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Can You -- and Should You -- Stop Caring What Others Think?

What are your personal experiences and tips on building self-confidence and reducing the impact of others' opinions on your life?

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Top comments (9)

sagaofsilence profile image
Sachin • Edited

We don't live in isolation, and the opinions of others can have an impact on our lives. However, we have control over our reactions and the extent to which external opinions influence our well-being.

Deciding not to let harsh opinions pierce holes in your body and soul is a powerful metaphor for emotional resilience.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (

I went deep into the abyss of depression for more than a decade.
My trick to get out of that was to find a fight that is bigger than me and meaningful to me.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. -- Nietzsche

Man's Search for Meaning is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose to each person's life through one of three ways: the completion of tasks, caring for another person, or finding meaning by facing suffering with dignity.

ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke

Some people should better start caring what others think.
Some people should care less what others think.

More precisely: as developers, we need to communicate to do our job.

We can use empathy and communication to assess expectations and experience that others have and maybe won't tell us explicitly even when we ask them. Think of poorly defined customer requirements. It will make everyone's lives much easier when we care about what they think. Think of experience: seeking advice and asking the right questions could spare us errors and working hours wasted doing trial and error.

But of course the leading question sound like it's about a different kind of "caring what others think". Many people tend to have fears and expectations what other people might think about us and about our work. That might be those who have the power and task to judge about us, our behavior or our work, like team leaders, HR interviewers, judges or the police. But it might be someone, anyone, like a coworker, a neighbor or a complete stranger. In that case, yes, we shouldn't care much about what others think.

taikedz profile image
Tai Kedzierski

Well captured nuance of the question.

As always, the answer must start with "it depends...." 😏

omicreativedev profile image

"Should we" questions always trouble me.
For most I find the answer to be "sometimes" or "depends."
Now can we? Probably not at first thought. Second, sure.
But I think even clinical psychopaths NOTICE what others think and care at least to find amusement, so anyone with even a degree more empathy will care a little more— even if that thought it rebuked by the strongest of Zen Buddhist Masters.
But should we? That is a good question.
Most would say if you are of the "success mindset" you should not.
If you are of a highly charitable mindset, such as religious, you would (at least for whom you have allegiance, and for whom you judge as good.)
I think the answer is ALWAYS YES ....for... certain people.
You SHOULD care, to some degree, what your own children and spouse thinks.
Even if you disagree, you should care that they care what they think.
You SHOULD care what your boss thinks about your work at your job.
You probably SHOULD care, usually, about what the POLICE or law enforcement think of your behavior IF you're trying to stay out of jail.
If you are running a business, you SHOULD care about what your customer thinks about your product, service, customer service, etc.
If you're in school or your children are, you should care about the teacher's feedback.
In this context, I remark CARE as "giving a damn somewhat."
Should you care what the public thinks?
I think in some cases, yes.
I think if you rail too far from public consensus, you would be asocial or antisocial... even perhaps qualify for Antisocial Personality Disorder (Psychopath/Sociopath) and as such, you may not make good relationships, garner trust, have customers, keep jobs, make any money... and you'll probably die.

I find that people that say you cannot care what people think are selling a lie. It's for people who care TOO MUCH to just aspire to care less so that they can strike a healthy balance between outward support and self-acceptance.

overflow profile image

I see you put a question on "Should". is it because maybe it comes through as intense insistence a sort of authoritative enforcement??

"...and you'll probably die."

that quote brings to mind that we are herd animals. And depend on one another for survival. And that brings into consideration certain behavioural traits that are natural to the herd. And anything else that is alien may be a risk or hazard; as it is not normal to all of us and anything other than that could expose us all to harm like either illnesses and or enemies.-Imagine a goat that does not bleat like other goats.
the other goats probably thinking ;"is that dude really a goat?; what if he wolf".
Humans behave in the same way. they quickly disappear when they feel that you are gonna be a liability ,either beauty wise, intelligence wise, employment wise etc.
There is cases of animals abandoning their newly born and or hatchling. If they don't seem the same as them or herd .

That is why even when being hunted you will find animals like impalas showing off all together to show off how fit they are to the lion. Its a "ye never gonna catch me man!!!" and then the lion starts looking at other candidates that are not part of the common factor. It is about survival.
if you do not care to be like everyone else you risk sticking out. key word risk. and risk is of the extremes. very very good or very very bad.

That is why "not caring" is mostly relegated to the rock and roll stars and hip hop stars .....I cant be walking down the streets with no shoes on man cause I aint KAnye. I loooove Kanye...Im from South Africa. I can walk barefoot anytime but it is not the thing thing right now ! like for real.
There is many things that rock and roll stars can do that not you and I can. From every aspect of life to the way they dress.

overflow profile image

basically for me it boils down to : If it starts affecting other people other than me. Then it is a problem. If it is not good for my health and or long term survival. or impedes the flow of my happiness and flow in movement and freedom and my constitutional rights and and or my spirituality. in essence if it messes with ME!!
Then we's gots us some problems.
Otherwise who cares.
But then I don,t think that leaves anything for me to no care about after that.
But then I could do whatever and take precautions.
I wanna be a porn star because I feel that I have something BIG to offer. But I don't want people to recognise me and there is also health concerns. So I am gonna wear masks and contraceptive sheets. That is Solutions right

atabakoff profile image
  1. You build confidence by proving that you are worthy.
  2. You prove that you are worthy by repeatedly keeping promises given to yourself.
  3. Do it 1000 times and you build self-confidence.

Decided to start running tomorrow morning? Next morning it's raining & you still wake up and go running - you add a stone to your building of confidence.

Lay down & stay in bed - you take out a stone from your building of confidence.

It's that simple yet hard to follow.

overflow profile image

Sometimes it’s also a point of view of life. I know people that have had near death experiences who have told me many times that you think ok got time “overFlow” many times. This person has a different point of view of life. It’s like it’s something on a thread and it’s a fleeting object. So they don’t care what anybody thinks they jus do whatever they want cause it could soon be gone just like that. While most of is who have not had that kind of situation. Take care a lot about life. Are very very careful in every foot step and movement. So views are also different due to experience,spirituality,possessions, expectations etc and maybe what we expect out of life.
I use for think I’d live forever. But after some experiences I have had. I have slightly changed the way I view life.

That’s my take two.