Get Out of Your Own Head: How to Gradually Stop Caring About What Other People Think
Everyone, at one point or another, has changed how they act for other people's sake. This can come in many forms—sometimes we make big changes to our behavior, and other times it's far more subtle.
And sometimes, we don't even realize we are changing how we act, think or feel for others because we have grown so used to it.
When we do that, we lose touch with who we are, and end up anxious about what others think first.
So, how can you start living your own life, free of worrying about what other people think?
Keep reading to learn why these thoughts are harmful and how to stop caring what others think moving forward.
Why Do We Care About Other People's Opinions of Us?
Everyone has opinions. These opinions are born from a lifetime of experiences and interactions, and they vary from person to person. Opinions often can't be changed, even though they can be completely off-target.
With that being said, we put a lot of weight on other people's opinions. If someone has a positive opinion of us, we feel pretty great about ourselves.
But if someone has a negative opinion, it can completely derail how we think about ourselves and we become obsessed with changing that opinion.
This is because we seek approval from others when we don't fully believe in ourselves. We look to others to give us self-confidence and meaning when we can't find it on our own.
So, what can you do about it?
How to Stop Caring About What Others Think
Learning to not care what other people think is a long journey. It's not something that happens overnight, but there are ways to improve right now while working on a long-term solution.
Surround Yourself with People Who Accept You
While it's important to not care what others think, it's never good to be around people who simply don't accept you. If you are always being put down for who you are, it's hard not to take that to heart and alter your behavior.
Finding a peer group that accepts you becomes crucial. Looking for groups in your local community that shares similar interests or share your identity makes it easier to socialize, and can take the edge off your anxiety, making it less likely to get stuck in your own head.
Have a lot of social anxiety but really dig horror movies? Find a local horror club. Conversations can center on thoughts and opinions about that really wild movie you all saw--that will make it easier to connect with others who will like and accept you.
People are more likely to like and accept someone who likes things that they like! But rather than changing who you are, you can connect around things you are already interested in and are a part of your identity and who you are.
Understand the Reason Behind a Negative Opinion
No matter who you surround yourself with, you'll always encounter negative people in your life. These are the people who have a negative opinion of you no matter what.
But you need to understand that their negative opinion is not of you—it's of themselves. They are so unhappy with their life that they are projecting it onto other people to make themselves feel better. When you can understand the motive behind the negativity, you can really start to let go of caring what others think.
To put it another way: Once you realize that negative opinion is somebody else's bullshit, you can start letting go of other people's insecurity.
Live in the Moment
Have you ever spent time obsessing over a tiny mistake you made in the past? Maybe you had an awkward interaction with someone and you can't stop feeling embarrassed by it.
Caring about other people's thoughts often happens retroactively. We think about interactions that have already happened and can't be changed. But what good does that do? All it does is cause anxiety and make you feel bad about yourself.
By learning to live in the moment, you can let go of past experiences and focus on the here and now. If you find yourself constantly thinking about the past or worrying about the future, try taking up mindfulness meditation so you can learn how to be present and better cope with how those worries make you feel.
If you truly want to let go of caring about other people's opinions, you need to learn to love yourself. We place a lot of value on other people's thoughts and beliefs when we don't place a lot of value on ourselves. Once you learn to love yourself, you won't look to others for approval any more, and free yourself of those toxic thoughts.
Taking the Next Step
Learning how to stop caring what others think can be difficult, and learning to accept yourself more so. But it's a journey you need to go on in order to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Contact me today to learn more about how I can help you achieve this goal.