Some time during my adolescence, I became exceptionally good at not worrying about what other people think of me. My quote, “have fun and don’t worry about what other people think of you,” even made my high school senior year book. That statement still rings true today. I’m still having a lot of fun and not worrying about what people think of me. It’s not that I believe myself to be superior or even close to perfect; I’m most certainly not. However, I do have a hefty dose of self-respect, and with that respect comes unconditional self-love, acceptance of my quirks, and patience with my imperfections. I simply made a conscious decision a long time ago to accept myself, no matter what. I decided to love myself, not because of my lack of flaws, but in spite of them. Even though I’m always on a mission to improve, I have a particular comfort with being a flawed human being, something we all are, though some of us are in denial of that fact. I understand I will never be perfect. None of us will. Ever. It’s a futile, miserable effort to try to be everything to everyone, all the time.
I also realized early on that you can never please everyone, so you might as well be yourself. Some people will love you, some won’t, so what? It’s not your duty to mold yourself to fit into someone else’s ideal. That is called abandoning yourself and that will lead to feeling repressed and disingenuous.
Living your life free of the opinions of others starts with loving and accepting yourself first. Oddly, in our society, we’re often discouraged from being confident and liking ourselves. As the saying goes, “In a society that benefits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” Women are especially taught to cower down and hide themselves and their abilities. And for what? So other people don’t feel threatened? Don’t dim your light because other people are insecure and judgmental. While humility is a great virtue, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your self-esteem, authenticity or advancement.
At the end of the day, you get one shot at this life; your time here is simply too short to be spent feeling self conscious and inadequate. Here’s how to start loving yourself unconditionally and stop worrying about what other people think of you.
You Can’t Please Everyone
No matter what you do, there will always be people who will find a reason to dislike you. You could be the coolest person in the world, but your face, your voice, your religion (or lack thereof), your background, career or otherwise will cause people to draw conclusions about you. This is when you just have to step back, put your hands up and say, “oh well.” Stop trying. Stop worrying. Bigoted people are a lost cause.
The reality is, there are people in this world that you simply can not please, and I advise you to remove these types of people from your life if possible. They will only bring negativity and drama. You see, what you must realize (assuming you’ve been decent to such people) is that often, ironically, those who are hyper-critical and judgmental of others are suffering from their own issues of insecurity and inadequacy. Behind a superiority complex is always inferiority. Insecure people often project their own shortcomings on other people. These perpetually dissatisfied types will always look for reasons to dislike you rather than accept you, so you just have to chalk it up as a lost cause, ignore them and/or remove them from your life. Know you deserve better.
There Are BILLIONS of People in the World
Please put this in perspective; there are billions of other people in the world who could potentially like you. So, when you think about it, why care what one, two, or even a handful of people think of you? That’s like less than .00000001% of the population. There are so many other people out there to build relationships with and make friends with. If someone seems to always have a problem with you no matter what, they’re not really worth your time anyway. Keep your chin up and never beg for acceptance. If someone can’t see the greatness in you, move on. There are BILLIONS of other people out there who can potentially love and appreciate you.
Life is Too Short
Seriously. Your time here is limited. Why waste your energy on people who don’t appreciate you? You don’t get your minutes, hours, days, or years back. Ever. They’re gone, so why waste one more minute worrying about what other people think of you? Doesn’t it make more sense to enjoy your life and focus on the things and people who add value to your life? It’s a no-brainer. When you’re 80 years old, will you look back and say, “I did everything I wanted and I had a hell of a lot of fun while I was doing it.” Or will you say, “I worried too much about what people thought of me and held myself back. I have so many regrets.” I hope you choose the former.
Your Critics Aren’t Doing That Great
Look, if they’re so focused on your life and throwing you under the bus, clearly they’re not that satisfied with themselves and their own lives. Otherwise they wouldn’t have so many bonus hours to follow your every move and stalk your social media feeds. Amiright? Do you think Richard Branson or Oprah are going around criticizing people and gossiping? Absolutely not. Because they have exciting, fulfilling lives and better things to do with their time. So, actually you should feel a little sorry for hateful people; they are the ones suffering enough that they have to go around pointing fingers and putting other people down.
Live Really, Really Well
It’s amazing how your worries about what other people think melt away when you’re living well. Instead of letting “haters” get you down, use it as motivation to do even better. There is absolutely no reason you should allow undeserving people to live in your head and dull your light. So, if someone doesn’t like you and you’ve done your best to be a good person, so what? You’re not the jerk whisperer. It’s not your duty to get hateful or bigoted people to like you.
At the end of the day, you create your own outcomes and reality. You choose how you value yourself and your time. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make your feel inferior without your consent.”
Keep your head up, surround yourself with people who are good to you, and most of all, give yourself a big hug. There is only one person in this world who can never leave you, and that is you.