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A question we often ask ourselves is: “Should I care about what other people think?” Admittedly, we all come from different races, cultures, and speak different languages, yet the basic questions and challenges we face are universal. In this series: “Questions & Answers,” I will, in a nutshell, share my personal views on the questions people often ask me on my blog.

Question: How do you stop caring about what other people think?

Depending on what culture and country you come from, certainly, it can be a complicated process. But in general, we all grow with parents and relatives telling us: “What will people think?

We all want to be loved and accepted. We want to belong to a particular group and be liked by others. It’s the human need for connection and love. However, what you should never do is allow the opinions of others to dictate how you live your life.

One of the main principles of our growth is that you should never waste time thinking or worrying about things that you cannot control, such as the weather or the world economy. What people choose to think about you is absolutely out of your control, so why waste time and joy worrying about it?

Do people think about you?

The truth is that 99% of the time, people are not thinking about you. People think mostly about themselves. And the 10% that they may have thoughts about you, it can be to admire you or to criticize you- both of which are as fleeting as the air you breathe.

Several scientific studies indicate this as a fact: our brain works a certain way- sometimes, what we believe people are thinking about us- is merely a reflection of what we think about ourselves. As a result, It’s a great feeling of freedom when we don’t have to be concerned about what is going on in other’s people minds.

What you do matters:

I have always been mindful of my behavior and the people around me. I have shown respect to others and tried not to offend or do things that would hurt or offend. And I have not cared much about what people thought about me.

Consequently, I have grown to learn how to harness my unique potential and have found happiness in my life. If you want to find success and fulfillment, you just cannot allow the opinions of others to dictate the way you live.

Happiness in your life cannot be dependant on someone’s approval of you. Because otherwise, your whole life will revolve around it. Your primary responsibility is to yourself. You do not have to please and live up to what others think you ought to be or do. It just doesn’t serve you and is often counterproductive.

Is your life:

Your way is your way. It could be the wrong way for someone else, but if it is yours, embrace it. A successful person will always have to deal with opposition from the average minds because they are incapable of understanding people who believe in themselves and dare to step out of the norm and think their own thoughts.

Not worrying so much about what others think can also make you more charming in many ways. A confident person is often perceived as more attractive than an insecure one.

It is so liberating when you don’t have to worry about what people think of you. But you do need to have a clear idea of what you think about yourself. And if you don’t like what you see, you can decide to change it. All you need is to be happy and at peace with who you are.

Those who love you:

However, people who like and love you will always do, simultaneously, people who don’t like or love you won’t change their minds no matter what you do or don’t do. They will always find something to criticize you for. Being yourself can sometimes lead to a lonely road, but if you don’t allow fear to direct your life, you will triumph in the end.

By becoming a man-pleaser, you usually end up pleasing no one as everyone is different, just forget it! As this famous quote by Dragos Bratasanu, in his book The Pursuit of Dreams:

“You strive to please others, to fit in, and feel accepted. Despite that, you still don’t feel accepted, and not because others don’t accept you, but because you haven’t accepted yourself as you are.”

In the final analysis, live your life free from the bondage of the “what people think.” Above all, be happy and enjoy life. Do the best you can, as much as you can, as long as you can.

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.’– Aristotle

Vitin Landivar

Originally published in

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