For a people-pleasing person like me, that conclusion is a hard one to come to. I learned very well how to please professors, bosses, and other superiors. I learned how to read the reaction of patients and respond in ways that they could understand. Most people liked me.
But I was comparatively useless.
It’s my unique understanding that makes me most valuable. And it’s YOUR unique life experience and perspective that someone else – or the world – needs. If you care too much what others think of you, your ideas, or your way of doing things, you won’t be any good to anyone.
Now how you offer that perspective and experience makes all the difference in the world. If you come across as arrogant, miserable, or selfish no one else is likely to understand or value what you have to offer. On the other hand, if you come across as caring, confident, and wise others are much more likely to accept what you can give.
Worrying what anyone thinks can get you into hot water such as:
- Spending money on things you don’t have to impress people you may not even like.
- Choosing a career that doesn’t fit you because someone else thought you should.
- Feeling ashamed from losing your integrity while trying to fit in.
- Finding that life has passed you by and you’ve never done what you were meant to do.
Doing something significant and successful means other people won’t like you – at least much of the time. Being a leader in any way means some people won’t understand. Changing anything negative in your family tree means you will feel a lot of resistance from those who feel threatened.
Here are some specific situations where it’s important to NOT care others think:
- When doing so would compromise your integrity. Moral values are not and cannot be dependent on my feelings or your feelings. Doing things with excellence may not be popular or easy. But a tarnished soul is not worth the price you would pay. Keeping your integrity will mean others won’t understand, and that’s often a GOOD thing!
- When your job demands it. Sometimes your work environment or your boss makes thinking independently almost impossible. But your boss doesn’t need another one of himself: he/she needs YOU. Don’t be a yes-man!
- When making important decisions. In choosing things like career, where to live, and how to spend money you must be true to your own heart, or jointly between you and your spouse. Advice from others may be useful, but the decisions are up to you.
- When changing a negative pattern. Family of origin issues are tough to change, and relatives are not likely to agree when you try and make a positive change. Breaking free of an addiction may mean losing “friends” in a previous lifestyle.
- When fulfilling your primary purpose in life. To whatever degree you understand why you are here on this planet, fulfilling that challenge will mean doing things and making decisions that many will not understand. It can get a little lonely at the top, and that’s OK!
So what if somebody else doesn’t like you. Or doesn’t understand you. At the end of your life will you really care? If not, then take a risk and be yourself!
Your turn: What have you done only because of what someone else would think? How did you feel after doing so? What would you change in the future? I’d love to hear from you!