Your self-esteem is tied to the yo-yo of what other people think of you. When other people approve of you and your decisions? You feel great! When other people disapprove of you? You feel like crap. You end up becoming a slave to what other people want. Running around trying to please everyone with every decision. Never really tuning into your own needs.
This people pleasing turns into you squashing your own desires. And contorting and molding yourself to fit the idea of what other people think you “should” be. You stop showing your whole personality. You stop feeling like you can be yourself. And you stop trusting your own judgment because you assume that other people know better!
This cascades into essentially living a shell of a life.
Because when other people’s opinions are more important than your own you live life on their terms. Not yours. And yet, you’re the one who will be left with regret on your deathbed for not having lived a life truly authentic to who you are. They (and their opinions of you) will be long gone. And you’ll wonder why you gave them so much power over you.
The solution is simple, but not necessarily easy: Stop caring about what other people think and actively live your life.
Try it and you’ll get a better of benefits.
1. This is the most obvious benefit: life is better when you’re not so concerned about how other people will view you for your actions, choices, and decisions. There’s great freedom from doing what makes you happy; being authentically yourself. Whether this is something as simple as how you dress, the career path you choose, or anything else. When you’re true to yourself and don’t allow the assumed thoughts of others dictate your choices, life possibilities expand, and your joy increases.
2. We’re overly concerned with what others think of us, and don’t even realize it. Once you stopped basing many of my choices off of what you expected other people to think, or how they might react, you couldn’t help but notice that many do what you used to: make choices based on the concern of others’ opinions.
Here’s a common example: have you ever chosen a meal at a restaurant based on what everyone else at the table ordered? You’re at a restaurant known for its incredible brick oven pizza but everyone ordered a grilled chicken salad. When it was your turn to order instead of saying, “Margarita pizza, please,” you went along with the crowd and echoed, “I guess I’ll have the chicken salad too.”
I’m willing to bet you’ve done this (I have too); research has shown that our drink and meal choices are influenced by what people around us order, so you’re not alone. The solution is simple: order what you want regardless of what everyone else is having. It may feel strange at first if you’re used to going along with the crowd, but it gets easier over time.
So next time, get the pizza if you want the pizza.
3. People like you more. When you don’t base your life choices on what you assume other people might think, people are free to see the real you. This authenticity — raw beauty stripped of the facade — is illuminating. Those who already like you will begin to appreciate you even more.
This leads to genuine, lasting relationships. I’ll take this over superficial, small talk acquaintances any day.
4. People who didn’t like you in the first place still won’t like you. You may not see this as a benefit, so allow me to explain. If someone didn’t like you when you were trying to be what they wanted or expected, they may still not like you once you stop caring what they think. This, in my opinion, is a good thing. Not everyone will like you; get over it and let these people fall to the wayside. You don’t need them in your life.
5. Some people suck. Some people will always judge you. Some will always gossip about you. Whether you do what they think is right or do what you want, they will always be there to criticize your every decision. These same individuals likely don’t follow The One Rule to Not Suck at Life (i.e., don’t be an asshole), so they’re allowing their true character to shine forth.
Some may forever be assholes, but others may be inspired by your actions — when you begin to do the things you want to do and not caring what they, or anyone else, think. Regardless, there will always be negative people in this world and someone will always judge you for something. Therefore the only logical solution is to remain true to yourself, do the things that feel right to you, lead the life you want to live, and realize with some people you can’t win, so don’t waste your breath trying.
And, remember: don’t complain about things you can’t change. A simple solution is to shut-up and do something.
Life is better when we actively live our lives and don’t allow what other people think (or oftentimes what we incorrectly assume other people think) dictate our choices. Be authentically, unapologetically yourself and stop caring about what other people think. When you do, you’ll reap the 10 benefits explained above, and likely many more.
But what’s right for her may not be right for you. Your path is unique and different and special. Just like you! So checking in with your intuitive knowledge about who you are and what you really desire is essential to let go of others opinions. Because then you’ll always have a connection with your truth!
Check out my related post: Are you better than others?