HOW TO STOP CARING ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF YOU
It’s good to be aware of the impact we have on others but sometimes that gets in the way of us pursuing a meaningful, simple and intentional life. If you worry too much about how others react to your choices and decisions, here are some tips on how to stop caring about what other people think of you.
LIVING A SIMPLE, INTENTIONAL LIFE
Nothing complicates life quite the same as worrying about what other people think of you. Whilst we often think of simplifying life in terms of decluttering our stuff, creating more free time in our schedule or chasing the biggest, best new thing, much of what complicates our life comes from within.
The thoughts, feelings and mindsets we live with each day can make even a simple life seem quite complex. Caring too much about what other people think of you is one such mindset that can be destructive and complicated.
Let’s take a few examples. Some are related to life in general, some are related to living a simple life. Do any of them resonate with you?
- Afraid to say you can’t volunteer for something in case people think you’re selfish
- Worried you might be labelled boring if you choose a night in instead of a night on the town
- Not speaking up in a meeting in case you say the wrong thing
- Avoiding social events in case people might not want to talk to you
- Saying you’re exploring minimalism because people think it’s weird and extreme
- Dressing in the same style every day in case people think you’re boring or lack imagination
- Not standing up for yourself at work because you don’t like confrontation
- Afraid to train for a new career or go for a new job for fear of whether other people think you’re capable of doing it
- Choosing less toys for your kids because other parents will think you’re mean for not buying your child more toys
If you find yourself worrying too much about other people’s opinions then I hope you find the tips in this article helpful. Again, this isn’t just an article on finding confidence and courage in general life. Living a simpler life also takes a certain confidence and courage too.
WHY WE CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK
Some of us care more than others. I care a lot but my husband doesn’t care so much. I’m a natural people-pleaser, introvert, perfectionist, control-freak and Highly Sensitive Person. I’m prone to anxiety and I hate letting people down. I set high standards for myself and others and don’t want to disappoint. As a result, I care a lot (probably too much) about what other people think!
Growing up, this tricky personality trait hindered me in so many ways. Over the years, I’ve learnt to manage and overcome it, but it wasn’t always easy and I fall back into the worry trap in times of stress.
I used to question my choices and decisions, wonder what other people will say or do and how they’ll react. I kept things bottled up for fear of ridicule, judgement, criticism or comparison.
I’m pleased to say that these things don’t rattle me like they did. I probably wouldn’t be writing a blog that reaches people across the world if I didn’t have courage to stand by my thoughts and words.
But I know only too well that the world isn’t an easy place if you care too much what other people think of you. So, if what I’ve shared so far resonates with you, there are some ideas coming up on how to stop caring what other people think of you.
WHY IT AFFECTS HOW SIMPLE YOUR LIFE IS
Our mindset plays a vital role in shaping our decisions and actions in life. Our mindset can hold us back or give us courage to move forward.
When our mindset is negative and limiting we can’t give the best of ourselves to those who need it, including ourselves. We do ourselves a disservice and make life feel difficult, overwhelming, stressful and uncomfortable. This is the opposite of what a simpler life can gift us – time, space and freedom to create a meaningful, rewarding and more contented life.
When we worry too much about what other people think, fear, frustration and resentment can hold us back, clutter our brains and cloud our judgement.
To enjoy the benefits of a simpler life, it helps to be positive, engaged, present and receptive to every opportunity that adds value to our lives. You don’t want to be worrying about what other people will say or think. This is your life and how you lead it is up to you, not them.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”Dr. Seuss
SIMPLICITY AND COMPARISON
The other reason why caring what other people think of you can get in the way of a simpler lifestyle is that simplicity goes against what many of us are conditioned to believe creates a successful and happy life.
From every angle we’re encouraged to have more, be more, achieve more, buy more. Deliberately choosing to avoid consumerism, the fast pace of the busy world and to choose something slower, calmer and simpler is difficult.
Turning down party invitations, a place on a sought-after club for your kids, a promotion which (although it will bring in more money) could make it difficult to spend quality time with a young family.
These are just a few examples of how we’re expected to say yes to everything when actually, in our hearts and minds, we want to slow down and say no thank you. Not today.
Although there are many benefits to a simple life, simplifying life isn’t easy. In fact, it’s quite difficult sometimes and requires you to stop caring what other people think of you and do your own thing. That was what prompted this article.
HOW TO STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF YOU
Here are some tips and ideas on how to stop caring what other people think of you so you can live with confidence, clarity and intention.
1. Focus on yourself
This is a gentle and friendly reminder that we are all responsible for our own life and the only way you can really do that is to focus on yourself. Reconnect with yourself through journaling or a regular meditation and mindfulness practice. Make a list of things that you’d like to change or develop and an action plan to do just that. Stop focusing on what other people are doing in their lives and concentrate on your life instead. Easier said than done, but it does get easier with practice!
2. Listen to your inner voice
Sometimes we have gut instinct or a sixth sense. I always try to listen to my own inner voice because it’s turned out to be pretty accurate over the years. If something doesn’t feel right then it quite possibly isn’t. Your body sends out signals if your choices in life are a little off. Just think how you feel when you’re overwhelmed, stressed out and overtired. Trust your own judgement on what’s right for you. You know yourself the best.
3. Weigh up pros and cons for yourself
Sometimes it’s really helpful to get advice from a loved one that we trust. However, when we’re faced with a decision, it’s also helpful to decide for ourselves whether it’s right for us or not. After all, you’re the one with the facts and you know who your decision is going to affect. Don’t rely totally on someone else to make your decisions for you, as well-meaning as they may be.
4. Own your decisions
After you’ve made your decision, it’s important that you own it. That means following through or making a u-turn if it happens that your decision was a wrong one. Once you’ve made the decision, try not to make excuses or apportion blame if it doesn’t turn out to be the best choice. Most things you can change but you have to own it, face it and work out why it wasn’t right for you. Otherwise, no decisions, changes or u-turns you make will stick.
5. Avoid comparison
Comparison is the thief of joy. We’re all on different journeys and your destination might be different to someone else’s. You might have more or less resources and your priorities might be different too. Comparison is both time-consuming and unhelpful. You can’t compare apples and oranges so why compare your home, life, career, financial situation, holidays, wardrobe etc with your neighbour? You don’t know what goes on beneath the surface of their life anymore than they do yours. And, even if you do, just because they have supposedly better or more of all these things, that doesn’t always mean they’re happier. There’s a good relationship to be found between simplicity and happiness too!
6. Identify your priorities
One reason that we care what other people think so much is because we mistakenly believe that they’re doing life right and you might be doing it wrong. To stop this limiting mindset, I encourage you to get really clear on your own priorities. Keep them front and centre of your mind whenever you’re going about your daily life and making both big and small decisions. Define your priorities and stay true to them so you don’t get swayed or thrown off course by worrying about what other people are doing, saying or thinking. Your priorities are the things that truly matter to YOU, for the long-term. They’re much more important than caring what others might or might not be thinking just for today.
7. Are people really thinking about you as much as you think they are?
Most people have busy lives or they tend to be thinking more about their own lives than we realise. They’re probably thinking less about you and your life than you think they might be. Whilst you’re consumed with the minute details of your day to day and the judgement of others, most people will be navigating through their own life. Of course, they may still be thinking of you with kindness, compassion and love – not just in a negative way! Don’t dwell on what others think of you when they probably aren’t thinking about you that much anyway.
8. It’s ok to change your mind
If you make a mistake, take courage and confidence that it’s ok to change your mind if whatever you’ve decided doesn’t work out or suit you in time. There’s no loss of face or criticism to be had if you change your mind. In fact, taking control over your life and changing something that’s not working takes wisdom and strength.
9. Forget perfection
Sometimes we struggle to make a decision, take action and achieve change because we’re worried it won’t be perfect or right and that others will make comment. If we wait for something to be perfect, we’ll be waiting a long time. Perfection doesn’t exist and if something is ‘perfect’ for a split second, then it’s unlikely to stay perfect as we change and the seasons of our life change. Perfection is also subjective and one person’s notion of perfect is different from the next.
10. Everyone is different
Just as our definitions of perfect can differ, so too do people differ. What may be right for you could be wrong for someone else and vice versa. You do you, and don’t worry about what other people think because they (and what they need and like) might be different to you.
11. Choose your own path
At the end of the day, the best way to stop caring what other people think of you is to choose your own path and tread it with pride, confidence, presence and intention. Living intentionally and following your own simplicity journey will gift you so many benefits. The more you decide what’s right for you, the less you’ll care what others think.
OTHER RESOURCES ON MINDSET AND SIMPLIFYING LIFE
Here are some other articles which you might find helpful on mindset and simplifying life.
- How to feel less overwhelmed when life gets busy
- How to protect your mental health and get the most out of life
- How to be more present in life
- How to create a regular gratitude practice to improve your life
- How to show up for your life by creating space
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
I hope you found this article helpful if you struggle with caring too much about what other people think. This could be about anything, from your choice of clothes to, of course, choosing simplicity and a minimalist lifestyle.
I’d love to know if you worry what others will think. Has it held you back in life? Have you found ways to overcome this negative mindset and what tips could you share with others who are currently struggling? Let us know in the comments!
A FREE DOWNLOAD
If you struggle with negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs which get in the way of you living a meaningful, intentional life on your own terms, then you might like to try my free Shift Your Mindset workbook.
We’ll explore how you think about things now and how you can shift your mindset and begin to think more positively going forward.
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