[This post is similar to another post I’ve written called: Not giving a damn is not the answer
No, you shouldn’t change who you are to be liked by people. And you shouldn’t cave into to peer pressure at the expense of your identity.
But not caring what people think is not the answer.
While you may not agree with what people think or say about you (and some would say it’s none of your business), if you believe in bettering yourself as a person, it’s important to allow yourself to internally acknowledge and be aware of the feedback you get in life.
- Do you ruffle feathers everywhere you go?
- Do you get into arguments or make enemies easily?
- Do you find yourself getting into the same kinds of dysfunctional relationships?
- Do you act creepy or make people uncomfortable without realizing it?
- Is your body language saying one thing while you are saying another?
These are important things to be aware of.
Acknowledging what others think (positive or negative) provides us with valuable feedback that allows us to make sure we are acting and communicating in the manner we think we are. And if we are not, it provides the opportunity to make changes to how we do things (if we so choose).
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” — Winston Churchill
There are a lot of people who suck and act badly simply because they refuse to even acknowledge the feedback they get on a consistent basis.
“You think I’m a jackass? Well, I don’t care.”
The fact is, if people are calling you a jackass, it’s a good idea to be open to the idea of exploring *why* they said that and if it has any validity.
And it may not. Just because someone calls you a jackass doesn’t mean you’re a jackass, but something about the circumstances you found yourself in led to negative feedback. And after analyzing the situation, you may discover that you could have done something more effectively in the situation — even if was simply to avoid it altogether.
While I don’t believe in not caring what people think, I do believe in is not fearing it.
And that’s a huge difference.
One approach says, “I’m fearful of accepting or acknowledging negative feedback” and the other says, “I have a strong enough sense of self to not let criticism (or praise) adversely affect my sense of self-worth.”
“When you truly know who you are — and who you are in the process of becoming — you will no longer live in fear of what people say or think about you.”
Because you can’t please everyone, sometimes you will act in a fashion that upsets people or makes them uncomfortable. And sometimes it is completely justified — it comes at the cost of expressing yourself in an authentic fashion.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act that way. But it also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about the response you get — you simply shouldn’t be afraid of it or let it bother you.
Not letting what other people think bother you is one thing, not caring is another.
I believe the goal should be develop a strong enough sense of self to not let what others say or think about you diminish (or inflate) your sense of self-worth, not to simply “not care”.
“Allowing yourself to be open is a sign of confidence, and it’s a strength that will get you much further in life, and provide you with the ability to weather more storms, than simply pretending that storms don’t exist.”