For most of my life, I have cared way too much about what others think about me. I have made life decisions that were consequential in the long run because I cared what others thought about me.
A large part of it started in my dating life when I was a teenager (or lack of one). I was frightened of rejection so I didn’t try. This lack of effort continued to push me further and further all the way through college. I never had a serious relationship until I was 25 years old. At that point, I wanted to be in a relationship but because of my lack of effort earlier in my life, I never knew what I wanted. The relationship lasted almost 1 year longer than it should have until I realized it was a dead end.
I’m happy to say that I’m in a relationship that I love being in right now but those decisions that I made earlier in life had a ripple effect. Small decisions matter. Big decisions are obvious. The small ones are easy to kick the can down the road until it piles up.
These are the reasons why when you stop caring what others think your life will change.
You Will Have Deeper Relationships
When you stop caring what others think about you, your relationships with people close to you will be deeper. You will filter out all those people in your life that you probably shouldn’t have in your life anyways.
What would you rather have? A hundred friends who say they’re your friends built on this facade that you’ve created or ten friends that like you for who you actually are?
I’ve been guilty of this throughout my life. I’ve tried to play the politics game in life with others, making sure that I don’t let certain people know about the weirdo in me. The sick part about it is I wasn’t even aware I was doing it. I was trying to fit in that it became second nature to start off with this version B of me. When I someone would pass my internal “test” as someone I can trust, I would let out version A of me.
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You Will Make Better Life Decisions
How many people stay in a lousy job because they’re afraid of disappointing their teammates or boss?
How many people get taken advantage of by others because they don’t want to disappoint them?
When you care too much about what others think about you your life decisions become reactive instead of proactive. You’re bending over backward to please others, living that people-pleaser life.
Your life will be devoted to helping others succeed in your dreams, not yours. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever help others succeed at their dreams but not if you’re sacrificing your dreams for people that you don’t even like.
Conflict with others is uncomfortable and the last thing we would want to do is disappoint them. Another reason is self-worth, if we feel like we can make others happier, then we are worth something.
Telling The Truth Will Become Easy
When you stop caring what others think about you, telling the truth is easy. It might be uncomfortable at first when you start to break out of this shell but it gets easier as you go along. Those little exaggerations or white lies about yourself melt away.
Almost everyone who has a social media profile has told exaggerations about themselves. The reason we don’t count them as lies is it’s a truth framed in a liar’s way.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” Lao Tzu
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You Will Work Harder
This may not seem obvious but when you stop caring what others think about you a huge mental stress is lifted in your life. The mental bandwidth it takes to please others all of the sudden allows you to focus on yourself. Honestly, focusing on yourself is the best thing you can do for others. Becoming a better person who hasn’t developed resentment because of the life they never lived will make you a better person for the world.
How many people have devoted 10 years of their lives pleasing a boss they don’t like and end up with the rug pulled out?
Have you ever skipped working on a personal project because you were afraid others would think that you were weird for working so hard on something that wasn’t tied to your career?
There’s always going to be politics you have to play in life. When you stop caring what others think about you it doesn’t give you a pass to be brash to strangers or coworkers. It’s a liberation of not letting their views on you weigh you down.
Instead of trying to impress people, you become natural. It’s hard to explain but you know when someone is being themselves. I had a coworker once that would constantly be brash. However, when executives would fly into town, he was hovering around them, trying to get on their good side and it was disgusting.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, you will be better off when you liberate yourself from caring what others think. You will walk an honest life and wash out everything that is fake and soul-sucking.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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