On Monday, I talked about why we all care so much what other people think about us. Not that I have an exact explanation, but I have my theories. I felt like it only made sense to follow up with how to STOP caring about what other people think.
Disclaimer: I do NOT have this down pat. I definitely still care way too much, and I hate that I do, but these are some things that I do when I catch myself being too aware of the rest of the world.
1. Remind yourself of the people whose opinions actually matter.
This is a smaller list than you think. Of course, the only one who actually has to be happy with yourself is you, and you are entitled to cut out any toxic people who make you feel badly, and no one is allowed to tell you how to live your life. That being said, there are a few people whose opinions I value, and genuinely care what they think and have to say, and I try to live my life in a way that they will respect and be proud of. Just as an example, here’s my list:
-God. My parents. My grandparents. My boyfriend. My best friends.
Yeah, that’s it. The guy sitting in traffic next to me? The couple in front of me in line at the store? The girls in my class? Doesn’t matter. Decide on your own list, and run through it in your mind in moments you find yourself caring too much about how you appear.
2. Ask yourself what consequence you’re really trying to avoid.
If this random person is actually judging you as you think they are, what’s the consequence of that? What exactly are you trying to avoid? Are you afraid of being ridiculed publicly? Are you afraid of people talking badly behind your back? Are you afraid of losing friends? Are you just afraid of that judgy thought existing in someone’s mind? Try to really narrow it down. And then…
3. Ask yourself if that consequence would really be so bad.
Being ridiculed in public would be really embarrassing, but would your life end, or would you be afraid to leave your house? If people are talking badly about you behind your back, are they really the petty, negative individuals you want to be impacting your life? Because they probably aren’t giving what you think of them a second thought. If your friends would abandon you over whatever decision you’re trying to make, are they really the supportive, loving people you need in your life anyway? Do you see where this is all going?
4. DON’T STOP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING!
This can manifest in a number of ways, but all of them definitely require stepping out of your comfort zone, so get ready. If you’re worried about people judging you for listening to Hannah Montana at top volume with your windows down, resist the urge to side glance at drivers next to you and turn the radio lower. Just keep rocking out and ignoring. On the other end, if you’re worried about people judging you for leaving a graduate school program, but you’re sure the decision is right for you, then just make it. Everyone will get over it, and that decision impacts YOUR life, NOT theirs.
It’s a lot of self-analysis, a lot of self-awareness, and a lot of stepping out of your comfort zone, but going through this thought process tends to help me when I’m really caught up with the world around me. This is exactly what I was going through when I was trying to decide if I wanted to start a blog. I ultimately decided it was worth it, put on my big girl pants, and said screw everyone else, I’m trying something new. And guess what? The world is still turning, I still exist, and everything is pretty okay.
I hope that was somewhat helpful! Let me know what you think, or if you have anything you do to help you stop caring so much about people’s opinions!