4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Care About What Other People Are Thinking About You
How is your self-esteem these days? Are you troubled by the opinions – or what you think those opinions are – others have about you? Most of us live our lives guided in part by concern for our reputations. We choose our actions based on what we think others will think of us. Is this a bad thing? On the whole, no; it becomes a bad thing when you let it rule your life instead of just guiding your actions. We never really grow up, we humans; we still want what we want, whether we should have it or not. The path we walk – righteous or outlaw – is determined by many factors: how we were raised, and do we know the difference between right and wrong; our genetics play a part in our being able to choose right from wrong, but they don’t run the whole show – we do have free will; our desire to do the right thing instead of just doing what we want and hang the consequences.
In trying to follow the right path, we are guided by our reputations, as stated above; can we live a life we want and still have this guidance? Yes, we can. The pressure of public opinion becomes a curse, however, if we let it. We’ve all known people who always thought about what others would think before they did anything. They chose their careers this way; they chose their spouses this way; they don’t make a move without carefully considering what the neighbors would say. This is letting what should be one factor in your decision-making process take over your whole life. This, as Martha would say, is a bad thing.
Caring About the Opinions of Others
Where does this trait come from? It comes from interacting in a society made up of others just like us. Societies don’t just happen; when a species comes together to form a society, rules have to be established; otherwise, chaos and anarchy reign supreme, and the benefits of living in a society become lost. We form societies because we benefit from the contributions of others, just as they benefit from our contributions. Societies originally formed for protection – the old ‘safety in numbers’ adage came from this. Despite what you hear from environmentalist wackos, Mother Nature is a harsh mistress, and survival of the fittest is the primary rule.
Humans originally banded together for defense against the forces of Nature, and to enhance their chances of survival. As we lived together and evolved, the nature of society changed, but the benefits of having others to share the work and protection duties, and to enjoy life with kept us together, and our society grew. Man is an animal; – there is no gainsaying this; there are those among us who don’t conform, and they do this in a manner hostile to a society’s health. This is where laws came from – for protection against the savages within. There are also those who don’t conform to society’s norms. Are these people outlaws or savages? Not necessarily. You can not conform to the society’s idea of normal, but still be a perfectly righteous individual.
Do you have to conform to the standards of normal behavior? When the standard reflects how you interact with others, as in working for what you get as opposed to stealing it, and killing others to get it, then yes – you do have to conform to these standards. Do you have to conform to the idea of grow up, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, spend your life slaving away at work while your kids grow up without you? Absolutely not. This is the standard because most of us are comfortable with it. If you are not, then you need to find your own path, always keeping in mind the laws we’ve made to protect your rights and the rights of others.
The founders of America said we had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If your idea of happiness is not the norm, then forget the norm. Let go of the opinions of others if they are forcing you into a life you don’t want. Everybody will be happier if you do. You have the freedom to choose your life – don’t let the opinions of others choose it for you. There is a major difference between living within the rules of society and letting society tell you how to live. The difference is living righteous and being yourself, instead of being a copy of what someone else thinks you should.
Judging Others and Being Judged
We all make judgments; about ourselves, about others, about life in general. You have to be able to make judgments in order to survive. If you can’t judge the merits of an action, you’ll find yourself in hot water at best and at worst you’ll wind up dead. We also judge other people. This is a necessary thing – not everyone is honest, and some people are downright evil. If you can’t tell the difference between a good person and a crook, you’ll lose your money and maybe wind up in jail. If you can’t determine the difference between a good person and an evil one, you’ll wind up as a statistic in a crime report.
Being able to judge is a good thing. Being judgmental about others is not. The last time I checked, we had not had an election and made you God; this means you are not perfect, and your judgments are not perfect either. Judging someone on their looks is part of judging what they are, but if you let looks run the show, you’ll find your judgments are steering you wrong. If someone is neat and clean, but not following the latest styles, should you judge them not worthy of time or attention? No, you should not. Should you decide how you look based on judgments by others? No, you should not.
The opinions of others matter in terms of what binds a society together. They don’t matter a damn in terms of how you look, how you dress, or how you choose to spend your life. As long as you live within the law, how you do it is nobody’s business but yours. In this light, social media is an evil thing. It focuses the attention of the masses on unimportant matters, and leads those without the strength to be themselves into keeping up with the Kardashians instead of living strong within themselves.
How to Overcome the Herd Mentality
The herd mentality is the term for mindlessly following current trends in fashion, be it social media, be it self-proclaimed celebrities, or be it locking yourself into a life not suited for you. How do you overcome it? It’s not easy; if you don’t have the strength of mind to determine who and what you are, you’ll find yourself following the herd as the line of least resistance. Developing strength of mind normally happens as you grow from infancy into adulthood. It requires guidance from your parents, your teachers, your ministers or priests, and your friends.
Choosing friends as you grow and learning from both the mistakes and positives of the relationships has a strong impact on your self-determination. If you grew up trying to follow the herd but feeling like it wasn’t right, then a therapist will be of benefit. A professional therapist can help you determine what you want from life, and how to get it. If you were a square peg as you grew up, you learned what you wanted on your own, and you learned not to care about the opinions of the so-called beautiful people. You knew they were shallow and unimportant even then, and you chose to be different. It hurt, being different, but you learned the difference was important – you lead a life you want to have, not a life chasing the latest fad.
We see ourselves through others, but this isn’t the whole picture. How others see us does matter – they may see flaws we can’t, and we need to address these flaws and correct them if possible. However – holding yourself to a standard others create is not the way to live. You have to determine your standards, and hold yourself to them; depending solely on the opinions of others is what leads to groupthink and to mindless obedience.
Genocide happens this way – the Holocaust happened because the population of Germany chose to turn a blind eye to the morals of the government and to let the opinions of the few run their lives. You don’t have to live a life based on the opinion of others. Listen to the opinions of others and decide if they have merit, but live your live based on your own opinions and beliefs. A good society benefits from this; it’s how we grow as a species, and as a society.Mindless obedience is never a good thing.