“Not one drop of my self-worth Depends on your acceptance of me.” Unknown.
Many people say they don’t care what people think of them. They’re the ones that go around saying things like “Only god can judge me” or “I got me and that’s all I need.” But deep down they are probably like all of us in many ways, they want people to like them and have a favorable opinion about them. The truth is that it’s very hard to master the mindset of not caring what people think of you, regardless of how easy people say it is. As humans it’s natural for us to want people to like us and care what they think, we are social creatures who crave the attention and approval of our peers. However as I have discovered, and I’m sure you have as well, living off the approval of others is no way to live.
Caring what other people think about you is one of the most common forms of slavery. We begin to live to please others, concerned more with how they will accept us rather than accepting ourselves and doing what makes you happy. When you care more about the opinion of others rather than your opinion of yourself, it will show in your motives. Instead of doing what feels right to you, you end up joining the crowd and losing yourself in the process. I’m speaking from experience on that matter I’ve done things I’m ashamed of, things outside my true character because I begin to care more what people thought of me rather than what I thought of myself.
Yes Keith, we know all this but how do we start to live free from the need of others? The answer is more obvious than you may think, they key is to simply start loving yourself. The thing is we live in a society that makes it increasingly difficult to do that. Magazines try and sell us their definition of beauty, when you have a different opinion than the majority, they try to make you feel inferior, and of course there’s social media. We crave likes on Facebook and Instagram so we post what people will approve of rather than what we truly feel. We post selfie after selfie, so that we can have people tell us we’re beautiful and feel down when we don’t get the likes we want. Don’t lie, we’ve all been there at least a couple of times, I know I have. Then sometimes we post something that does get likes but feel bad because it wasn’t our real thoughts or feelings. We just posted what we wanted everyone to like.
Below is a list of things to help you start loving yourself more.
1. Make a list of all of your strengths and what you like about yourself. Whatever it is writing, sports, helping, compassion, your voice, your hair, your eyes, anything make the list and put it in a place you’ll see often, in order to remind yourself that you’re pretty damn cool.
2. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself as often as possible. In the words of Holden Caulfield, I know it sounds cheesy but it works. In a book called The How of Happiness by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, a woman named Judith who had been depressed and didn’t love herself did something similar. Every day she would look in the mirror and tell her self “Hey Gorgeous”. She felt silly about it and laughed often but she kept at it and along with other things she begin to love herself again.
3. Set small goals and work at chipping them away. You can use a journal or even an app. If you’re an Iphone user I recommend the app Strides
Completing these small goals will foster a sense of self-worth and achievement unattached from others.
4. Embrace your individuality. A quote that’s often attributed to Dr. Sues goes “Be you, those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.” I’m not saying that we’ll ever fully get over our need for the approval of others, but if you learn how to be you, you’ll start to surround yourself with the right people who will embrace you for who you are, and begin to separate yourself from the negative people that wish to keep you in their box.
5. Stop the negative thoughts that you aren’t god enough and start being more positive. Every time you find yourself starting to think negative about yourself shout “STOP” to yourself. There are also apps that will remind you as often as you’d like to practice this type of mindfulness.
I hope this helps you. If you have anything to add please let us know and comment below. Share your wisdom, to help us all grow.