top of page

Stop Caring so Much About What Other People Think of You

In writing, like in life itself, we tend to spend a lot of time focusing on what other people are thinking about us.

Did I sound stupid when I said that? What does she think of my outfit? Do they like me?

We ask ourselves these questions all day, and more, worrying about whether we are pleasing our loved ones and even strangers in our lives.

I have always been a people-pleaser, and spent time obsessing about if other people liked me or not, and what I could do to get them to like me better. It reeks of desperation. Nobody likes to be around someone who is desperate and needy.

So, how do we stop ourselves? Well first, we have to realize our people-pleasing tendencies.

When you are constantly worried about the approval of others, you become a chameleon. You change based on the situation, and who you are with. You aren't living authentically. This can cause a cognitive dissonance within you that leads to additional stress and anxiety.

Here are some signs from Psych Central that you may be worrying too much about what others think of you:

  • You change yourself in response to criticism, regardless of what it is and who it comes from.

  • You let other people make decisions for you.

  • You don’t set or maintain boundaries.

  • You’re a perfectionist.

  • You hold your tongue if your opinion differs from everyone else’s.

  • Your peace of mind relies on approval from others.

  • You’re constantly apologizing, even when you did nothing wrong.

  • You rarely say “no.”

If you are doing some, or all, of these things it can be damaging to your relationships and to your mental health. If you are worrying excessively, it can be a sign of stress or anxiety in your life.

Take back control of your life

Easier said than done, I know. We all fear judgement from others, especially those closest to us. We want so deeply to be liked.

However, it is important to have people in your life who like you for who you really are, not who you can pretend to be. Keeping up a façade for fear of what people think can absorb a huge amount of mental energy that could be better spent doing something else.

It is normal to want to be liked, but it is possible to take things too far, so that you are changing your personality to fit in with other people.

First, ask yourself, is this what the people around me actually want? Would they be able to accept me as I am? What if they don't? What is the worst thing that will happen?

If you stop people-pleasing, odds are that some people in your life are going to be upset. This is because these people are using you to get what they want, and your inability to say no is what they are actually latching onto.

When you start to take your power back, to live authentically and without fear, some of these people are going to make loud protests and others will fall away.

Those are probably people you didn't want in your life anyway. It is no fun to be around people who are just using you because you say yes all the time.

Now, it is time to begin to live authentically and without fear of what comes next. You accept that some people who aren't good for you aren't going to be in your life anymore. This may be difficult, and it may come as a shock who some of these people are.

But, the shock of losing people from your life will ebb over time, and the stress of living inauthentically to please them will last for as long as you let it.

By beginning to live authentically, by refusing to cater to others whims, it is like ripping the band-aid off. It hurts at first, but it allows the cut to heal and breathe.

Similarly, you will be more at ease and less stressed if you live authentically and eliminate people from your life who are just using you for your people-pleasing tendencies.

But, how do I do it?

Start saying no, start setting boundaries, and start doing the things you have always wanted to do but never told anyone. That is how you begin to be more authentically yourself.

Saying no may be difficult if you are used to saying yes all the time. One of the things I find helpful is not replying right away. Take time to think. Ask yourself if doing something is going to serve your highest good.

Then, say no to things that aren't serving you. Say no to things that don't take you in the direction of your goals and dreams. Say no to things that make you less.

When people are good, when they are meant to be in your life, they will accept your no without question. They will support you along your journey of self-discovery, and they will stay with you as you grow.

Only people who are threatened by your growth are going to get jealous and turn their backs. Small people want you to stay small. People who are following their own dreams will encourage you to follow yours.

According to Psych Central, here are some tips on taking your power back and living authentically:

  • Expect and accept that people will have opinions of you

  • Take back control over your own feelings

  • Remember that everybody makes mistakes

  • Develop your sense of self and build confidence

  • Don’t try to mind read – you’re probably wrong

  • Consider the source

  • Know that you’re usually your own worst critic

  • Surround yourself with accepting, supportive people

  • Consider therapy

  • Hold your own judgments of others

When you decide to stop caring what other people think about you, it can be really scary at first. However, once you realize that most of the people judging you don't have your best interests at heart, it becomes easier.

You can let the judgements roll off your back, and distance yourself from people who aren't positive and supportive of you.


It will take practice and hard work within yourself to stop caring so much about what other people think of you. But when you do, it will have a freeing effect on you. You will realize that people who are judging you don't really want what's best for you.

People who want the best for you will still be there for you if you learn how to say no and set boundaries. People who really love and care for you aren't going to be passing judgement on you for the things that you do or the goals that you decide to pursue.

Small people want to keep you small. Self-confident people will support you in your growth, and be happy for you as you grow into your authentic self. The more you learn to be yourself and be happy in your own skin, the more you will find other like-minded people.

If you have trouble overcoming your fears about what other people think of you, consider speaking with a therapist or life coach, since they are trained in helping you learn how to be your best self.


bottom of page