Stop Caring About What Everyone Else Thinks

Just stop caring what everyone else thinks of you. It’s easier said than done. I’m a hypocrite who literally cares what everyone thinks. I can be absurdly self-conscious to a fault — because I love to be loved, and hate to be hated. It’s natural to want everyone to accept you, but at some point we have to realize that it’s impossible to please the entire world. Someone out there despises your personality, and that’s completely okay. There are people out there who will search for specific reasons to dislike you, because of hearsay, gossip or even based off of nothing at all. After acknowledging and accepting these facts, it’s time for us to firmly stop giving a damn.

Not only do we try to please other people, but we do so because we’re far too concerned with their perception of us. Do they think I’m cool? Do they find me interesting? Oh, God — what if they hate my jokes? What if they don’t like my face? Should I have worn this shirt? I shouldn’t have worn this shirt! Caring about the opinions of everyone we come in contact with is a nerve-racking struggle. Consider how hard it is to walk on eggshells around one person. Now realize that you tip toe on them every time you try to act within a mold, that you reckon fits whoever you’re with at any given time. We aren’t Visa — so let’s stop trying to be accepted everywhere. The misconception that it’s possible to be everyone’s favorite person is sadly false, so let’s not strive for unattainable goals.

When we adapt this overly self-aware mindset, we become less enjoyable people. For example, maybe you go to club and don’t dance, because you fear that onlookers will be amused by your lack of rhythm. So when the crew you’re with heads out to the dance floor, you refrain from joining and play the role of party-pooper. But who really cares if you aren’t capable of moving like Usher or Justin Timberlake; 99% of the club isn’t professional dancers. Even if they were, who cares? You and I do, but we shouldn’t. We should put our uncoordinated asses on full display and dance like we’ve been doing it for years. Even if it looks like a heavily medicated fish out of water, pop and lock it like there’s no tomorrow.

Aside from dancing, this applies to other aspects of life. Anytime you’d like to do something, but refrain in fear of the public’s perception, you’re caring too much. We know in advance that overcoming shyness and fear is beyond challenging, so a concentrated effort will need to be in order. We must force ourselves to take long, confident strides outside of our comfort zone — and most importantly, enjoy doing so. Have fun with it. Force yourself to assertively perform actions that you’re typically uncomfortable doing, with as much poise as possible. I’ve come to find that confidence is somewhat like a muscle. A person can exercise and test their confidence until it grows into a powerful bicep-esque muscle, that we can boldly flex to the rest of the world.

Along with increasing our self-belief, we’ll realize that we’re caring less about how we are perceived — which is the goal here. We want to be as we naturally, instinctively are. In addition, we’d want everyone to embrace us. Here’s the thing; it may sound rude, but you’re not that important to every person in your presence. That’s not a bad thing; it should be comforting in a way. It’s easy to overthink and feel as if all eyes are on you, when in reality they’re everywhere else. Others aren’t fixated on your every move, so that should provide you with some peace of mind.

If you fear that others don’t approve of you, or talk sh-t as soon as you exit the room, you may be right. Perhaps people aren’t gigantic fans of yours, and are badmouthing you right this very moment — but there’s nothing you can do. Focus that energy that used to be spent creating a façade that others like, on embracing the individual that you are. If you’re satisfied it’ll probably show tenfold.

We must make the firm choice to stop caring. No — that doesn’t mean treat others like crap; it just means value one opinion — your own. No holding back, no playing it safe, no desperately seeking approval. We are too dependent on other folks’ opinions. It’s become a drug that we’re unhealthily addicted to. Treat this as a diet. Follow it strictly though, like it’s a fresh new year’s resolution. Be authentic, be true to yourself, and be happy to do so. TC Mark

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  • Tired

    Thank you for something I discovered upon graduating high school with a bunch of people who just never liked me. If it’s taken you this long, I feel kind of bad.

    Also, sometimes that person who just dislikes you for no apparent reason is your own mother. Kind of hard to stop caring then.

    • j.t lake

      cry me a river,.

    • Sea

      part of her aging, i guess?

    • R.

      Wow, why do you have to be such a dick? Maybe that’s why no one liked you in high school.

      Just because you realized this before someone else doesn’t make you any better than anyone. Don’t try to use this place as a forum to garner sympathy, which you’re making even more difficult for yourself by being a jerk.

  • http://twitter.com/dafnyduck Daphne (Zeros&Fives) (@dafnyduck)

    Thank you for a wonderful article! I’ve been struggling with this for a very long time. It’s hard, but I’m trying. :)

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/07/stop-caring-about-what-everyone-else-thinks/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • Nina Thomas

    LOVE this post, plus when you pretend to be like someone else to please others, they only really like the shell of you. THEY DONT LIKE YOU!

  • johnschu12

    This is the reason I finally started blogging. I still have the “caring” problem in the fact that about 90% of what I write doesn’t actually end up on the blog (most of the time, I think my own writing sucks). But taking the step to put myself out there has been crazy rewarding nonetheless.

    Great post Christopher… I agree wholeheartedly. Especially this: “When we adapt this overly self-aware mindset, we become less enjoyable people.”

  • http://traveler6791.wordpress.com KelseySaysHi

    I just know that everyone else always follows and envies the person who does their own thing.

  • Lena

    so true!! Yet it is much easier said than done!

  • http://brokenemptysoul.wordpress.com stephzxzxzx

    Reblogged this on My Blog.

  • Sea

    so true. I read somewhere that when you enter a room, nobody really cares about you, they care more about what you think about them, if you’re judging them.

    So it’s best to focus on making people feel good/happy/special, it makes you feel good about yourself too.

  • Sal

    I’m with you 110%. I don’t care if “society” says its wrong, I’m gonna keep beating up Jews and homosexuals. Gotta be true to me.

  • http://lifeofajengkelkid.wordpress.com taemnicole

    Reblogged this on Indigo.

  • PEP

    being overly self- conscious of what others may think to the point of inhibiting yourself is pretty narcissistic.

  • Danielle

    This is why I read Thought Catalog.

  • elevendeuce11

    this is something i have realized as i get older & am trying to make a daily part of my life in all aspects. worry less about the activity and opinions of others & focus on the things that truly make you happy & fulfilled. this piece just encompassed all of that- kudos.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MeltronHD Meltron Hd

    Everyone judges each other all the time! I’m sure we all know this…
    Although I’m somewhat of a mixed bag of nervousness and aloofness. If approach people who I think don’t like me, I tend to avoid conversing with them especially if I do not think they respond to me well or make me feel welcome at all. I actually do care about what people think of me and I also expect them to care about how I receive them too. Not giving a shit at all so to speak is like a person with no fucking manners or social conditioning.

    In the smallest way, I think caring about what people think of you matters but it only matters when it comes to people who actually “know” you and care about what you think. I wouldn’t give a stranger constructive criticism. They don’t give a fuck. Even worse! If I really did and they did respond, maybe what I what said could really shake their core for all the shallow and superficial reasons they could think of. Either way I don’t think they’re maladjusted for thinking that way. It is possible that they have a sensitive, fragile egos.

    It’s important to know that we all have a sensitive fragile ego.
    We are all susceptible to disapproval and criticism.
    We all care about what someone thinks of us in some small way. It’s not something that stops.

    But that doesn’t mean you are not confident or you are a people pleaser.
    It all depends on recovery and your ability to accept other people’s view of you. A bit of self reflection doesn’t hurt. Humility and awareness are pretty much key in getting over anything negative.

  • onyae

    I like this article. It hit’s home for a lot of us

  • http://twitter.com/mexifrida FC

    I’ve always been hypervigilant in social situations.
    A lot of times, completely doing myself a disservice.
    So far, every time I have taken the sort of advice in the article, I have never regretted it.
    Those were some of the moments I have felt the proudest of myself.
    This made me remember how good that feeling of overcoming that fear felt and I feel more empowered to step out of the comfort-zone you described.

  • mc

    How does one accomplish this thing you call “stop caring what other people think” when you have a raging ocd condition? Therapy, I guess?

  • http://loveisallaroundme.wordpress.com loveisallaroundme

    Reblogged this on A Different Story and commented:
    This is exactly what everybody should read.

  • Michelle

    You’re becoming my favorite writer on the thought catalog. Keep the articles coming!

  • http://charmanize.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/stop-caring-about-what-everyone-else-thinks/ Stop Caring About What Everyone Else Thinks « Charmanize

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  • http://lionessyawn.wordpress.com lionessyawn

    Reblogged this on dykes & diatribes / texan testiness and commented:
    Moi, j’en ai beaucoup de sentiments. Étant seul est si important. L’étude pour pas se soucier est si importante. Lâchant est si important. Souvenez, Souvenez, Souvenez.

  • http://gravatar.com/1111 1111a

    “We must make the firm choice to stop caring. No — that doesn’t mean treat others like crap”

    Thank you for rolling out this tired platitude and ruining your own article. Not treating others like crap means caring about what others think. You can not treat them like crap exactly so much as you are willing to care about when they feel like they are being treated like crap. I’m not saying whether you should care or not, but the two come entirely hand in hand.

  • http://lovelikeangels.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/fuck-you-gud/ Fuck You, gud. « The Paranoid Delusions of A Narcissist

    […] The amusing and ironic part of it is that I read an article today on Thought Catalog entitled Stop Caring What Everyone Else Thinks, which basically mirrored my hypocritical thoughts about the whole issue of caring what others […]

  • http://yanskydoodle.wordpress.com Ariane Astraea
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