I’ve always been the type of person who cares what people think. Sometimes this is a good thing: I put others first, I feel things deeply (especially in relationships), and I show up for the ones I love. But frankly, most days this ‘caring’ is to my detriment. I blame my upbringing. I was raised to be perceptive, to be empathetic (and of course, I’ve always had a big heart). But don’t get me wrong—I don’t regret this about myself or how my childhood was; I don’t hate these part of me.
Sometimes, though, I let other people’s opinions get in the way of how I really feel, I analyze situations based upon other perspectives outside of my own, and I stress over things that I don’t (and can’t) have control of. To be honest, I have the hardest time putting other opinions fully out of my mind. I struggle with learning how to stop caring what people think.
But truthfully, there’s always going to be someone who disagrees, who dislikes you, and who doesn’t see or appreciate the value in you or what you do. If you spend your entire life trying to please everyone, you’ll only end up emptying yourself.
When you stop stressing over others’ thoughts, perspectives, and goals for your life, you’ll realize just how truly happy you can be. Here are eight things (I’ve learned from trial, error, annoyance, and quite a few mistakes) that happen when you truly learn to live for yourself and no one else.
1. You give yourself space to develop your own perspectives, opinions, and arguments.
When you stop caring what people think, you start caring about what you think. This sounds silly, but seriously—when was the last time you made a decision solely based upon your thoughts and without seeking advice from someone else?
Don’t get me wrong, tapping into people (especially people you love) is a good thing. You don’t want to jump into situations/circumstances totally blind. But you also don’t want to be fully hand-held through your life to the pint that you can’t decide for yourself.
When you stop focusing on others before yourself, you can start to develop YOU.
2. You pull yourself away from toxic people and negative energy.
People will always have opinions. Sometimes these opinions will grow you, and sometimes they’ll do the complete opposite. When you stop caring what people think, you no longer allow those toxic emotions and people to pull you down. Instead, you understand that everyone has a perspective, but this doesn’t (and won’t ever) weigh into how you feel.
3. You realize what actually matters.
And that’s who YOU are, what YOU desire, and the person YOU want to be.
And as selfish as this may sound, it’s not. You can love other people without being selfish. You can also prioritize yourself without being selfish. It’s called balance.
4. You see people’s true intentions, and learn that sometimes people aren’t really out to support your success or well-being.
Frankly, this is the sucky realization that comes from focusing on your perspective rather than others. You realize that sometimes the people you thought were supporting you, are only in it for their selfish gain. When you look away from others and look into your own soul, you find out people’s true intentions and see who’s really supporting you, and who’s merely pretending for their own sake.
5. You learn to focus your attention on what actually drives and motivates you.
When you stop caring what people think, you reclaim your life. You (finally) start focusing on what you desire, especially when it comes to your passions and future. Rather than totally leaning on other people (even loved ones) you start trusting yourself.
6. You teach yourself how to think, rather than being influenced by all that’s around you.
This is probably the biggest (and most overlooked) truth on this list. When you stop caring what people think (positive or negative) you teach yourself how to think.
Outside influences will always be there, yes, but so will the core of you—start trusting it.
7. You learn the balance of your heart and head and carve your own path.
Some people say ‘follow your heart,’ others say ‘your mind knows best.’ Whichever you prefer, as you start following yourself rather than the footsteps around you, you’ll discover that natural, powerful balance between your heart and brain.
8. You simply feel free.
No longer are you held down by expectations and rules imposed by others. Instead of constantly being conflicted between what others want for you and what you want for you—you are (finally) free.
Featured Image Credit: Joel Valve
I really appreciate the clarity in this post! It’s something I struggle with all my life, but wondered to approach it.