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Six Steps to Stop Caring What People Think

Judged by People

Do you need to stop caring what other people think? Fear of being judged is a real self-help issue I want to tackle. I am lucky in that I never had an innate need to please those around me. I wanted to be kind and just, but never to the point of feeling like I was being controlled by it. 

I did, however, have a fear of people disliking me. I never thought it was part of people-pleasing, so I never added it to my list of self-help topics to improve on. But here we are years later, I have concluded that in did I had a people-pleasing fear. But it’s hard to stop caring what other people think.

I remember how life with the fear of judgment was. Not pleasant for sure. I was one of those anxious individuals that will be hard on themselves for hours after making a mistake. I would worry for days, have conversations in my head about the interaction that went on between a friend and I.  Over again; I would punish myself for a mistake I had done in the past. 

It took me a while (I mean it took me my whole life to reinforce the fear of being disliked, practicing the opposite was bound to take a while). I have now resolved my “people-pleasing” issue and would like to share how I did it, how to stop caring what other people think. 

No Longer Ruled

I want to warn you, I still care what others think, but it no longer rules me. Instead, it’s a gentle nudge to hear other’s perspectives. The need to please or be liked by others has left me in such a permanent manner. I am free of the ideology of any other human, even my husbands. That has helped my relationship; it has helped me see him as an individual.

If it worries you that not caring will turn you into an abrasive, self-centered individual, I promise it won’t. You will be a self-aware kinder person. One who allows others to have their own opinions and thoughts separate from your own, and it doesn’t reflect on who you are.

First, let’s look at what caused us to seek the approval of others. Being around other people and feel inclusion is part of being human, we all seek to stay safe an “in” the group. In caveman times you would have died if you had to rely on you and you alone for survival. 

Fight or Flight Response

But we no longer live in such a dependent state. We live in a society where if you get hungry, all you need to do is go to the grocery store. That made it innate to NEED others for survival. But that survival mode still remains and is reinforced by the brain, we still become afraid, fight, face or freeze. 

https://laconteconsulting.com/definitions/

Fear is your hormones assessing a situation and increasing your body’s adrenaline. Adrenaline then creates an increased heart rate, sweat, and heightened senses. All those senses become active even when you no longer need them to survive.

Now all you have is anxiety and nowhere to go. Therefore, it is important that you learn to control your fight-or-flight response. You do that by becoming self-aware.

Let go back a way, back to your childhood where you first were conditioned to what others might think of your actions or words. To when you were little, before six or seven, you did not worry about what others thought. You were just you; you were just playing; you were just blissfully unaware of what others thought.

You would wear your fancy outfit and polka-dotted hat and drag around your purse full of stuffed animals and knick-knacks; that was your blissfully-ignorant life. It was not until you began to differentiate yourself from others (after the age of seven) that you noticed others had opinions and that those opinions differentiated from yours. 

You first learned from others around you, family. You learned what was acceptable,  learned “appropriate manners,” what to wear, and what to say to others. All these things you learned where just social norms based on behaviors of normalcy placed on you by family, friends, and experiences. In short, you become a product of your environment and DNA Expression. 

But, although as a kid you had no control of your environment or DNA, you still chose what to consider pleasant versus terrible. What you chose is per se expressive steaming or to react physically and emotionally to stimuli to self-soothe. You did this by avoiding new situations, having “safe” discussions, and going with the norm.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Your Choice

So now that you know why you seek social inclusion, and that you chose how to respond to your environment, what do you do with that information? You learn that it can be a choice to change how you perceive pleasurable interactions or how to avoid them. You learn to either make it pleasant or disconnect from it. Disconnection is what allows you to create your own flow, you are the captain of your ship, not the passenger.

So how do you gain control of how you react to others? You have to train your brain to keep calm when you are about to choose something others might not like. Retrain your mind not to react to comments or situations (you are not in a dangerous situation).

If somebody had taught you how to be okay with what other people thought and that it was still different from you and therefore it wasn’t part of you, and you shouldn’t take it on to yourself, you would have been better off. 

Now that you’re an adult and have a bunch of anxieties and issues and worries, you must unlearn what you taught yourself long ago when you were only seven. That is why it’s so important to teach children how to self regulate, the Importance of being individuals, and how to love themselves. 

So how do you stop caring what others think about you? How do you love yourself again? How do you go back to when you were six or seven? You retrain your brain one step at a time.

 I hope you find these steps useful and regain your freedom in the choices you make, without the fear of being judged. 

Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

Six Steps to Stop Caring What Other People Think

Step One: Stop Judging Yourself

Practice self-compassion when you do something wrong and forgive yourself as often as you can. Self-compassion can improve your self-love, and when you love yourself, you stop needing other people’s acceptance. This self-reliance is vital for self-improvement, which leads to increased confidence. A confident person is harder to push or peered pressured. 

When you do something that you consider wrong, move on and don’t repeat that mistake. As you learn not to judge yourself, you let go of the fear of judgment. It feels so free not caring what other people think. 

It will take practice. Become aware whenever you judge yourself (Living a Mindful Life) remind yourself to stop it and drop it. After a while, you will become comfortable in your skin; you learn that the world doesn’t end just because you made a mistake.

You will learn to forgive others, too because if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others. Also, you will notice opinions just rolls right off you. It won’t even enter your mind to feel embarrassed or attacked.  You become a confident person, and it was all because you stopped judging and started loving.

Step Two: Get to Know Yourself

You will learn without judgment, that you are unique and even how to appreciate that uniqueness. What people call “finding yourself.” 

What do you want in life? What are your likes and dislikes? When you understand where you are going and what you want, it makes it easier for you to stick to your course.

It is up to you to define your position. If you don’t, anyone can shake your stance and therefore make you feel self-conscious.

When you feel unsure, that can lay root too many self-sabotaging behaviors. Such as; Not doing things you always wanted to try, not wearing a dress, or suit you always wanted to wear or be as silly or serious as you always like to be. 

Step Three: Practice Disconnection

Practice disconnecting your emotions from other people. When someone criticizes, you imagine the words they are saying in a bubble right above their heads. Those words belong to them, not you.

You don’t get to feel anything about what they are saying, because it’s not your bubble. That bubble belongs to only them, the minute you let yourself feel bad about what they are saying, remember it’s not yours, that’s their bubble, so keep loose feelings out of it. I love this particular tip to stop caring what other people think, it’s helpful to visualize a boundary.

Disconnection takes practice, but it gets easier the more you do it. Soon you will find it’s second nature to know that other people’s opinions ONLY belong to them and you need not respond with emotions.

Disconnecting allowed me to be around family without feeling like I would drown in family emotional drama. I now go to family events and just sit and watch Uncle Jose go on about stupid shit without getting involved.

Step Four: Respect Your Bubble

Just as you stay out of other people’s bubble, you will also know instinctively when to remove yourself from a situation. Because you have given others, the respect, they need to say whatever is in their bubble. You then understand that your bubble is equally important. If anyone disrespects your bubble, you can see the boundaries, and leave, or ask the other person (s) to go. What other people think is less important than your bubble.

Step Five: Say No When You Need To

When you continuously do what others ask of you to the detriment of your own time, you allow an area of resentment to grow. Say no often, when you need to. Say no to dinner at places you don’t like, or say no to movies you can’t stand to watch.

Another benefit. When you take back your power, you began to grow stronger relationships, relationships that are real and give as much as take. The ability to have boundaries creates real bonds that stand firm because of respect.

Step Six: Let Go of Your Beliefs

Growing a pair of cojones is essential; stand up for what you believe. The more you understand you, the easier this part is. The cojones is also vital for standing DOWN on what you once thought. 

Don’t get attached to believes that no longer serve you. If you were once pro choice and now you feel that you need more information, say so. Search your truth where ever that may lead. 

When you understand that beliefs are purely here until you no longer believe in them, it allows you to let go when you are wrong. Now instead of a person’s opinion hurting you, it opens up your perspective and therefore, what others think no longer controls you.

Finally

The feeling of being judged is all a matter of whether you give your emotions over to someone else. When you understand that it’s all about you and your reactions and not about controlling others, life becomes yours again. 

Remember to practice self-compassion, control your emotional response, set boundaries, respect your time, and let go of concrete beliefs. That is the way to stop caring what other people think about you.

It took me a long time before I could let go of the fear of rejection or that fear of exclusion — nearly a year. Now when I decide anything, I don’t try to please anybody, nor do I think “what will they say.” One area I see the most benefit is social media. I read comments about my writing or my other work, and I take the criticism and either say thank you, or I don’t think so. I never get hurt about a comment anymore.

Getting to the base of who you are is the main goal of this HOW-TO, so you can find the pieces of the puzzle you where missing. The reason you have not found what drives you is because you are missing those pieces that makeup you.

How often do you worry about what others think?

Has it effected your choices significantly?

What things would you have done if you did not care what others thought?


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A former nurse and life long self-help learner, I have a passion for teaching the fundamentals of life. I never stop learning, but most of all I never stop being okay with being taught. I am a mom, a wife, and an awakened soul. Welcome! You are never lost, you are just on a quest.

Lucia Stakkestad

A former nurse and life long self-help learner, I have a passion for teaching the fundamentals of life. I never stop learning, but most of all I never stop being okay with being taught. I am a mom, a wife, and an awakened soul. Welcome! You are never lost, you are just on a quest.

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