What Others Think

By Allie Brickman

There seems to be a select few out there who just don’t care what others think about them. They have a “Love me or hate me” attitude that allows them to go about their business without the slightest sensitivity to the judgments of others. This outlook on life…the one in which the only person you worry about satisfying is yourself…is one us mere mortals probably have not quite yet attained.

I think it’s healthy to care what others think of you to some extent. A complete lack of regard for the perceptions and opinions of others can lead one to make selfishly driven decisions that can be hurtful or damaging to those around them. However, giving too much merit to the opinions of others can hold us back from being authentically ourselves, and thus from living the most fulfilling life we can.

Some of us end up giving more credence to the opinions others have of us than to the opinions we have of ourselves. Someone thinks our outfit looks stupid—and we may change for fear others will think the same…never mind that we love it. Someone tells us we need to lose weight, or to gain weight, and our entire self-image is shifted…never mind that we think we look fine. When others like us, we feel good. But what about whether or not we like ourselves? Most of us can attest to the fact that constantly working to sustain the approval of others can be utterly exhausting.

What is important is what YOU think. Because pretending to be something you’re not or to like something you don’t, or changing something you like about yourself to please others, will satisfy your desire for approval…but it will not satisfy your desire to live life as you truly wish to. And, down the line, when you’re looking back on the life you lived, it won’t matter what the lady across the street thought about you holding the hand of someone of the same gender, or what the cashier thought of your blue-dyed hair, or even what your sister thought of your polyamorous lifestyle. What will matter is that you got to live the life you wanted. That you got to be yourself.

It’s not easy to push aside the opinions of others. But it important to remind yourself that the most important opinion is your own. You deserve to be authentically yourself and to live freely. Let everyone else deal with the discomfort of passing judgment, while you experience the joy of living the life you wish to live.

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