That One Ability Your Future Self Will Thank You For
I used to care A LOT about what other people think of me and for so long till caring too much was wearing me out.
I was worried about how people perceive me by the way I dress, the way I speak, and the way I behave. I was concerned about what others would say of me if I am not that obedient child according to societal standards.
I was worried that if I made negative (but sure, constructive) feedback about my working environment, my bosses would hate me for it. I was worried people would laugh at my naivety when I tell them my expectations and dreams. I was afraid that people would look down on me for this and that.
All these just made me deeply unhappy.
I don’t mean that I no longer care at all now because it is tough to achieve that state of mind. However, just knowing my stakes and learning when to ignore sometimes has already made me a much more carefree person.
Here are the reasons I tell myself why I should ignore what others think of me:
1. You will become less afraid of being judged
And that saves you from A LOT of unnecessary stress.
This reason is pretty straightforward. You know it deep inside your heart. Why do we care so much about what others think of us in the first place? Because we don’t want others to judge us for being different, we don’t want others to single us out as the ‘odd one’ or weird and even crazy. We don’t want people in public to shoot us disapproving or judging looks.
However, when you learn to ignore all, if not some, it will save you from a lot of unnecessary stress. You don’t have to keep guessing what is their perception of you, thus saving yourself from unnecessary overthinking. It is essential because it will leave you with so much more energy and time to stress over things that are more worth it.
And honestly, how many people care and remember me after a while? Hmm…probably only myself.
2. You will no longer always seek approval
And that saves you from the brink of suffering from depression.
Here, I am referring to seeking approval from the people or community who have some form of significance in our lives. This point is much harder than my earlier point. These are people from our family, our friends, our schoolmates and teachers, our bosses and coworkers, etc. These are people from communities we belong to and want to belong to.
We find it even harder to ignore these people because not only do we not want to be the ‘odd one out’ in the socially unacceptable way, we also do not want to be excluded or to end up an outcast from these communities.
Trust me; I know how you feel. I have been there. As humans, we are social animals, and we all want to belong somewhere. No one wants to be in isolation. Staying in isolation is also devastating for your health too.
BUT you also have to understand that constantly trying to seek approval from everyone will wear you out very soon. Maybe you are already worn out. You lost your sleep over it. You lost your appetite over it. You risk falling into depression because no matter how hard you try to get those approvals, things just don’t work out sometimes. Some people will just never ‘approve’ you. And it is not your problem.
Already, people have conducted tons of research and studies, proving the negative impacts of social media, especially on the millennials and the younger generations that follow after. There is ample evidence to show the correlation between the unhealthy pursuit of approval on social media and suffering from constant unhappiness and depression.
3. You can be a more authentic version of yourself
And that will make you a happier person, I promise.
When you learn to ignore what other people think of you, you can be a more authentic version of yourself. And this isn’t for anybody; it is for yourself and only yourself. Who doesn’t feel happier to be true to themselves? Although no one in your workplace, for example, may ever thank you for being true to yourself, it’s a 7 billion population out there; there are people out there who are similar to you. They are the ones who will validate you and thank you because you show them the courage to do it.
4. You will be less daunted by rejections faced in your career
And that is important if you want to go far and succeed.
If you want to pursue something different and bold in your career life but you are so scared of what other people will think of you, then just settle at your work desk, stay in your comfort zone, in that position for as long as you can. Well, at least that’s what I tell myself.
When successful people share about their lives and challenges that they have faced while pursuing their desired career path, he or she will share with you how many times they got rejected, but they didn’t care and just moved on.
They didn’t care what the past 100 people, that they have pitched to, think about them. Maybe it is essential to take into account all the valuable feedback received from these people, but because they didn’t care, no one can stop them from going to the furthest that they can.
5. You are not going to conform easily
And that means you are more likely to create a change rather than always adapting to change.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists and adapts the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” — George Bernard Shaw
When I came across this quote, I was just mind-blown. What this guy is saying is so true. Look at Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Howard Schultz, Brian Chesky and his co-founders, and many other visionaries of our time. Look at how much of a change they have driven in the 21st century. Whether or not you think that the difference they have created is a positive one for the world, it is subjective, and we will not discuss it here.
Not all of us can be prominent visionaries and successful game-changers in this lifetime, but my point is when you are not afraid about what others think of you, you don’t conform under obligations.
If you are unhappy with the current working environment but you don’t just accept it hands down. You try to propose to your boss to create a more fun working environment to facilitate better sharing and learning. You try to suggest some changes to your client’s brief without compromising their basic needs. At most, it is just a “no.” You are more likely to create a change rather than adapting if you can learn how to ignore what others think of you.
As mentioned earlier, I am still learning to ignore entirely, as this isn’t an easy process. Nevertheless, the past year has proven to me that I can be so much more carefree just by ignoring people who are not even significant to me.
If you are an entrepreneur who is just starting to gain traction for your product or service, know that no one will ever feel right from receiving hate messages on their Instagram page, saying how inferior their product is or how fake they are. Expect these and permit yourself to overcome them.
Slowly but surely, if you learn to ignore, you will be a much more confident person, you will be less worn out mentally, and most importantly, you will be much happier.
And your future self will definitely thank you.
Thank you for reading.:)