Saturday, September 14, 2013

Do you care what others think?

A few days ago I had my feeling hurt by someone that I care about. I'm not one that is offended easily, nor do I get my feelings hurt easily, but my feeling were hurt nonetheless.

I'm often reminded that the world has a negative view of what we should care about when others speak. Or is this a positive view?

"I don't care what you think"
Let me tell the story. I was told this the day after the person I was speaking to left a chat we were in on phone using Viber. Apparently their phone froze and I just assumed they left, I was at work, and it was during lunch so I just turned my phone off and went back to work. Instead of messaging me and simply explaining to me what had happened, I was told nothing until the following day. At which time I said "It only takes a second to communicate what happened". Their reply? "You can think what you want to" and the infamous "I don't care what you think".

Why did I tell you this story?
Because just this 2 minute interaction stopped me in my tracks. It really hurt my feelings and I had to stop and question if I actually care about what others think.
I do not rely on the opinions or the thoughts of others in order to build my self esteem. I'm quite happy with the person that I am, keeping in mind that I'm always growing and learning and always trying to self improve, not because others tell me to but because I want to be the best person I can be. Why? Because I find that's the healthiest way to live, that's how I live with myself. That's what makes ME happy. 
I do not need the approval of others to validate the person that I am.

That being said, I believe that most comments of "I don't care what you think", are just defense mechanisms to protect our feelings. AND... there is NOTHING wrong with protecting your feelings. But I'd only say this if a person is giving me their unsolicited negative advice.

So my answer is YES, I do care about what people in general think, because it's GOOD to think well of others and to validate them as human beings and their opinions.

However, I don't NEED people to agree with me, I don't Need to be validated. I have my own mind and I can handle constructive criticism.

I don't wonder around the planet telling people what they should change about their lives, I mind my business and I tend to not bother about how others live their lives as long as no one is being harmed. "Live and let live" is my motto.
Even if you are living the way you want to live your life, it in no way EVER gives you the right to hurt someone else. You have no right to treat me rudely and I will not tolerate it. 

I don't care if you like my shirt.
Or my hair.
Or my shoes.
I don't care if you like the car I drive.
I don't care if you don't like the music I like.

But I do care that you respect my feelings, my personal space and my opinions, even if you don't agree with them.

Our life happiness can't be based on what others think. 

But we weren't put on this planet to live alone, we need companionship and friendship.
Humans thrive on the the love of others.
So when should we truly care?

I thought about it for a long while, thinking about my own life as an example.
This is when I think that we should care about what others think
  • YOUR BOSS It's a good idea to value what your boss thinks of your job performance or of your personal appearance for that matter. After all, you do want to KEEP your job, you do want a paycheck. In saying that, it doesn't mean that your bosses opinion should ever reach out into your personal life. Unless of course your personal life dictates your job (Obviously we can't break the law in our personal lives and still expect to keep our jobs). What your boss thinks of you doesn't validate you as a person. It only means that you have to be a certain person at work... Teacher, Lawyer, Doctor... That you don't have to be in your personal life.
  • YOUR DOCTOR Come on people. If your Doctor tells you you're fat. You probably are. Did that hurt your feelings? Probably. Did it motivate you? I hope so. My Doctor has told me to lose weight because my blood pressure has been climbing steadily. (Why can't sugar be healthy??)
  • YOUR CHILDREN This is a tricky one. Because anyone with adult children knows that they can sometimes be as critical as your mother! But listen to them anyway. Listen without talking, and then think on it. Was any of it true? Take what you like. Leave the rest to "That's your opinion and I don't agree".
  • YOUR PARTNER Having a healthy relationship means talking and communicating, it means that when your partner feels something, you need to listen, you need to validate them as an important person, you need to let them know that what they think and feel is very important to you. The only time I would say this ISN'T the case is if you're with an overly critical or verbally abusive person. In that case, you should be thinking about whether you should even be with this person! (Don't beat yourself up, it took me 5 years of verbal abuse before I realized that my partner would always be mean to me and hurt me). If your partner doesn't care what you think... Get out
  • WHEN YOU SEEK COUNSEL If you're seeking the counsel of a best friend, a Pastor, a Preacher, a Counselor, a Psychologist or a Therapist. You need answers. Listen. But always remember to listen for the truth. You know in your heart what is right from wrong. If you know that something doesn't line up with how your life is, don't take things to heart. This person is there to help, again... Take what you need and leave the rest.

Don't let people bring you down, you're pretty awesome. Don't ever care about what others think when they are being abusive, hurtful or just plain jerks. Don't let mean people dictate your self esteem. For these people I say...

Writing this post has been a release for me. One that I needed to remember. Because I have the right to my own opinion and I have the right to be treated with respect. Just as I value and respect others.
Thank you for listening,
If you can think of any positive that needs to be added... PLEASE do share it!


  1. I think I feel the same way you do. There are times when it's a good idea to care what others think, when it pertains to issues like your health, your safety, obeying laws, etc. But I also feel that I've been through enough in my life, and I've reached a certain age and maturity, and feel confident in the choices I have made, that it just isn't very important to me anymore to have others approve of what I do. I fought for so long for approval from certain people in my life and I'll never get it, so at some point you just have to cut your losses and live the life you love. :)

  2. Tammy- This is a wonderful post. I have always liked people in general and strive to be liked without compromising myself in the process. I do believe we need to make choices that make us happy as long as it is not at the expense of someone else's deserved happiness.

    There are those people that will NEVER be happy no matter how much you try to please them. I have had a few of them in my life; sounds like you did, too. xo Diana

  3. I completely agree with everything you've said - it's a great post. Like you, I have enough life experience and confidence to get through most days without worries BUT it's the silly, unexpected things that get through and hurt. Jx

  4. So sad that people are always o quick to judge, sounds like you lots of a lot of confidence to get you through.

  5. Oh Tammy you've got it in a nutshell - I just agree with all you've written about. My daughter is always telling me 'not to worry about what people think'. She's right. I do normally worry about other people but do they worry about me? I think not. Your post has really made me sit up and think about a few things. I do agree with Jennifer above, I've always, always wanted to have the approval of others - some might say this is lack of confidence but I just have to get things right so that I can feel good about myself. Thank you for this post Tammy. I'm starting to think differently already. Have a wonderful week.
    Patricia x

    1. PS - and I'm so sorry that you had your feelings hurt. I went on about me so much I hope I didn't hurt your feelings too. x

  6. Very thoughtful post, Tammy. And I agree -- I don't care if people think I have bad hair or whatever. But I do care about their opinion of me as a human being. Feelings, character -- it all fits in there... nice.

  7. Absolutely!
    Great post...
    I need to work on this a bit more, myself..:o)

    Linda :o)

  8. I relate to your story. I remember someone close to me putting my phone call to them on hold and taking another call, and I waited for 10-15 minutes but they never returned. When I next spoke to them I was concerned they'd had a personal emergency, but nope, they were just being rude!

    I really like this post. I actually care a lot about what other people think of me, but only certain people. Not strangers, not acquaintances, not "the Joneses." But like you, I care about what my boss and co-workers and parents and neighbours and lots of other people think, because I hold all of them in high esteem, and I dare to hope the feeling is mutual :)

  9. Oh, honey! I'm so sorry you got your feelings hurt. That breaks my heart. You are far too kind of a person for someone to treat you that way. Shame on them.

    I like your list and I agree with every single one. I would add our close friends on there, too. Their opinions matter, otherwise they wouldn't be your friends. :o)

  10. Oh this is interesting, what a great post. I care much too much about what other think of me and wish I could care less sometimes. I am learning that more as I get older. x

  11. I love the Coco Chanel quote!

  12. Excellent points, Tammy. Though our self-esteem shouldn't depend on what others think, too many times that "I don't care what others think" is really just an excuse for rude behaviour.


Thank you for your positive comments!