Who Gives a Crap What Others Think?

I’ve had some interesting discussions with my love of late, as we’ve recognised a difference of opinion – something that doesn’t happen very often. It seems that Steve is still really conscious of other people’s opinions, and this includes complete strangers. When I was younger, I used to care a lot about what people thought of me. People who were in my life at that time might say “what you? No way” – because I was definitely out there in many ways (fashion-sense, “stunning” hair-styles, opinions, etc..) But I did, I was really impacted by what people thought about me.

Then one day, probably in my early 20s, I decided enough was enough, and slowly weaned myself away from caring about what others thought of me. I recognised that absolutely no one knew where I was coming from or understood why I believed what I believed, so decided it was time to focus on what I thought of myself as the most important thing. It was a very liberating process to go through and one I think continues to serve me well. It gives me more confidence I suppose – confidence to live the life I want in the way I know is right for me and my family. I also don’t feel the need to justify that to anyone, nor do I feel the need to judge others for the way they choose to live – because how can I know?

When I think about it, there are very few people whose opinions matter to me – Steve and my boys will always matter, very close friends or clients who are in my life on a regular basis definitely matter, and probably the people around my boys – such as their teachers. They all matter because they impact my life every day, and therefore, I care what they think. I don’t change who I am because of them, but I am aware of their role in my life.

For everyone else, including family and friends, who are not living my life with me every day, I can’t take on their stuff. How can I integrate their opinions of my life into me, when in almost all cases, they have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, or even why I make the decisions I make? Families are a special group in this equation, with most taking great delight in expressing opinions about our lives. However, if you live miles apart – physically or psychologically – why structure any aspect of your life taking their opinions into account? Especially if they tend towards the negative? Respect for family is a good thing, but only if it goes both ways. And then complete strangers? I absolutely DO NOT care what they think, because they are strangers and have no impact on my life! If they become friends who I care about, because all of my friends are people I value on many levels, then it changes and I care.

I’ve asked a few other people in recent weeks whether or not they care about the opinions of others, and apparently, the majority are impacted by what others think.  So I thought I’d ask my community – do you care or have you torn yourself away from living your life based on the opinions of others?

All I know (and believe very deeply for myself) is this: the only thing that matters is how you value yourself, and if you can do that, well that’s awesome and the path to happiness. It’s something I want to teach the boys, but obviously to succeed; I need Steve on board too.

I’m wondering if anyone agrees with me or can share their experience of breaking away from the burden of others opinions? Or perhaps you still find yourself caring too much? Let me know?

Yours, without the bollocks


3 Responses

  1. I had a ghastly childhood because I always sought the approval of others; when I didn't get it I would try even harder, and thus make myself even less welcome. It took me a while to learn that this is not the way forward, and getting away from constantly worrying about what others think about one is, as you say, very liberating.


    The danger in not giving a damn what others think is that it can go too far and lead to thoughtlessness, rudeness and antisocial behaviour. The simple courtesies in life are based on a consideration for the way other people feel about your actions – I believe that other people's opinions can and should act as check and balance on one's own behaviour.

    So there is value in giving weight to what others think of you – the trick, and in my case the difficulty, is striking that balance. Sometimes you should forge on regardless, sometimes you shouldn't. It's a bugger deciding which is which.

  2. I agree with Andrea. I don't really care about what others think about me unless i choose to. By this i mean that there are people in my life that have a negative impact on me or have negative thoughts about me and i choose not to care about their negative opinions. I am able to draw the line and let it slide. It took me a lot of time and quite a few disappointments to learn how to do this. Of course i need the total support and approval from my hubby, but this is a different relationship. I choose to not let other impact me in a negative way anyway as much as possible. Negative impact or thoughts is really what we're talking about here if someone things great thinks of you, We all care then!!!!! Love reading your blog Andrix. Cheers

  3. Hey Steve and Elsa, thanks for both reading and commenting! Steve I totally hear what you are saying and I'm definitely not saying I don't give a shit about my impact on other's lives – I think respect for everyone around you is REALLY important and I teach my kids that everyday – i.e. you having fun? Well your fun is making everyone else miserable, so is that really fun? I definitely want them to be respectful of others. BUT basing my life and decisions on the opinions of what other's think is not right for me? That's what I'm talking about. No one else knows me like me, or you like you, so it's more than not giving a crap about what other people think of you, it's about having faith in yourself, and the people who come along with you for the ride are those worth keeping hold of. I definitely do not think I'm an arsehole in anyway, and am always conscious of the feelings and needs of others, but I just don't let opinions shape who I am – as Elsa said, especially the negative ones. Letting those people in is not a way to live a happy life – but good on you for sharing Steve and in achieving the "balance." Elsa, I know you've gone through a lot of judgmental shite in recent years, but you're the happiest person I know and an inspiration to love. Big kisses to you woman xxxxx

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