There was a time in my life when seeking other people’s approval weighed pretty heavily on me. When I wanted to do something, even felt strongly that I should do something, the idea first had to pass the mental gauntlet of “what will everyone think?!?”😨😬
Of course, this is an absolutely paralyzing proposition, because no matter what you do, somebody somewhere is gonna have a problem with it. 😳 Right?!? 🙄
More recently, I’ve realized something: I just don’t care anymore! And oh my word. It’s a great feeling. It’s just lightness and freedom and I only wish I could have felt like this my whole life!
So what happened? I don’t know! 😆 Maybe it’s just a benefit of getting older. But I thought I’d try and deconstruct the mindset a little bit to give anyone struggling with this a leg up, the sooner the better. 👵🏻 😉
Psst… This is Not License to Be a Jerk
But real quick… Let’s talk about what not caring what other people think isn’t.
It isn’t being hurt so many times that you develop a thick, crusty outer shell to crawl deep inside of and keep the world out. Not caring what other people think isn’t completely losing your filter. It’s not a license to verbally vomit whatever snarky thing pops into your head. And it doesn’t mean you can stop being considerate of others’ needs and feelings.
Just because you aren’t approval seeking, doesn’t mean you want to leave a Genghis Khan style trail of conflict and destruction in your wake. 👹🚫 Okay? 😜
Maybe that’s part of what we are afraid of when we worry what other people think. We don’t want to be THAT person. Which is a pretty good sign you never would be THAT person. You’re kind, you’re considerate, and you want to make others happy. The thing we have to realize is, freeing yourself from the opinions of others doesn’t take away from that goodness at all. It just opens you up to being the authentic you, the one who can do big things and serve in greater ways than just tip toeing around trying not to rock the boat.
So no, when you stop caring what everyone thinks you do not become a jerk. Good news, right? 😆 Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s jump in to how to get into the right frame of mind…
#1 Don’t Assume You Know What Other People Think
This is going to be the easiest reframe, it’s just simple: You never really know what someone else is thinking.
And yet, we all tend to jump to conclusions. Maybe an acquaintance didn’t answer your email promptly, or accept your friend request online, so of course they hate your guts, right? You must have said something wrong. Like really, really wrong and hate worthy. 😆 So of course, we worry and stew about what worst case scenario thoughts someone is having about us.
The truth is, they probably aren’t thinking about us at all! We just don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life or head. Whatever it is, it’s most likely about them and not us.
Now if you really want to know what’s going on with someone, you could always ask, right? Like, “Hey, I didn’t hear back from you… Are you okay?” Notice the emphasis on “are you“, not “are we”, or “did I do something wrong?”. For Pete’s sake, unless you really did something mean you need to apologize for, stop making it all about yourself! 😜😂
Sometimes we have to take our ego out of the equation. Which ironically, is easier to do when you feel good about yourself in the first place… which brings us to point #2…
#2 Know Who You Are
So let’s say the worst case scenario is true. Someone doesn’t like you. They think you’re kind of awful. If you came up in conversation they’d say things like “What a train wreck!” “So annoying!” “Who does she think she is?!?”
Does what they think of you change anything for you? Does everyone have to like you to make you a good person? If people don’t get you, are you any less wonderful?
Nope. Who you are doesn’t change based on what someone else thinks you are.
Not everyone will understand you, relate to you, or even like you. And that’s okay. They don’t know your heart. You are the one who needs to know your own heart, and live your life in a way you can feel good about. Do things with integrity, be kind, and apologize when needed. But never apologize for being yourself.
#3 Know Your Worth
Beyond knowing who you are, you need to know your value. No other human being on the planet gets to tell you what you are worth, that you are worthy. Never give anyone that power, it isn’t theirs to have.
This is easy to say, but difficult to put into practice, particularly in our modern world where many of us put our work out on the internet for strangers to critique. 🤔 It can be tempting to measure our worth in likes, followers, and page views. But we, as human beings, cannot be quantified on any such level.
Your work is not your worth. And whether people approve of, enjoy, or relate to your work is also not a reflection of your worthiness. But sometimes we don’t even get that far. We never put ourselves out there because we’re so worried about what people think! We take our gems and hide them because we’re worried other people will say they’re just boring rocks.
Isn’t that sad? Just think, someone needs what you have to offer. Your words, your art, your invention, your product, your opportunity. But they’ll never find out about you if you’re hiding in fear!
Will everyone see your value? Nope. Does the waitress asking everyone if they want a cup of coffee run off crying when someone says they don’t like coffee? “Everyone hates this coffee stuff! It’s worthless, why do I even bother?!” 😭 Of course not, that’s just silly! (BTW, that’s an illustration I got from network marketing guru Sarah Robbins.) 😉
Yup, coffee is still really valuable even though it doesn’t sit well with everyone. You won’t be everyone’s cup of coffee, but that doesn’t take anything away from who you are. The longer you put yourself out there, the more you learn to offer your gifts without attaching your ego to whether someone else takes it.
And when you find your people, they will be like “YES!” and they’ll absolutely love you.
Remember, with any new thought pattern, it’s going to take time to make it a habit. So take what resonates most with you from this post and create your own affirmations. Use them to speak some life into yourself anytime you feel that worrisome self doubt creeping in. Some examples:
- I don’t know what goes on in anyone else’s head and they don’t know what goes on in my heart.
- What they might think of me doesn’t change who I am. And I am brave, powerful, and living life on purpose.
- There are so many people who need what I have to offer. I am living fully into my gifts and attracting my tribe!
I think you get the idea. 😉
So what’s your biggest takeaway from this post? Do you have any other ideas? Share them with us in the comments! And be on the lookout for the next article on this topic, because we’re going to go a little deeper into how to grow into your confidence. 💪 Talk to you soon!