It’s Okay to Care What Others Think About You — When It’s the Right People
The “real” me is a bit of a smart alec, sassy, sarcastic, kind, caring, fun, loves to laugh, the center of attention at times — shy at others, bossy, perfectionist, gives a shit about others and cares what others think about me.
Whoa! We’re not supposed to give a shit about what others think about us — right? Yep, a very unpopular opinion coming up!
Society tells us that we shouldn’t care what others think, but then turns around and tells us buying a big house, the new car, the latest smartphone, or latest deodorant scent will make others like us. Talk about mixed messaging.
The truth is — no matter how much you try — you care — I care — we care — what other people think of us. Sure you won’t care what everyone thinks but there’s at least one person in your life that you care what they think about you. And is that such a bad thing?
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Care What Others Think
I think Fredric Neuman said it best with: “ It is important not to measure yourself by the standards of other people.”
- When you allow it to stop — paralyze — you from moving ahead with your dreams and goals.
- If it’s someone who doesn’t know you.
- When you allow the opinions of others to compromise you to the point, you become what you think they want you to be rather than being who you want you to be.
- If the person is looking at you through the lens of their baggage.
- When you allow it to affect your mood, emotions, and feelings in negative ways including bouts of depression, anger or feeling overly upset.
- If you don’t follow your own ethics, morals, and standards because of what others are saying.
- When you don’t know if someone is being honest or just manipulating.
- If you are so obsessed with how others perceive you that you stop allowing others to get to know the “real” you.
There are plenty of great reasons when you shouldn’t care what others think of you. But there are also reasons when it’s okay to care — when it’s the right people and you’ve set some boundaries on what you’re going to intake.
Gives You Feedback to Grow and Change
In my early 20’s, my boss pointed out that I didn’t say “thank you” very often. I was shocked. To me, I thought people knew I was thankful because I showed people I was grateful through my actions. It took me a bit to understand she didn’t feel it because I didn’t say it.
I was young and didn’t realize the importance of people needing to hear the words. Today, I work hard to make sure I not only show I’m grateful but also say “thank you.” It’s something I would never have understood if I hadn’t cared about what my boss thought of me.
Listening to people that you respect, who value you for you, and can give you valid feedback to grow and change is never a bad thing. Often, we’re blind to our faults — or our strengths — until someone points them out. So, hearing others can give you essential information that you might not have realized.
But there is a fine line between caring too much what others think and say about you and using that feedback for positive changes. Not everyone is right or knows you, nor will you fit in with everyone. You never want to change the essence of YOU to please others. So, keep what feels right and toss the rest.
It’s Good Stuff
Why wouldn’t you want to know if someone is thinking nice things about you? I know I would. It always gives me just a bit of a warm glow when I hear something nice about me.
But if we’re so busy ignoring what others are saying about us, how are we going to know? Or should we only listen and care about the good stuff?
Hearing the good stuff said about you can lead to a higher self-confidence, feeling good about one’s self, and overall just feeling awesome. And while you should never judge your self-worth or seek validation through someone else’s opinion, it’s okay to allow yourself a little confidence boost and care when someone is thinking sweet about you.
It Can Protect You
What if someone has the wrong idea or message about you?
About a decade ago, my dad started noticing that his regular customers weren’t coming to his business. Not understanding why, my dad called a couple of them. And it wasn’t long before he called me panicked that the police thought he and his now ex-wife were selling drugs.
Not listening to what people were saying could have cost my dad his reputations and business. But because he cared what people thought, he was able to get ahead of the problem and clear his name by cooperating with the police. A few months later his ex was busted and sent to prison.
People will talk about your political views, your sexual preferences, who you’re dating, the color you painted your house, or what you ate last night. None of those things matter or should make you change who you are.
But if they are wrongly thinking you committed a crime, are a sex offender, cheating on your partner, or spreading harmful rumors about you, it can harm your ability to work, earn money or even the quality of your life. In this case, caring what people think is a good thing.
It’s In Your Primal Urges
Finally, let’s talk about science. You are primally programmed deep into your brain, to be part of a tribe for safety. Being part of a tribe means belonging and acceptance. Without those things, you are an outcast, and outcasts get eaten by saber-tooth tigers.
Okay. Okay. A saber-tooth tiger won’t eat you, but it’s still a part of your monkey brain programming to be a part of a tribe, which means fighting your natural tendencies may make life a little more complicated than it needs to be.
It does NOT mean that you should try to give a shit or take in what everyone out there thinks about you. But it does say that an integral part of who we are — our programming — our reality — our mental and physical health — means that we care what others think of us so we can fit in.
To Care or Not to Care
So what do you think? Do you think it’s okay to care about what others think of you or should you ignore it all? Or do you care too much?
Personally, I think it’s okay to care what others think about you — when it’s the right people — and as long as you take everything with a grain of salt and make sure it’s right for you. After all, it’s all about you and your story.
Ready to build your self-wealth? Let’s talk Heidi@TalktoHeidi.com.