Updated: Mar 8
I spent the greater part of my life caring what other people thought of me, almost obsessively too. I can place partial blame on my OCD, but that’s like a solid 10% if that. I know I am not alone in this either. Majority of the world, especially if you are under the age of 30, care so deeply about what other people think of them. It’s the motivating force behind why we post on social media, am I right? It’s the reason why we only post our highlight reels and not what the day-to-day chaos really looks like. It’s a solid reason in why we stage so many of our posts, think of the perfect caption, and eagerly await our likes to increase by the hour.
It’s human nature to crave connection with others. With that comes the desire to be liked by others and be a likeable person, but the beauty of life is that we are all so uniquely different which means we will not mesh with everyone. It’s what makes finding love and dear friends so valuable and special. It’s what makes human interaction so exciting. But, we thrive on that pack mentality and being apart of the group so it only makes sense to want be please everyone in exchange for being a part of the pack. Guess what, friends. I was a people pleaser and the moment I decided to stop, I got my freedom back.
Here’s the problem though, being a people pleaser is toxic.
(as seen on the Cambridge Dictionary):
People pleasing is a behavioral response to fear of rejection/fear of disapproval.
People pleasers rarely take care of themselves, are always putting others’ wants and needs before their own. They also never say “no” and lack proper boundaries with people. And to a degree, they are fake without even realizing it.
What do I mean? People pleasers haven’t connected with themselves enough to understand why they feel the need to be at everyone’s beck and call and they are so conditioned to putting on a smile and suppressing their own issues and emotions to focus on everyone else’s. This is someone who deeply cares what other people think but also deeply needs outside validation. That was me. I was that. I needed others’ validation and I wanted so badly to be liked by everyone. I cared so deeply about what other people thought of me and how that defined me.
My fear of not being accepted was so debilitating, that I just decided to stop trying to be social so I wouldn’t have to work so hard to be what others wanted me to be.
Learning How to Accept Yourself and Not Care What Others Think
1 // Get to Know Yourself
This is hard and it’s especially hard in your early twenties when you’re just becoming an adult and understanding the balance of life and maturity, adulthood and still having fun, responsibility and actions. I say do the inner work and that could be hard to understand what exactly that means and what entails so I will break it down for ya…
Write down what brings positive feelings to your life and what brings negative feelings to your life. This list can be simple or extensive.
Start to evaluate the friends and relationships you have in your life. Which relationships are healthy vs. toxic, and which relationships are two-way vs. one-way.
Figure out what your goals are, short-term and long-term. Figure out what you want your life to look and feel like, anything that doesn’t contribute to that needs to go.
Understand why you care so much about what other people think and their opinions of you and what void you are trying to fill, or what you are trying to avoid. Understand what you are trying to validate and why.
2 // Understand What Makes You Unique
Make a list and write down 15 qualities you like about yourself. This can be psychical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. Boost your self-confidence and start to appreciate things that make you uniquely you. Make this list nice and clean, don’t messily write these traits down because I want you to revisit this list each and every morning when you wake up. Keep it on your nightstand next to your phone and when you wake up, pick up your list first before your phone.
3 // Learn to Speak Up for Yourself and your Beliefs
Your voice is one of the most powerful things you have. The moment I started standing up and speaking up on my morals, values, and beliefs, the moment other people’s opinions faded into the background. If someone says something you don’t like, speak up. If someone does something you don’t agree with, speak up. Do NOT be a doormat. When speaking as your authentic self, people start to respect and honor you more. Let them do so. Don’t take away their opportunity to get to know the real you, you would only do them a disservice.
4 // Think How You Think Others are Thinking
This sounds confusing, I know but hang with me for a second. I used to think everyone noticed everything little thing about myself that I did. My winged liner was crooked, my hair was frizzy, my allergies are making my eyes watery, etc. I was so concerned that everyone would pick up on these insecurities until I did a role reversal. Do I noticed people’s minor details in full scrutiny each and every day? No, way. So, the likelihood that people are watching and critiquing your every move is honestly just in your mind. The minute you realize that, the minute you can slowdown and start to get out of your head. Calm down that inner voice, she’s always wrong.
5 // Realize Any Judgement is Always about the Other Person and Never About You
With age you start to understand that any time someone critiques you, judges you, or dislikes you, it’s always because of a personal unresolved issue within themselves. For instance, if someone doesn’t like you, it’s probably because you remind them of someone or something that causes them discomfort. If someone judges you, it’s probably because you have something or you are something they wish they had/were. If someone critiques you, it’s probably because they wish they had more self confidence to own themselves as you own yourself. It’s never about you and always about them. The minute you realize this and live with this new piece of information, you have set yourself free from caring so deeply about others’ opinions.
6 // You are Doing the Best You Can, Appreciate That
Understand that we are all doing our best, and with each day comes new opportunities to learn more about ourselves, others, and the universe. Use each day as a day to do better and be better for you. Focus less on what other people are doing and only focus on how you can level up. Appreciate your journey, appreciate where you are in life, and appreciate where you are headed. Be grateful.
7 // Scale back on Social Media
Comparison is the thief of joy, we all know this. So stop putting your mental through that circus of subconsciously comparing yourself to others. Stop looking at your likes, followers, and curated feeds. Scale it back and use that new found time to continue to work on yourself because it is a lifelong process. Who you are today is different than who you were yesterday. Constantly work on that relationship of getting to know yourself.
8 // Back Up and Mind Ya Business!
At the end of the day, unless it’s said to your face, anyone’s opinions or judgements of you aren’t your problem or your business. Stay focused on what you can control and what you can do to help evolve your own self and your life and keep it pushin’. Also, watch this video here to understand how I said “mind ya business!”
If you know the reference before watching the video, comment below now!
At the end of the day, not caring what other people think of you is a decision you make mentally. It is a habit you then work at daily until it becomes your new normal. You are not responsible for anyone’s happiness but your own so focus on that and make sure you are the happiest you could ever be alone. They always say you need to love yourself first before you can love anyone else and it is true. Your opinion of yourself is the only one that matters. Stop the mental warfare of comparing yourself with others and start flourishing as your own person. Understand that you are worthy and enough just the way you are, and you will find your pack of people once you own it.
How do you manage the desire to compare? How do you own your light? Share with us in the comments!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: 25 Journal Writing Prompts for Mental Health The Power of Saying No How To Unapologetically Set Healthy Boundaries in Your Life
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