How to stop caring what other people think
We all have been there. Scared of doing something because others might laugh at you, judge you or question your decisions.
Humans naturally are social beings and with the need to be a part of a society comes the desire to be approved by the members of that society.
It’s ingrained in our heads by the millions of years of evolution and quite obviously can be incredibly hard to be reasoned with.
Sometimes it makes sense, because the fear of being judged makes people refrain from doing bad things – committing crimes, for instance.
But what are you supposed to do when this fear starts messing with the things that you actually want or even need to accomplish? Whether it be moving to another city, changing jobs drastically, going to dance classes or even changing a haircolor into a crazy one, many of us will be faced with a thought: what will others think?
In many cases this thought will be powerful enough for a person to not go through with the thing they wanted to do altogether.
So, how exactly should you deal with these thoughts?
It’s your life and you’re living it, not somebody else
This point is the most important to keep in mind. Your life is all about you and the experiences you have. It’s not that long either – an average life expectancy is around 70 years. Do you really have time to waste being bothered by what other people think?
Only you know what’s best for you. Letting other people’s opinions define the way you’re living is unhealthy and detrimental to your psyche.
You will regret not doing it later
Looking back, how many things you wanted to do but ultimately gave up because of the fear of judgement? The opportunity you have right now might not be there next week or even tomorrow and if you’ll miss it, one day you’ll think, shit, I should’ve done it then
Do it as a favor to your future self.
Or you will regret doing it
Sometimes the opposite happens – we do things other people want us to do, due to the same fear of being judged.
Working at a place you hate, having kids when you don’t want them yet, changing your favorite hairstyle because somebody is pressuring you to do so and hundreds of other situations where you sacrifice your wellbeing in order to please your peers and fit in.
Sure, right there in the moment it probably makes sense. Everybody is happy about what you’re doing, so you are happy too, right? I kinda doubt that tbh
Start with small things
Did you always want to wear a certain type of clothes but was self conscious going out like that?
Start small – do it in the area where nobody knows you to get a feel of it, so you’ll never have to see any of those people ever again. For all they know that’s the way you look on a daily basis.
Most likely nobody will give a fuck about what you look like, but for you personal comfort it’s a great idea. It can be hard to go through changes in front of the people you know, because those tend to be the ones whose opinions bother us the most – we care way less about strangers.
Dive into it head first
The more you do this, the less anxiety it’ll give you, and the intrusive thoughts about opinions of others will slowly subside.
Not gonna lie, it will be difficult, especially at first. Compare it with skydiving – it’s hella scary and you have to basically turn off your common sense and force yourself into jumping the first time. It’s pretty similar to almost everything you’re afraid of doing except you’re not risking your life with changing a job, are you?
Don’t tell anybody if that’s possible
When you’re mustering up all of your courage to do something seemingly scary, it really helps to not let anybody know about it.
If you spill the beans prior to actually going through with your idea, chances are you’re going to be talked out of it even if it’s something you’ve already decided on doing.
It takes a lot of confidence and persistence to argue with a strongly opinionated person – and the bitches who’ll try to change your mind are always strongly opinionated somehow. So, try to keep it on the down low for a while.
Laugh it off
It always helps to mock the idea that some random dude’s reaction is going to affect your life in any way.
While maybe in the beginning you probably will actually believe that it will, the more you ridicule it, the less of the impact it’ll have on you.
Weirdly enough, laughter is the best thing when you’re scared of something – even fake one. Your brain associates you laughing with something good, that’s why laughter is such a great coping mechanism.
Besides, isn’t somebody literally wasting their time on judging your choices funny? I find it hilarious when people shit talk others based on things that are none of their business. Kinda makes me question their intellectual capabilities lol
Is it really that big of a deal?
I mean, is it a big enough deal for people to care about it at all? Think about it.
Sometimes your mind is playing tricks on you and in reality it won’t make any difference to anyone whatsoever.
When we’re afraid of something, we tend to hyperbolise it therefore making it even scarier.
So, take a step back and reassess it. If it won’t cause anybody harm, if it won’t affect anybody’s livelihood, if it won’t be tone deaf or offensive – it’s not a big deal. Do it.
Everybody cares way more about themselves than they care about you
Understand that other people are just that – other people. Just like you they have their own fears, their own problems, their own lives.
Will you care if your neighbour will go to work tomorrow dressed as a duck? I bet you’ll just think “oh, that’s weird” and move on with your life. At most you will discuss it with your friends once and pretty much forget about it after.
Others are no different.
At the end of the day, does it really matter if someone will roll their eyes and gossip for a while? Is avoiding reactions actually worth sacrificing something that would make you happy? Nah. So just go and do the thing that’s been on your mind.