What do you think of the quote above?
At first glance you might think, “Well, sure, I’d want people to have a nice opinion of me and think highly of me.“
But on the other hand, you might think (or wish) that it doesn’t matter what other people think. But if you truly think about it, most of us are always concerned with what other people think.
We try to keep up with the Joneses, go to this school or work at that job, get this car or that house, date this person and not that one, wear this but not that, say this or not that – all because we’re thinking of what someone else may think about our lifestyle choices.
In today’s society, with all of the exposure to people’s lives through TV and social media, there is so much more opportunity for people to judge others, to demean them, to fall into the comparison trap, and feel as if their life is worthless (or the opposite – that they are better than others).
But what would truly happen if you didn’t care one way or the other what other people’s opinions of you are, or at least didn’t carry much weight?
A quote I often see circulating around is, “Opinions don’t pay my bills.“
That’s true but if that were the case why do we often make decisions based on other people’s non-billing-paying opinions?
As I was thinking about my own life and the decisions I’ve made based on either the fear or praise (because it works both ways) from others, I’d need more fingers and toes because the count is too high!
- I didn’t wear black clothes when I was young for fear that I’d disappear and be talked about (if my skin color was the same color as my clothes).
- I dated a guy in high school I didn’t too much care for but my friend thought he was cute so I went along for awhile (she was dating his friend and wanted us to double date).
- I bought things I thought would improve my “status” (whatever that means).
- I was afraid to tell people where I was from (the projects) thinking they’d think less of me.
- I didn’t wear an outfit I thought was cute because it wasn’t “in style.”
- I could go on and on…
The good thing about growing up, getting older, and getting wiser is you realize that, in the big scheme of things, judgments by others only keep you down and even cause you to be sick.
When you constantly worry about what other people think, your self-esteem and self-confidence decline, your self-image and self-worth suffer, your ability to make your own decisions and live life for you diminish and you’re left with a woulda-coulda-shoulda life.
The “Don’t Worry About What Other People Think of You” Challenge
I challenge you to think about how you’re currently allowing other people’s opinions to sway your decisions. Look at every area of your life, regardless of how big or small, and take inventory because that’s the first step in understanding how to let go of the idea that your worth is guided by someone else’s [often misquided] opinion!
Declare that not worrying about what others think will be your new philosophy. Teach your kids the same because as bad as you’d think adults struggle with this, our youth has it 10 times worse!
Go one day making a decision that’s not based on someone else’s opinion. Then try 2 days. Then 3 in a row and then from there, see if you can go daily without breaking the chain. Don’t worry if you have to start over at day 1 every now and again. Make it a fun challenge, a game if you will. When you are conscious of how you make decisions, you’ll start to see how often you’re impacted by the opinions of others.
Note: I’m not talking about advice someone may give you. Every decision you make should be based on doing due diligence which may include taking into consideration the advice of someone you trust. I’m talking about doing or not doing something for fear that it may cause others to judge you in some way.
Also, know that it’s not just the negative stuff people think of you that could be damaging, but the positive as well. You don’t want to let praise or the expectation of it to drive your decisions either. It may feel good, heck damn good, to get praise but it’s also an opinion. You want to get to a point where you don’t need the validation. I want you to be able to motivate, inspire, and create positive self-talk so that you can still live on in your best kept self with any opinion – good or not so good.
Say it loud…
What you think of me is none of my business. ~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer