Recently, a woman wrote to me expressing her dismay that a family member had wrongly obtained confidential financial information about her and then revealed it to
other family members. It wasn’t information that anyone needed to act on. You might say, it was none of their business. And you’d be right. She cared intensely what others in her family knew about her personal finances because she cares about what they will think. Whether you know it or not, you care what others think about you too. Seeking approval from others is something you may do consciously. You care about what others think about you when you:
- Take care of your physical appearance
- Choose clothes that flatter your size, shape or coloring
- Choose words that are diplomatic
- Post status updates or photos on social media sites to impress rather than to express
- Purchase items because they symbolize status
- Choose vacation destinations to impress others rather than for your anticipated enjoyment
You shouldn’t necessarily stop doing any of these things. Obviously, some of these examples are part of the social lubricant that keeps your interactions friction-free. Some of them also support your own sense of self-respect. It’s up to you whether your vacation takes you where you want to go or to where others will be impressed with your choice. It’s up to you whether you buy what gives you pleasure and suits your needs or what will make others see you in a certain way. You may also subconsciously seek approval from others in order to boost your sense of self-worth, as in the case of this woman. She cares too much about what others think.
Stop Caring About What Others Think
When you intensely care what others say or think, it is because you believe that their opinions of you are more accurate and more important than your own opinion of yourself. When you focus on what others think, you:
- Second-guess your choices
- Allow others to minimize your enjoyment of your own life
- Become resentful
- Become bitter
- Miss out on doing things you’d like to do
- Do things you don’t want to do
Most importantly, when you focus too much on what others think of you, you give away your power to take care of your needs.
Set Yourself Free
You reclaim your self-respect and gain your freedom when you stop caring about what others know about you or tell about you. Caring less about what others think is not easy, but your reward is that you will begin to think more of yourself. It is easier to do this when you know your values and you have established boundaries about how you will interact with others – what you will allow them to do. No matter what you decide or how well you maintain your boundaries, there will always be a few people in your life who try to manipulate and control you. They will meddle, gossip and otherwise attempt to make you feel bad about yourself, your choices, even your life circumstances. When you know your values and have established your boundaries your boundaries, you also know at what point you don’t need those people in your life. If you can’t avoid them completely, then limit your interactions with them. Ask yourself this: What would your life be like if you didn’t care what others think? What can you do to stop listening to the criticism you imagine or hear from them?
Live Honest, Open and True
When you’re upset with what someone knows about you, ask yourself, why do you care? Then ask yourself, how would I feel if I stopped caring about this? I believe in you and want the best for you and know you can achieve the best for yourself.
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Do you struggle with caring too much about what others think of you or know about you? Tell me about it in the comments or tweet me @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!