Do you ever wish you wouldn’t care what other people think? Have you tried it but failed miserably? Invariably, we all do care what other people think, at least some of the time. The trouble is, in your heart of hearts you know that you shouldn’t care. So, to answer the question of how not to care what other people think, I went and did a bit of research, both for myself and for you.
Why Do You Care What Other People Think in the First Place?
Before we try to dismantle the process and get the tools “how not to care what other people think”, we need to look at the reasons for doing so in the first place. Research suggests that people are ultimately social creatures who derive true happiness from relationships. Rejection is an obstacle to social interaction, so when you care what other people think, you do so because you are afraid of rejection. This is natural and normal because we instinctively know the value and crucial importance of deep relationships.
The trouble is that this fear of rejection may stop you from being who you truly are. You begin to behave in a manner you feel is expected of you, even if you disagree deep down. Your actions and behaviour no longer represent your true identity which ironically will prevent you from building lasting relationships.
But how do you get past the fear of rejection? How do you not care about what other people think? There are five things that can help you in this process.
Set Standards for Yourself
To begin with, you need to contemplate what kind of person you think you are and would like to be. What values are important to you? What are you good at? What do you struggle with?. A little self-examination can go a long way toward building basic standards for yourself. If you are unsure, you can revert back to the “treat others as you would like to be treated yourself” strategy.
With a good dollop of self-knowledge, you can provide yourself with a foundation of behaviour. Once you know who you are, and how you would like to treat others and be treated yourself, you can begin just being you. If you are yourself and make sure your actions do not hurt others, you can be pretty sure that you’ll be OK.
Self-Acceptance – Embracing Imperfections
It’s vital to realise that you won’t always excel. No matter how hard you try, sometimes, you are just going to mess up. That’s human. The trick is, not to fall into a “self-rejection mode” because if you do, you are likely to attribute your self-rejection to others. You’ll think others are rejecting you, because you do it yourself, even when they don’t.
Once you’ve learned to practice self-acceptance, flaws and all, you’ll be able to cope with your failings and learn from them. You’ll also be more forgiving toward others because you’ll know they are bound to falter at times.
Many people struggle with self-confidence, but, if you think about it, self-confidence is only inches away from self-acceptance. You can be confident about your abilities, and you can be sure about your occasional blunders, both are part of who you are. The trick is, to be sure about both, to embrace both. Self-confidence is not about personal perfection as it is about knowing that you do your best all the time and actually doing just that.
Many people are so scared of rejection that they hide their true self. Actually, if you think of all the people you know, you probably realise that those who dare to be themselves, who are the most authentic, are also the most likeable. Also, keep in mind that the people closest to you allow you to be your authentic self, and this is what lies at the foundation of strong relationships. Each party allows the other to be just how they are without making any demands. Regardless of whether you are happy, successful, sad, excited, or downright dull, they love you anyway and you love them just as unconditionally.
Why You Are Bound to Feel Rejected, Sometimes
No one escapes feelings of rejection entirely. Let’s look at where these feelings may originate:
- You reject yourself and transfer this rejection unto others: Sometimes, we attribute the negative feelings we have about ourselves onto others. When you feel rejected, take a step back and examine if this may be the case.
- You’ve hurt someone and they reject you for it: At times, we hurt others, intentionally or not, anyway, do make amends and build bridges so the rejection vanes and relationships mend.
- Someone’s hurt and lashes out at you: In most instances, people hurt you because they are hurt themselves. If you’ve done nothing wrong but get rejected, the issue probably lies with someone else. All you can do is try to distance yourself from that hurt and not take it too personally.
- You’re just not on the same wavelength: You don’t like everyone, and not everyone is going to like you. Don’t be a people pleaser, it will just make you fake it. Instead, be yourself and accept that you’re not going to be everyone’s favourite.
How Not to Care What Other People Think – The Toolbox
To summarize the above, this is your toolbox for not caring what other people think:
- Set your own standards and behave accordingly
- Accept yourself and be confident that you excel as well as fail
- Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself
- Try to be authentic
- Show that you care about others as well as yourself
The fear of rejection should not prevent you from being your true self. Remember, each person brings something truly beautiful and unique to the table, and you are bound to bring countless people lots of happiness despite the fact that not everyone is going to be crazy about you. It’s also important to remember that people respond to authenticity more than to stifled perfection.