By Stacey Rose, LCSW, PhD
How many times in your life have you wondered what others really think of you? What do they think of your appearance, your job, your marriage, your children, your car, your choices? And how much do you really care? Some people care so much that they will go to great lengths to alter their lives in order to satisfy what other people find pleasing or acceptable. Then there are those that rebel and could care less (or at least seem to) about what others think so they will intentionally do what the ‘norm’ would look down upon.
So what about you? How important is the approval of others to you and exactly which ‘others’ are we referring to? Your family? Your friends? Society at large? Maybe, yourself? Here are some points to consider when faced with this issue:
- No one is perfect. If other people find flaws in how you act, dress, the way your kids act, or whether or not you attend religious functions, that is their problem, not yours. All human beings are imperfect, so welcome to the human race!
- What other people think of you is their business and not yours! The only way you will truly know what others think of you is if they tell you honestlyand sometimes we don’t really want to know!
- You have no control over what other people think or how they may judge you. All you do have control over is how you choose to respond to others, if at all. You also have control over yourself and your thoughts and opinions of them.
- Why you are so concerned about others’ opinions of you has more to do with your opinion of yourself than you may realize. For example, if you feel confident and clear about who you are (for the most part) and the decisions you make in your life, it is more likely you won’t put as much emphasis on what others think.
- Other people may be walking around worried about what you think of them. What’s the use with so many people walking around worried about what others are thinking of each other?
This seems to improve with age (one of the benefits of getting older) where we care less about others’ opinions of who we are and how we live. So be happy about aging while you begin to invest more energy into your own perception of yourself instead of worrying about others’ opinions of you. They may not even notice you and look at how much energy you wasted thinking about this issue. Imagine what you could have done with that time and energy….