“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” ~Lao Tzu
We carefully pick out what we wear to the gym to make sure we look good in the eyes of the other gym goers.
We beat ourselves up after meetings running through everything we said (or didn’t say), worried that coworkers will think we aren’t smart or talented enough.
We post only the best picture out of the twenty-seven selfies we took and add a flattering filter to get the most likes to prove to ourselves that we are pretty and likable.
We live in other people’s heads.
And all it does is make us judge ourselves more harshly. It makes us uncomfortable in our own bodies. It makes us feel apologetic for being ourselves. It makes us live according to our perception of other people’s standards.
It makes us feel inauthentic. Anxious. Judgmental. Not good enough. Not likable enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough.
F that sh*t.
The truth is, other people’s opinions of us are none of our business. Their opinions have nothing to do with us and everything to do with them, their past, their judgments, their expectations, their likes, and their dislikes.
I could stand in front of twenty strangers and speak on any topic. Some of them will hate what I’m wearing, some will love it. Some will think I’m a fool, and others will love what I have to say. Some will forget me as soon as they leave, others will remember me for years.
Some will hate me because I remind them of their annoying sister-in-law. Others will feel compassionate toward me because I remind them of their daughter. Some will completely understand what I have to say, and others will misinterpret my words.
Each of them will get the exact same me. I will do my best and be the best I can be in that moment. But their opinions of me will vary. And that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them.
Ok, “that’s all well and good” you may be thinking. “But how do I stop caring what other people think of me?”
1. Know your values.
Knowing your top core values is like having a brighter flashlight to get you through the woods. A duller light may still get you where you need to go, but you’ll stumble more or be led astray.
With a brighter light the decisions you make—left or right, up or down, yes or…