One of our highest calls as a species is to care about other people. To lay down our lives in service of others is a truly noble undertaking. However, so many people walk the tightrope between caring about people and caring about people’s opinions. Here’s the difference:

  • Caring about people: You want to see people achieve their highest potential. You’re compassionate when they’re hurt and excited when they succeed.
  • Caring about people’s opinions: This describes a fear of what people think about you to the point that you change who you are or what you do to fulfill that expectation. You derive your sense of value from how well you meet that expectation.

In short: the first is fueled by love and the second by fear. Fear is one of the greatest obstacles to achieving our goals. Fortunately, you can still love people without letting their opinions dictate your sense of self-worth. Here are our top tips to stop caring what others think.

Find the Source

For many people, caring too much about what others think began during childhood. Maybe you felt the need to be the perfect child for your family, friends, or teachers. Maybe you were bullied, or maybe you were rejected by someone close to you.

Finding the source helps you heal some of these wounds. When you know where a thought pattern started, it’s easier to take steps to learn a new, healthier thought pattern.

Learn Your Worth

Those of us who struggle with people-pleasing probably learned that if people aren’t happy with us, they won’t love us. Not only that, but we believe that we are unworthy of love to a certain extent. When we learn our true worth, it makes it easier to not care about what others think.

Sometimes, it helps to think about your opinions of other people. Think of someone important to you, and imagine you disagreed on something minor. Now imagine that same friend was injured in front of you. Would you leave them out on the street? Of course not! Why? Because they’re your friend. More than that, they’re a human being with hopes, dreams, and a life.

Guess what? You’re a human being too, and your life has value. Remind yourself of that.

Practice

Unfortunately, you won’t cure a lifetime’s worth of insecurities by reading one blog you found on the internet. It takes practice. And it’s ok to fake it until you make it. For example, if you’re not sure whether to wear an outfit, remind yourself why you don’t have to worry what others think about it and put it on anyway. Listen to the song the internet says is lame. Dance even if people think it’s dorky.

You may feel uncomfortable at first, and that’s understandable. Just like stepping into the ocean for the first time, the more you embrace the discomfort, the better. Soon, you’ll be riding the waves into your own future.