The Art of Letting Go: 7 Tips to Stop Worrying About What People Think

The Art Of Letting Go
The Art of Letting Go- Tips on How to Stop Worrying About What People Think

According to the concepts of Buddhism, not realizing how everything is impermanent often leads to attachment, anxiety, and suffering. Clinging on to something can be more damaging than letting go, so when we dismiss how others think of us, we cultivate a mindset that is not dependent on validation from the world but on what we think of ourselves.

What others think of you can create sleepless nights of worry and negative reflection, leaving you questioning, “Are they right? Am I like this? It can be a cruel struggle that creates a reality unlike what we wish for ourselves, where the pressure of being judged leads to low self-esteem, self-doubt, poor confidence, stress, and anxiety.

Why Do Other’s Opinions Matter to You?

Wanting others to like you is natural, and regardless of all the advice that tells you not to bother about it, deep down, we care about what others think of us. However, clinging to discrimination, sarcasm, dislike, and negative criticism can harm mental health more than you imagine because we often focus more on criticism than praise. Acceptance is a human trait ingrained in our evolution. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, joining a group or tribe and being accepted by others was critical to survival.

Today, we do not exist as tribes, but social interaction is present in every sphere of life, from education to the workplace, peer groups and social circles. If you are someone who loves socializing, you are going to care about what others think. This is because we constantly strive for external input, stimulation, and companionship; which is why humans are called social animals. Thus, the pressure of external opinion is unavoidable and natural. The biggest problem in such a scenario is how we handle the judgement of others, and that is what either impacts or does not impact our mental health.

Signs You Care Too Much About What People Think of You

Think about how you engage in your social life and how you respond to situations. Consider whether the traits mentioned below relate to you. If they do, it’s definitely time to take some action.

  • Criticism makes you change your appearance, mannerisms, and behavior
  • You constantly require the approval of others and want people to decide for you
  • You don’t maintain boundaries
  • You are a perfectionist
  • If you have a different opinion, you don’t voice it out
  • Your peace of mind depends on external approval
  • You keep offering apologies
  • You don’t know how to say NO!
  • You keep wondering if you did the right thing.

How to Let Go and Stop Worrying About What Others Think of You

Understanding the Buddhist principle of impermanence can play a major role in the art of letting go. It helps your mindset, improves your self-worth, and makes you a more confident person. Here are  seven ways to let go.

The Art Of Letting Go - How To Stop Worrying About What People Think
The Art Of Letting Go – How To Stop Worrying About What People Think

1. Accept That People Will Have Opinions of You

There is no way you can stop people from judging you. Assessing others is a natural part of human behavior, and while many have transcended such impulses, the majority often find it irresistible to evaluate someone else. Whether right or wrong, accept that there will always be someone with an opinion of you, and just as you’re going to be complemented over what you’re wearing, there will be someone saying the opposite. Ask yourself: Is there any point in trying to change that view or stressing about it? Just let it roll off your back, be a duck!

2. Understand the Difference Between Negative and Positive Criticism

In society and at work, criticism is going to be a thing. Negative criticism will always be hurled at you by people who secretly suffer from emotional insecurity. Studies have proven how emotional insecurity can sometimes cause people to give in to their bad side and criticize others out of jealousy. In this case, pay no attention to such behavior because being affected by it undermines your ability to discern right from wrong. Instead, adopt a mindset about yourself that stems from a sense of self appreciation and self-worth. Someone with their own emotional issues commenting on you should be treated as insignificant. In a positive scenario, confident people do criticize, but to help others improve themselves. Constructive criticism should never be taken from a negative point of view but regarded as a genuine attempt by someone wanting to make you a better version of yourself.

3. Recognize the Illusion of Control

A main aspect of letting go is acknowledging how we cannot control others’ thoughts or opinions. Studies have shown that people overestimate their influence on others who perceive them. This cognitive distortion, known as the “illusion of control,” leads to unnecessary worry and anxiety. Accepting how you cannot control what others think is the first step toward letting go and focusing on your growth and happiness.

4. Practice Self-worth and Self-Compassion

Self-compassion and self-worth mean treating yourself with kindness, acknowledging your imperfections, and understanding that it’s okay to make mistakes. Nobody is perfect, so quit trying to be a perfectionist because you risk impeding your progress. Self-compassion is linked to greater emotional well-being and resilience. It is human to make mistakes, and rather than putting yourself down, learn from them and treat them as opportunities to do better. Being more forgiving and understanding your shortcomings reduces the impact of others’ opinions on you.

5. Take Back Control

The opinions of others should never have to impact on your emotions. Although you cannot control what other people think about you, you can control how it affects you and lessen the anxiety it causes. Usually, stress from lifestyle and work can increase such emotions, so practicing techniques like mindfulness, yoga, and deep breathing cultivates a calmer state of mind, more reinforced against negativity.

6. Avoid The Spotlight Effect

The spotlight effect is a cognitive perception that makes people feel they are the center of attention. In such a scenario, people tend to overestimate how others judge them. Examples are when you go to a social function and feel all eyes are on you, this leads to discomfort and stress much after the event. Realizing that people are less preoccupied with noticing your flaws and mistakes will do much for your stress levels and make you less prone to seeking constant approval.

7. Focus On Your Inner Values

You are an individual with your perception and intellect. By living with the need for external approval, you downplay your self-worth and adopt a lifestyle that you were never meant to be. Allowing others to mold you into a false version of yourself is a never-ending exercise that will affect your mental health. Focusing on your values, and recognizing how your character needs no validation from others, sets you free from the struggle of maintaining a façade. Studies prove that having a clear sense of personal values is associated with higher self-satisfaction and well-being. You need a strong social and personal identity that screams; this is me!

Again, nothing is permanent, and what people think of you is a spontaneity triggered by someone else’s frame of mind. So why make it a permanent protocol to live by? Surround yourself with positivity and likeminded people, overcome the challenges of negativity and live life on your terms. Learn to let go!

Andrew Alpin

Andrew Kevin Alpin is a creative content specialist from Kolkata with several years of experience in content creation focusing on health and wellness. He possesses good insight on psychology and human behavior, including all all aspects of health. Andrew currently works as a Freelance Educational Content Director and Creative head at Enso Integrated Medicine, Bengaluru.