Sagacious while meaningless advice: “don’t worry about what other people think.” Particularly meaningless when there is no follow up as to how to not worry or care about what other people think.
No matter how many times we hear it, who we hear it from or how hard we try – sometimes it can seem impossible not to care what other people think. The following is a how-to guide on how to finally stop.
What do people think?
There is no way for us to know what other people think. We can guess by their vocal tone and non-verbal communication but that is only as good as our interpretation and understanding of the person talking. Our intuition and empathy can help us but we need more information to know exactly what someone is thinking.
In order to really know what someone is thinking we will need to be familiar with their mode of thinking. In order to effectively do that we will need to have had similar experiences, as well as have the same brain patters, core beliefs, personality, etc. What I am getting at here is: there is no way for us to know what other people think.
How can we control what they think?
While there are certain things we can do to create the impression we desire to create, there is no guarantee another person will perceive it the way we would like. If we speak with larger words to seem intelligent it can come off as pretension. If we try to seem relaxed and cool in order to fit in people may take that as aloofness. If we try to be as available as possible it can be perceived as desperation. See where i am going?
Truth is, even the most innocuous action can come off as nefarious to an ill-intentioned person. What I am getting at here is: we cannot control what other people think no matter how hard we try.
Societal Double Standards
There is a societal standard that we should, to an extent, care what people think. We buy make-up or other products to make ourselves look better to those we want to attract. We hear categorizations like “Guys like women with large breast” or “Women like men with large wallets.” The same person telling you to not care what other people think can allude that you should care what people think during the same conversation.
Double standards abound. This can be particularly irksome to those who are genuinely trying to not worry about what other people think. Being aware of this double standard, and reminding yourself to reject it, will help you learn how to stop worrying about what other people think.
Breaking Old Habits
Considering that society encourages us to worry about what other people think (no matter how many people give us the advice to think otherwise) it is understandable this may be a hard habit to break. An ingrained habit we may have become comfortable and familiar with it -even though it is hurting us. In order to break this habit we need to continue to remind ourselves that:
- there is no way for us to know what other people think
- we cannot control what other people think no matter how hard we try
Repetition is key here. Congratulate yourself each time you stop yourself from worrying about what other people think. Eventually your new patterns will balance out your old habit until it becomes an automatic response.