Remember when you were in high school? You had to buy the right clothes to fit in. You had to hang with the right people to be cool. You were constantly concerned with your image. Remember trying to impress others? Did you carry that habit with you after graduation?
In my post, Four Fears Are The Root To All Your Problems, the fear of what others think is third on the list. We all want to be liked, to be loved. We all want people to accept us at our best. I’m no different, but I learned to stop caring what others’ think.
Do You Worry About How Others Perceive You?
I struggled through high school. I wanted to be in the cool crowd. I never really was. I was accepted by the popular kids, but my real friends were outsiders. After graduation, I continued trying to be cool. In my mid 20s, I moved across Washington State. I started over. Something funny happened. I learned to stop caring about others’ perceptions of me.
I lived in a 20-foot trailer. I worked at a mini-mart. I played guitar and read books in my spare time. I used a bicycle as my only mode of transportation. I’d save my money all summer and travel by train all winter. I was living a simple life. Other than a little too much drinking and smoking, I liked who I was. Some days I wish I could go back. I had no debt, no worries.
I know I can’t go back, but I can learn from those days. When I was 30, I returned to college. I got a bachelors and then a masters degree. I became a college instructor. I bought a nice car. I rented a nice house. I found myself right back in the high-school mentality. I was trying to impress. It’s human nature. If you want to be a minimalist, you have to stop caring about what others’ think.
Stop Caring About What Others Think
- They’re not really paying attention to you: Here’s the thing. People aren’t watching you. You just think they are. Nobody really cares if you wear a polo shirt or a button-up shirt. They don’t care what kind of car you drive or if your weight is perfect. Everybody is doing the same thing as you: focusing on themselves. They don’t have time to worry about you, too.
- When you compare, you’re never good enough: When you want to be more like someone else, you’ll never be good enough. You’ll never have the same build as your idol. You’ll never have a look-alike girlfriend or boyfriend as your idol. You’re pushing the stone uphill. You can’t be somebody else. Stop. Accept yourself for who you are.
- You’ll never be content and always want more: Comparisons are what lead us to be consumers. Advertising constantly compares your life to people who are so much happier and healthier than you. Guess what? They’re actors and you’re falling for their show. When you feel like you have to be more like others, you’ll never be content. You’ll always want more, but more will never satisfy. Stop caring.
- You’ll follow the crowd instead of being an original: The people who become most successful in life are the ones who stop caring what others’ think. Many times they have an I-could-care-less attitude. They’re not careless. They just care less about the status quo. Rather than spending their time making comparisons, they spend their time setting goals, making plans, and taking action.
- You’ll be a taker and never give back to others: When you compare yourself to others, you can’t help but be a taker. Everything you do is motivated to prove yourself. You buy, you copy, you pretend. The focus is always on yourself. When you let comparisons go, you can stop focusing on yourself and begin to focus on helping others.
Comparing Yourself To Others Is A Grave Error
When you try to be like another person, you’re not truly living. When you do things only to please others so they’ll like you, you’re not being true to yourself. Stop caring what others’ think. You’ll go a lot further in life and you’ll find an amazing thing along the way: the freedom to be you.