Most people are born with the simple desire to be liked and looked upon with favor by those around them. It can take a very strong person to simply “not care” what others think and to live their lives authentically. We do it well as children, simply free to exist and be “ourselves”. But as we grow societal expectations can change that.
Social media has made it possible for everyone to weigh on someone's life by simply "liking" something or not. The sad reality is that we made all of it possible as we are members of this social web and expose ourselves to constant judgment. WHY? What is so wrong about keeping your life simply yours. Privacy should be a thing.
Of course, sometimes social influence can change us for the good, like knowing that taking things from others is bad and shouldn’t be done, etc. But sometimes these expectations come at the cost of our own ideas and feelings.
So, many adults are having to relearn the art of not caring so much about what others think. Especially those who may have grown up without proper emotional support from the adults around them [x].
Like many other situations in life, the extremes can be harmful.
Caring too much about what people think can cause us extreme stress, make it difficult to say no, and stop us from setting healthy boundaries with those around us.
Not caring enough about what others think could cause us to become arrogant, self-centered, or egotistical.
So how can we find the right balance?
First off: how good are you at knowing what you really want?
If this is something you struggle with (if even voicing an opinion about where you want to eat sends you into a fit of anxiety and panic), therapy can be a great place to start, depending on how serious the matter is. But looking inwards is the first step to take when trying to figure out what you want and think.
When we give others the power over how we see ourselves, it can be dangerous. We tailor our opinions and thoughts to those around us and lose our sense of self.
Here are some ways to not care so much, and to be a more honest version of yourself. [x]
People aren’t really paying attention that much. Say you misspoke and said something embarrassing. You might remember that moment for the rest of your life, but will anyone else? More often than not, everyone is too wrapped up in their own lives to really care about outside forces. And even if they remember it a bit, it’s usually never as big of a deal as we create it to be.
Keep perspective. A lot of other people’s opinions are based on their own upbringing, values, and beliefs. Do those align with yours? They may just be seeing things from their side of things, and not yours. That is just fine.
You know best. You are the only person who really knows what’s good for you or what you want at the end of the day. Trust in that.
Address your triggers. Everyone brings half to the table– and that includes their own trauma and triggers. If someone said something that upset you: pause. Take a minute to reflect. Were they intentionally being mean? Or do you maybe have a hard time taking any criticisms because of your own past? Did the interaction remind you of something that happened or someone in your past? To move ahead with compassion for others, addressing and healing your own trauma is an essential step.
Don’t try to please everyone. It’s exhausting and simply impossible. It will dilute your boundaries and who you really are. Focus more on doing things that make you happy at the end of the day.
Opinions are always changing. We are all in flux. And it’s allowed, even encouraged. It shows we have learned and are growing as an individual.
Practice mindfulness. Yoga, meditation, walking, journaling, painting, exercising– whatever that “thing” is that helps you connect to yourself and the present. Make time for that in your daily life.
Most importantly, lay off social media. There is no need to broadcast to the world who you are and how you are feeling. Do not seek approval from the masses: remember it is easy to have an opinion and judge without having skin in the game.
At the end of the day, the most constant person we have is ourselves. Staying true to that helps us lead a richer and fulfilling life. Z Form can help reveal your authentic self and when you do so, you are able to develop insight and reaffirm your values and beliefs. Celebrate YOU by asserting yourself.