It’s Time to Care Less

begging for chance - business womanWhether you worry about what people think, try not to offend anyone or put on a happy face all the time, you’re living from a place of fear. We all want to fit in. But focusing too much on pleasing others takes us away from being fully present.

Consider that you cannot know most people’s true feelings, nor should you. As the saying goes, “What others think of you is none of your business.”

I am not suggesting that you behave arrogantly or not care at all; being respectful of others is important. But I am addressing our tendency to allow other peoples’ attitudes towards us to figure too prominently in our self- appraisal. It’s exhausting and detrimental to worry about things that are ultimately out of our control.

Fear of being excluded or treated poorly can lurk inside us. Perhaps it’s a memory of being the last one picked for a team or a particularly embarrassing moment. Those feelings of ostracism and shame run deep and it’s time to put them to rest.

Everyone has their particular concern – Am I smart enough? Thin enough? Rich enough? ‘Together’ enough? People unwittingly behave as if they are being monitored on other people’s radar screens all the time. It’s like those bumper stickers on trucks asking, ‘How’s My Driving?’  By giving others the power to judge you, your sticker might be saying,  ‘Am I Good Enough for You?’

The best person to worry about pleasing is you!  True freedom can be found from knowing you’re doing your best, given your current circumstances. (See Do Your Best for more on this.) 

There are times when you will be dissatisfied with yourself.  For some, those emotions are profound, like the feeling of not achieving full potential. It’s hard to approach the world when you feel discouraged. Yet focusing on pleasing those all around you will not remove those feelings, and will take you further away from healing and growth.

Think about what else you could do with all the emotional energy that gets thrown at others. In the end, most people don’t really track what you’re up to. Freeing yourself from this preoccupation and reclaiming your own value is a major step in caring less about making impressions and more about what matters.