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One of my friends was struggling with self-esteem, when I asked her the reasons why she felt this way, I realized that she was quite confident about her abilities but what bothered her was the opinion of a few of her friends about her abilities. She wasn’t able to understand how to stop caring what others think.
Instead of accepting her own thoughts, she was allowing others to affect her mind and thoughts. And the problem was, she knew what was happening and hurting her, but was still feeling helpless in ignoring what others thought about her.
The desire for acceptance and approval is one of the fundamental aspects of human nature. However, when this need overpowers you, to cover yourself with the fear of what others think, it can hold you back from being your best self and living happily.
I decided to write this blog, by researching some effective strategies that can help you break free from the fear of what others think.
How To Stop Caring What Others Think
Understand The Reason Behind it
Whenever you are in a similar situation as my friend, the first step is to find out why you care so much about those people who are affecting you.
Is it something from your past? Do you often get triggered by similar opinions? Why do you think you behave or get affected in a certain way?
After that, recognize that while it’s natural to want to be liked, you can’t control others’ thoughts.
What you can control is your own perception, thoughts and reactions.
I have emphasized about the importance of setting boundaries earlier in my blogs too.
Personal boundaries are crucial whether it is in your workplace, home, or in public. Make sure you respect the boundaries of other people too.
If you feel someone has violated your space, tell them, do not expect that others will know.
We all are different and can have different meanings for different things.
For example, you may not be comfortable talking about your personal relationships but your friend can easily joke about theirs.
Do not hesitate to say “NO” when a thought or situation doesn’t align with your interest or value.
Focus On Self Acceptance
Self-acceptance is the first step to loving yourself. It is the bedrock of ceasing to care about others’ opinions.
Know yourself and understand that it’s perfectly fine to not be perfect for others. You must be who you are, who you like, who you want to become.
Make sure you leave scope for self-improvement always! Compliment yourself and not rely on external validation to feel good.
There is a dialogue from Shahrukh Khan’s movie ‘Dear Zindagi’ that says, “When we know ourselves and understand ourselves well, then we stop caring about what others have to say about us” and that’s one of my favorite inspiring quotes from a movie.
So, Embrace your uniqueness, quirks, and imperfections and gain the power to be your authentic self.
Read my blog on How To Invest In Yourself For Personal Growth
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts are formed when you are struggling in life or you are facing an unfavorable situation.
It can also evolve from low self-esteem. Negative self-talk and thinking about what others think can become a source of anxiety,
If you think you are going through this phase, ask yourself two questions when any negative thought comes to your mind.
The first question is, Is there any evidence to support this belief? You will realize that most of these fears are founded on assumptions rather than facts.
The second question is, is this really going to matter in the next 5 years of my life? This question can save you hours of overthinking. Do not think more than 5 minutes about it if it is not going to matter in 5 years.
Replace these negative thoughts with positive thoughts and affirmations. Talk with people who support you, as communication will make things better and clearer.
Surround Yourself With Supportive People
I read a quote in my childhood that I still resonate with. The quote was ‘One is known by the company one keeps’.
Your choice of companions can influence your life journey significantly.
Having a group of friends and loved ones who are supportive and respect you for who you are can make a world of difference.
It is better to form boundaries and distance yourself from people who are hurting you or affecting you, intentionally or unintentionally.
Having the quality of people is more important than quantity. ‘Your People’ will encourage your authenticity and provide a safety net when faced with you are dealing with difficulties.
Self Awareness is Important
In my previous blogs, I have mentioned how self-awareness is the first step for personal growth.
When you know yourself, your values, emotions, desires and aspirations, it becomes easier to stand firm against the opinions of other people.
Let’s take an example, suppose you love to dress up in a casual, simple manner and do not go after fashion trends, if your friend tells you that you have a weak fashion sense, then, it won’t affect you. Because now you know that this is your own style that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Self-awareness is important to know how you are different from others, what are your unique qualities, strengths and weaknesses, this knowledge of self, empowers you to remain true to your core identity.
One of the best ways to become self aware is journaling. Read my blog on how to start journaling here.
Embrace Constructive Feedback
Having positive thoughts about yourself, becoming self-aware, and self-love is important but one more thing is important for your personal growth and that is, embracing constructive criticism.
We are humans, we are going to make mistakes and do something inappropriate. Accepting that we went off the track is essential.
Do not fall for, the ‘I AM WHO I AM, I AM PERFECT’ attitude. Constructive feedback can be a valuable tool for your personal growth.
Make sure you learn to differentiate between constructive criticism and baseless negativity. Do not entertain the latter and cut it off before it reaches your mind.
When someone offers genuine advice in your best interest, take it gracefully and use it in evolving yourself.
Construct Your Ideal Self
One of the best ways to stop caring about what others think is to visualize your ideal self and the life you want to lead.
Create a picture of yourself, you can use journaling for this. Write about the kind of life you want for yourself, and form a mental picture of yourself being your happier self, with your values, and your aspirations, free from the confines of others’ opinions.
This image will serve as a powerful motivator, inspiring you to be your best version, unaffected by external judgments.
Over To You
These were some personal tips and strategies on how to stop caring what others think. The fear of others’ opinions can hinder your personal growth and limit your happiness.
By understanding who you are and the root of this fear, you can break yourself free from this situation. Be the author of your life and the owner of your thoughts. Stop seeking external approval and become the best version of yourself!