Day 167 Question 167:
Do you care what people think about you?
When I was teaching Teen Outreach Program classes I did an activity with my students in which I asked a question and they had to hold up a sheet of paper that said either Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree. I asked various questions about peer pressure and body image. When I got to the question, “I care what people think about me” every single one of my students held up the paper that said STRONGLY DISAGREE. This was something that was brought up many more times throughout the year. I would have students tell me that so and so said this or that about them and my response was always, “I thought you didn’t care what other people thought about you.” Most of them would pretty much stumble over their words after I said that.
We can all say until we are blue in the face that we don’t care about what people think about us but come the end of the day that just isn’t the truth. We all care what people think about us…at least we care what some people think about us. It is important to be independent and to be confident and (I believe) caring about what others think about you is not a sign of weakness. Why is it bad to want to be liked or to be looked at in a positive light? Of course this would probably be dependent on the company we are keeping in the moment and who’s opinions we are looking to for approval. I care very much about what my parents think about me. I don’t believe I have molded myself to be what they would like me to be (actually I know I haven’t…considering I am tattooed and have pushed the envelope far too many times to count) but I do want to make them proud. I want them to believe in me and their opinions matter. These are the two people that gave me life…I do believe that what they think about me does hold some bit of importance.
This is one of those tricky questions that a lot of people get hung up on. For me I care entirely too much what people think about me. I try not to but it almost feels like natural instinct for me. I care about what people that hardly know me think…hell I have cared what fellow readers of this blog have thought and these are people that are thousands of miles away that I will probably never meet. I am working on caring more about what I think as opposed to what everyone else thinks but it is not a quick fix. It is not a switch and suddenly all is different. I am the same as my mother. She is 72 years old and she admits she worries about what other people think about her. We both know that some people’s opinions of us hold no real significance but we still care. We are both just two very sensitive women….which I think is has its positives and negatives. I guess I am just over so many people dictating what is right and wrong with the way we think or how we handle our emotions. What I feel is what I feel. I can tell people I think or feel a certain way to appease them but I know I would just be lying. Maybe it is not an appealing quality to be hung up on what people think about me but it is just a part of who I am. In my opinion, it shows that I care. If someone has a way of ridding myself of this I would love to hear suggestions. :0)
Great post! I think I may steal your classroom idea– it has so many applications in my curriculum. For me, sometimes I care too much about what others think that I need to stop and reflect on what I think. Some strategies that have helped have been determining whether I care about their opinions and thinking about why they’re telling me their opinions. Are they coming from a place of love, intimidation, knowledge, ignorance, etc.? So while I want everyone to think well of me, I have learned that I can’t please everyone.
I was just talking about this with a friend! I was thinking how it seems that it is easy to say “I love myself and don’t care what people think” when people are liking you, and then when they aren’t, it comes time to prove it. I decided that all I can really do is tell myself that I will be there to provide attention and self-love and self-validation whenever I need to, and that if there is other support coming at any given moment, it is okay to enjoy it and feel nourished by it. It is such a strange thing though, and I am going to do much more thinking about it! also, what a great classroom exercise!
I think most people, if they are being truly honest (with themselves) is that they would LOVE to not care what others think. Of course we care, humans seek acceptance, its in our DNA, but I think with wisdom comes that understanding that the acceptance has to come from us, from the inside. Pretty hard to do. Another great post, that got me thinking. Thats what I like best about your blog, gets the brain going.
somehow I was born with the gift of not caring what people think … never have … I do ave a few people whose opinion matters and I do care but overall I love that I can be me and if someone laughs or points the finger I shrug it off
Love the photo!!
Thanks Diane. Really good post. Appreciate your transparency and authenticity.
You hit the nail on the head for MOST people. Of course, some will deny that peoples’ opinions matter. They are either out of touch or in denial. We were created to care about people.
The thing that I have come to after decades of travel on my spiritual journey is that though I care about others, I care more about God’s opinion of me. Once I learned that he loved and accepted me, I was able to care about people’s opinions, but without needing their “good” opinion or affirmation. I have been freed to be the special “me” that my Father intended I be.
I’d love for people to enjoy and appreciate me, but that is not essential to my caring about them and affirming them.
I love loving people freely, because they have nothing I need.
You have tattoos? Well, I’m sorry then, but I can’t possibly keep reading your blog! LOL. I wish I could say that at 63idont care what people think about me as long as I’m happy with myself, but that just ain’t the truth. In fact, I think that’s one of the things I don’t like about myself— that I do care so much what people think of me. I’m with you…it’s natural to want to please certain people, like family and friends. But I go beyond that. And you know the funny part? I’m sure those people hardly give me a thought! We spend so much time worrying about what people think of us, and they really aren’t thinking about us at all.
A funny thing happened when I turned 40 last year: I started thinking about all the times when I cared more about what others thought of me than what I thought of me and resolved to shift the focus back to me. I know that sounds selfish, but there comes a time when you have to put more time and effort into yourself than you do other people. As ComingEast said, “those people hardly give me a thought!” Letting people rent space in your head is not a good thing!
Great post! You pushed me into some deep thought today, which is way out of my comfort zone. I have a headache now, but a new perspective, so thank you! 🙂
…only if they’re wrong.
Reblogged this on Don Lucuis' Chronicle.
If I like and respect the person, then I absolutely care what they think of me. If I don’t, then no.
It’s hard not to care what other think of you, I sympathise completely. I also don’t think it is wrong, it is a quality to be attentive to what other people think, it makes you a caring and empathetic person. The trick is, i think, to learn when to not take it personally. I also think that it is in human nature to want to be liked, humans are social animals after all. We all want to be liked, and whoever says they don’t is probably lying, just like your students demonstrated with their answers.
To be part of this world, or someone else’s at least, we should care of others’ opinions. Its just up to us if we will let their opinions affect our lives in a good or bad way.
I really like your posts by the way, always makes me reflect on things. 🙂
Great post! I have reached a time in my life where I have ceased caring what people think of me. There has always been a part of me that didn’t care to some extent what my peers thought of me. I was always the one who wasn’t fashionable or trendy with regards to my clothing. My socks matched each other, but hardly ever matched what I was wearing, for example.
I care what my son thinks about me. I “kinda sorta” care what my mother thinks of me. That’s pretty much it. What I think of myself is more important. I care that I am true to who I am. I care enough to work on those personal issues (eating healthier, keeping an eye on my blood sugar, etc.) that effect my health and well-being.
I don’t care what people think about how I dress (if my clothes are clean, that’s good enough for me). I don’t care about what society thinks of my body and I am finally accepting my body image and am becoming comfortable in my own skin.
It’s such a freeing feeling to let go of outside opinions that might make my question myself and who I am and who I am becoming.