The good news is that caring about what people think doesn’t last forever—because it can’t.
It is healthy to care what other people think—to a point. If we care too much, however, eventually we explode, implode or make some serious life changes.
We want our friends and loved ones to respect and admire us, but what most people don’t understand is that this is different from caring about what people think about us. Our friends and loved ones respect and admire us for the person that we are and not for the decisions that we make.
I used to define myself by what others thought of me. I had no real sense of self. As I began to learn more and more about myself, I learned to care less and less about what others thought of me.
Here are ten amazing things that can happen when we stop caring about what other people think:
1. We follow our dreams.
The older I get, the closer my “dream job” is to my reality. When I stopped listening to what people told me to do and started listening to my intuition, I started to follow my dreams.
Granted, this involved a lot of mistake making, inner turmoil and confusion. It involved taking jobs that I dreaded for the paycheck until I finally reached my breaking point.
My breaking point looked like this: I realized that I would never be satisfied if I didn’t at least give my dreams a fair shot at coming true.
(Hint: Most people think that being a yoga teacher isn’t a real job.)
For a long time I let this thought fester my brain and prevent me from following the path to become a yoga teacher. Eventually, I hit a breaking point and decided that I didn’t want to be like most people, anyway.
2. We stop feeling obligated to spend time with people we don’t like.
We’ve all had a friend or two whom we secretly couldn’t stand. Maybe we feel obligated to stay friends with them, we feel bad for them or we have mutual friends that render “making the break” difficult. Yet every time we spend time with this person, we end up feeling worse about ourselves.
But when we stop caring what people think, we don’t worry about who we decide to be friends with. We choose who we spend our time with and it’s typically people who we like. Sounds like common sense, right?
Be friends with people you like spending time with and don’t settle for less.
3. We apologize less.
This doesn’t mean I am never sorry, because I am. I apologize when I feel that I have done something wrong, hurt someone or disrespected someone. Other than that, apologizing for my life is something I no longer do. Essentially, I live the #sorrynotsorry life.
Saying sorry to someone for the way that we live our life is undervaluing ourselves. I don’t apologize often anymore because I am confident in my values, morals, actions and interactions with others.
4. We stop needing other people’s approval.
I just took a huge sigh of relief after writing this. This is huge.
When we spend a lot of our time seeking approval from others, nothing we do is enough. People cannot define our worth for us, and we will be unsuccessful if this is how we choose to define our worth.
We maintain the power to define our own worth.
We don’t need anyone’s approval to start our own business, to go back to school, to buy those shoes that we love or to adopt an adorable Shiba Inu dog. Read that again, please: We do not need anyone’s approval.
5. We surround ourselves only with people who have healthy boundaries.
What an amazing thing it is when we stop caring what people think. When we care about what other people think, often we surround ourselves with people who are similar. These are people who tend to be co-dependent.
When we stop caring what people think, we begin to invite people into our lives who have healthy boundaries. They don’t say things like “You should really break up with your boyfriend”, “Your hair looked better before your haircut” or other irritating and unhelpful statements.
Healthy people have boundaries. They don’t pass judgment on our lives. They are in our lives because they enjoy our company.
6. We have room for more hobbies and passions.
When we have more space in our heads because we’ve stopped worrying so much about what others think, we have time for new hobbies. Things that take up space in our head actually take up time and energy, too.
When we have more time and energy, we get involved in creative things, like sports, art, community work, knitting or painting. Whatever our interests are, we make more space for it in our mind and in our life.
7. We become more confident and bold.
This is a really awesome thing. It’s different for everyone. For me, it’s meant standing up for what I believe in. Standing up for myself. Standing up for causes that are important to me. Not being afraid of what other people will think or say. Stating my mind, unapologetically.
Fortune favors the bold, friends.
8. We learn to embrace our mistakes.
I used to try to be perfect. When I made mistakes, I didn’t want anyone to notice. I had a tendency to cover them up and try to make people think I was perfect. This was because, at my core, I thought people would accept me if they thought I was perfect.
This is skewed thinking.
Our friends and loved ones respect and admire us for the person that we are and not for the decisions that we make—and oh by the way, everyone makes mistakes. When we begin to care less about what other people think, we accept our mistakes.
This even means we laugh and make fun of ourselves! We take ourselves lightly.
We embrace our mistakes and view them as learning opportunities.
9. We no longer live in fear and anxiety.
These are some of the feelings that were associated with caring about what others thought of me: Fear, anxiety, low self-esteem and insecurity. All those feelings started to diminish when I began believing in myself more.
10. We believe in ourselves and realize that’s all that matters.
We have faith in our abilities, our dreams, our goals and ourselves. We trust ourselves. We trust that we can accomplish these things. We don’t need other people to tell us that we can. We don’t need other people to tell us that we are okay anymore.
We are our own best friends.
Author: Ali Mariani
Editor: Alli Sarazen