Your Goals Guide to get a feel for what you can expect with the planner.
15. Stop taking everything personally
If you tend to take everything personally, you will be invested more in what people think of you than you should be.
People do things all the time that have nothing to do with us (but we think they involve us in some way).
We might think someone is mad at us when in fact they are upset about a bill they received that they are worried about paying. There are about a million other examples I could have used here.
When people get stressed and anxious they can take their frustration out on other people. It’s not personal. It’s not about you, so don’t take that on board.
Bear in mind that you might be good at not taking things personally in one area of your life but not be good in other areas. When I worked as a sales secretary I had to deal with some very demanding and often extremely vocal salespeople who would vent their frustrations. It wasn’t personal, it was just letting off steam during times of high stress. I handled it well, yet in my personal life, there were times I took things very personally when I shouldn’t have.
16. Adopt a ‘who cares’ attitude
I remember when I was a teenager, I was at a youth group dance and I heard a boy (Larry) who I had a massive crush on laugh at me with his friends about the way I danced.
I was crushed.
I held onto that memory for years and I often felt uncomfortable when I went dancing.
But I’m not an insecure 15-year-old girl anymore.
Now that I’m a grown up who knows her worth, I understand a couple of things. Firstly, Larry was probably dealing with his own insecurities and issues. He was the popular, cool guy who wanted to stay cool and popular. Secondly, Larry’s opinion doesn’t matter. Even if I am the worst dancer, his opinion doesn’t matter. It’s not about him being right or wrong about my dancing skills or lack thereof – it’s about me not caring what he thinks.
If that happened to me now, I’d be a bit upset for a few seconds (I’m only human) but then I’d keep dancing my ass off and not give a care what someone thought.
I’d be like “Who cares Larry. Not me, I’m too busy having fun.’
Criticism isn’t going to just come from the Larry’s in your life. It can come from people much closer, like your parents, partner or siblings. Despite how much you love them, sometimes you need to keep your ‘who cares Larry ‘ attitude intact and do what is best for you.
It’s hard sometimes but essential.
17. Laugh it off
Yes, I am serious. For the small stuff that isn’t worth worrying about, if you feel it niggling at you, have a laugh about
Make a joke out of it. Make fun of the small stupid stuff.
That is what your amazing best friend is for – to laugh about all the crappy small stuff.
Before you know it, you’ll be laughing so hard with someone you love and who loves you and none of it will matter.
Related post – How to Laugh More
18. Be in the moment
When you are stressing about what other people think of you, you aren’t enjoying the moment.
More to the point you could be turning a positive moment into a negative one (for no valid reason or for something insignificant).
Caring about what other people are thinking of you strips away your joy and happiness.
Don’t give people that sort of power over you.
19. Get help if you need it
If you suffer from severe social anxiety, seek help from a professional.
There is nothing to be ashamed of and it’s not something you have to deal with alone.
Seek out the help and assistance that you need.
20. Remember this is your life and you only get one
If you obsess about what other people think of you, it could stop you living your life to your full potential.
It could make you miserable.
You have this one glorious, messy, beautiful life to live and that’s all you get.
Don’t waste it worrying about what other people think of you.
Help people, love people and be kind to them but get on with your own life. You can’t make everyone happy all the time.
If you are looking to ramp up your personal growth, I have 10 great online courses for you to pick from in this post – 10 Best Online Personal Growth Courses.
Be brave. Be courageous and most of all be yourself, without caring what people think.
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