As social beings, wanting to be accepted by others is our nature. So, we usually hold ourselves back because we care about what people think about us. But, sometimes, that does more harm than good. It becomes unhealthy and can stop you from living your best life and realizing your true potential. So, how to stop caring about what people think of you?
In this post, we explore ways to not let the opinions of other people have a negative impact on us. We have also included effective tips to manage your worries about what other people think and signs that show you care too much. Keep scrolling!
In This Article
Signs That You Care Too Much
Have you ever come up with an idea you thought was brilliant but later dismissed it because someone else thought otherwise? Why do we care so much about others’ perspectives? Why is it so important to be socially accepted?
We do this because society has conditioned us to behave this way. Author Tom Ferry says, “Approval from others gives us a higher sense of self-esteem. We’re convinced that their recognition matters to our self-worth and how deeply we value ourselves.”
Feeling a sense of belonging is actually a human need featured in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s a critical part of brain development in elementary-aged children and has evolutionary roots. In our early days as a species, we congregated in tribes. If we were not accepted into a community of people, we were on our own and being alone meant certain death. Our brains have not yet had an evolutionary process to diminish this sense of danger and so it continues to show up in the ways we assess our status in a friend group, the ways we compare ourselves to others, and the deep sense of loneliness and sadness that we often feel when we’ve been rejected or isolated in some way.
While caring about what people think of you is normal, it shouldn’t become an obsession and cloud your judgment. Following are the warning signs that you are a little too affected by what others think of you:
- Your decisions change according to the inputs you receive from people. Their opinions cloud your judgment and make you question your ability to handle any task.
- Owing to insecurity and lack of confidence you deem yourself unfit to make any decisions and let other people decide for you.
- You don’t have a set of defined boundaries. It enables people to exploit you by forcing their judgment on you. Self-respect and privacy are not valued.
- You are a perfectionist. Doing things the perfect way, without any errors and mistakes, drives you. However, you forget that to err is human. Learning from your mistakes is the essence of personal growth and maturity, which will highlight your individuality and authenticity.
- You are afraid to voice your opinions. The only thing that matters to you is if you are accepted and loved by society. You are terrified of confrontation while sharing your thoughts and views.
- There is an incessant need to feel sorry. You always think that you are at fault. It causes a high level of mental disturbance and may lead to depression. As women, society has conditioned us to take up as little space as possible and assume that we are in the wrong. This is due to centuries of patriarchal norms that put women in an inferior position in society. It can be helpful to take notice of how often your male peers apologize versus the females.
Do the above pointers remind you of yourself? Trying to fit into societal norms overweighs the happiness and satisfaction that we get from acting on our free will. It represses you to an extent that you are afraid to pursue what you want in life (1).
However, nothing should stop you from becoming the best version of yourself. So, let’s find out how we can embrace positivity and growth in our life instead of stewing in doubt and insecurity.
Shifting Focus From Society To Yourself
While you are constantly playing the role of an ’ideal’ person to feel loved and accepted, have you silenced the inner voice of your being? Although being aware of what repercussions our actions may have on others is good, too much concern regarding the same can make you lose your free will, talents, identity, and essence.
Thus, to accept yourself for who you are and recognize your strength and weakness, you need to stop thinking about what people want from you and start introspecting what you want for yourself. Here are a few tips that may help:
- Have Confidence In Yourself
Valuing yourself and trusting your actions is key to warding off the unwanted feelings of not being accepted. We all are unique, with different sets of values and abilities. The issue arises when we seek validation from others. A research paper argues that a pat on your shoulder is what lifts your self-belief and confidence (2). However, we become what we think. If we consciously and repeatedly give ourselves doses of positivity, we will surely not need anyone else’s affirmations.
“I am the captain of my ship and the master of my soul.” Not worrying about being socially accepted and loved makes us responsible for our own happiness. We rely on ourselves for being happy and satisfied with our lives instead of pleasing the people around us (3). Instead of fearing failure, you need to have certain assertiveness towards learning from failure and growing through your mistakes. Stepping up and putting yourself out there without thinking of others’ opinions makes you brave.
- Let Go Of Perfectionism
Caring a lot about what people think of you makes you walk on the path of perfectionism. Although this may give you the motivation and reasons to outdo yourself every time, you stand a chance to lose yourself in the process. Making mistakes and acknowledging them is a part of life. A lot of energy and time is spent filtering our thoughts and actions due to peer pressure. Transforming your mindset to become self-aware and confident can change the whole game.
- Befriend Yourself
Befriending yourself is the first step towards becoming confident and happy in your skin. Building on your strengths and working on your weaknesses will give you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. It is easy to be yourself and enjoy the moment when you do not care whether someone likes you or not. Taking steps toward knowing yourself and creating self-awareness will help shed all your insecurities about what people think of you. No one is going to believe you unless you do!
- Have Your Pack
Surrounding yourself with like-minded family and friends who are constantly supportive and encouraging is a boon. Develop relations with people who embrace your true self and are attentive to your needs. You can spend time reaching out to different people and building connections. This interaction is mentally stimulating and helps build a sense of self-worth and self-awareness. It can also be a good idea to take stock of our relationships every couple of years. Are the people you spend the most time with bringing you positivity and mutual respect, or are the relationships negative or unbalanced, with one person doing all the work?
- Seek Help
Sometimes, it is easier to open up to a professional than talk about some issue with friends and family. As per a research paper, seeking help from a professional can be beneficial for mental well-being (4). Most of the time, people dealing with trauma or mental health issues find solace in a therapist. It will help build self-confidence and seek ways to deal with criticism. It is imperative to define our values and personal beliefs. Once we can define for ourselves what we find most important in life, it is infinitely easier to weed through others’ opinions of us.
The stress of what others think of us is profound. The benefits of not paying attention to or engaging in unwanted gossip and discussions are many. However, you may still find yourself in the spotlight time and again. Let’s look at some ways that can help you immediately tackle such situations.
Tips To Soothe Your Worries
Though it is natural to feel the need to be desired and liked by others, worrying too much about it can have an impact on your mental health. Here’s how you can calm down the storm of worries:
- Accept That You Can’t Control What Others Think
The sad reality is that people form associations from past experiences and come to conclusions. It requires high emotional intelligence and experience to understand that what others think of you is not your problem. You can never change the way a person feels and thinks about you, so why sweat over it?
- Understand That Life Is Too Short For Regrets
It is your life. Living it the way you want should be the sole purpose. Focusing on what you desire and want to achieve in life is way more important than what people might say. You will always have worries, but the main priority is not letting them stop you from doing things you love.
- Realize That Out Of Sight Is Out Of Mind
Assessing other people is a part of social interaction. However, all of this is just small talk. People are usually preoccupied with problems and worries of their own. Rest assured, their interest in your life and failures is short-lived.
- Practice Self-love And Daily Affirmations
Start your day with positive and meaningful affirmations. Mindfulness is all about staying in the present, engaging your five senses, and being aware of and accepting how you feel in that moment. Some ways to help you relax and start the journey of self-love are yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises.
So, should we become selfish and not care about what people think? The simple answer to this is ‘no’. Everything in life is about balance, and you should know where to draw a line to save your mental peace. Read on for a clearer perspective.
- Recognize When Social Media is Hurting You
Social media is such a huge contributor to comparison and lower self-esteem. Never before, in the history of the human race, have we been so vulnerable to absorbing the opinions of others and comparing ourselves to celebrities and influencers. The shot of dopamine we receive when we get positive comments or likes on a post is as addictive as any drug, and we feel withdrawals and have serious mental effects when we don’t receive that positive feedback. Protecting yourself from the opinions of strangers is key. Ways to do this include setting your profile to private, limiting comments on your posts, and taking frequent social media breaks.
It’s also important to remember that all those celebrities and influencers we see are not working alone, and looking good in their posts is often their full-time job. Let’s not forget that these people have resources! In addition to the many filters and photo editing tricks available, many of them have trainers, hair and makeup artists, nutritionists, chefs, access to the latest cosmetic treatments, and more. Their whole job is looking good.
The beauty of the human race is that we all have differences! Focus on the things that make you beautiful, and be grateful for some of the features that make you unique. Read on for a clearer perspective.
Is It Selfish To Not Care What People Think?
No. A selfish person is self-centered, self-serving, and self-involved. However, we cannot assume things in black and white. Despite external factors clouding your judgment, you need to trust your core. For that, helping yourself first is more important. Tuning out the outside voices is an act of self-love and self-care rather than selfishness.
We are usually in the tryst to help others, though that can’t happen all the time. Many people who focus entirely on others end up overwhelmed, fatigued, and stressed. As per a research paper, chronic stress has been linked to a number of health risks, including conditions like diabetes, cancer, and mental illnesses (5).
This is where healthy boundaries and understanding personal responsibility become so important. Remembering that the only things we can really control in life are our own thoughts and behaviors is crucial to understand that we do not need to “fix” things for other people. We all want to be a good friend or a partner; however, if we consistently put everyone else’s needs before our own, we will lose all sense of self and this pattern can lead to unhealthy dynamics in any relationship leading to codependency. There is a huge difference between being selfish and allowing others the space to work things out for themselves.
Tiffany, who shares her experiences and stories on her blog, discusses the importance of boundaries. She states, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much a fun-loving, outgoing, loyal, sweet person and I will do almost anything for the ones I love, but sometimes I gotta let the phone ring, and leave a few texts unanswered for my own sanity and b-o-u-n-d-a-r-i-e-s (i).”
Don’t neglect yourself and your health to avoid feeling selfish. Selfishness does not have to be a bad thing. It can be good to be a little selfish to take care of your emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
Learning to put yourself first is important to stop caring about what other people think of you and have self-acceptance. If caring about others’ opinions too much becomes an obsession, you may win their acceptance and love, but your decision-making and judgment slowly slip out of your hands. People will eventually start controlling you and your decisions. This is nothing but demeaning yourself and your capabilities. Instead, do what is best for you and chase your goals and aspirations, come what may.
The tips suggested in the article help you stay strong against negativity from society. However, if you feel extremely overwhelmed by societal expectations and pressure, never hesitate to take professional help or counseling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I care about what people think?
It is natural and human to care about what other people think. We care about what other people think because we want to be loved and respected. However, caring too much about other people can cause you distress and make you doubt yourself.
Is there a disorder for caring what people think?
Caring about what other people may think may sometimes come from social anxiety or low self-confidence or codependency. It can also be a trauma response. If you find that you cannot stop thinking about how other people think and feel about you, a good therapist can help.
Is it possible to stop caring what others think?
It is only possible to stop caring about what others think to a certain extent. Surround yourself with like-minded and positive people. Divert your attention to your passions and goals in life.
At what age do you stop caring about looks?
It is commonly seen that men become comfortable with their looks by 46 while women may take another 10 to 13 years to become more comfortable with their appearance.
What do you call someone who cares too much about their appearance?
People overly concerned with their appearance and beauty are called narcissists. They value their looks as part of their self-worth more than other people.
How can I deal with criticism or negative feedback without letting it affect me?
Check and verify if what is being said about you is true or not. If they are not, do not react to them as most people want to get reactions out of you. Write positive things about yourself and focus on your personal growth and journey.
- If you change your decisions according to other people’s opinions, then you care too much about what people think of you.
- Trusting oneself is a work in progress. It takes learning and patience.
- Surrounding yourself with friends and family can help you find motivation.
- You should let go of negativity and start practicing self-love and daily affirmations.
- Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help you overcome self-doubt.
Are you always thinking about other people’s feelings and are tired of caring too much about what others think? This video offers 7 ways to help you stop. Click to play!
Personal Experience: Source
i. Respect My Boundaries
Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.
- “Responses to Social Exclusion: Social Anxiety” “Jealousy” “Loneliness” “Depression” and Low Self-Esteem
- Neural Responses to Social Evaluation: The Role of Fear of Positive and Negative Evaluation
- The Mediating Role of Positive and Negative Affects in the Relationship between Self-Esteem and Happiness
- Conceptual Measurement Framework for Help-Seeking for Mental Health Problems
- The Effects of Chronic Stress on Health: New Insights Into the Molecular Mechanisms of Brain-Body Communication