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Should You Care What Other People Think?

“If you tolerate disrespect, you will be disrespected. IF you tolerate people being late and making you wait, people will show up late for you. IF you tolerate being underpaid and overworked, that will continue for you. If you tolerate your body being overweight, tired, and perpetually sick, it will be. It’s amazing how life will organize around the standards you set for yourself"

- Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect

We spend so much time affixed to what people think of us and how our decisions effect our reputation that we may be missing the chance to connect with what we want in the process. It could be argued that we know ourselves through our relationships with others: who we become is a direct relation to how someone is making us feel, and without a clear inner compass this may be true. However, there is a greater opportunity to know ourselves and have such courage in our own conviction that regardless of who we handle, we remain grounded to our purpose and principles.

Our efforts to please others can become a bad case of mental whiplash as we are thrown from one emotion to the next and as we change form from one role to the other. And the tension intensifies when the people we try so hard to please are not pleased with us, perhaps they are disappointed, confused, or do not even care at all. These opinions fester and ruminate, taking up space in our relationship with the world, preventing us from clarity and true connection. Social media has not made it any easier. From perfectly cropped and touched up insta stories to LinkedIn promotion updates, the chase for the next thing remains a constant because in order to be accepted one must be significant in terms of success, beauty, and the ever superficial glow of ego masked with a sheath of humility. In a culture where the admittance of living life for others is rare and we are trained to say things like, “you shouldn’t worry so much what others think,” we are coached to think that we are the only ones taking everything so damn personally and that we are not supposed to talk about the fact that everything around us is a trigger to achieve approval. We are left to think we are the only ones who mess up in front of our boss, say awkward things, or have heavy marital problems, we are caught in a vacuum and sucked up in the spin of shame and judgement without reprieve.

So how do we move past this space and grow beyond? The answer lies in your values and the personal standards you have set for yourself. When you become clear on your values, you can set clear standards for what you will and will not except. Your set of individual expectations will guide you through questions such as, “When should I receive feedback and when should it not affect me?” or “When should I care what others think?” When you know who you are and what you want to stand for, you will be able to assess feedback in alignment to your value system and if making the change supports the person you want to become. There is also a difference between caring what others think and taking it personally. You can have empathy for other’s perspectives without adopting them as your own. In fact, when you are able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes you will be more equipped to assess how their viewpoint relates to yours. When you act in alignment to your values you will feel less guilt or shame around your behavior, even if it does not please everyone.

There are so many variables in the journey to pleasing the outside world that we ultimately lose ourselves in the process. You find yourself in a constant state of analyzation, so focused on the unpredictability of the external that you miss the opportunity to grow. Instead, you can find power in the niche of unregretfully ridding your life of things and those that do not serve your mission. You can also own the time where you acquiesce to something that is disagreeable for social cohesion. An example of this, might be dealing with a difficult boss: while you may not be in a position to quit, you can still create work that is in accordance with their values while remaining peacefully detached from any emotional tug of war.

As you become more aligned with your values, you have the capacity to build a life around what makes you feel good. The best piece is that things will naturally fall into place when you make your values a priority and you will find yourself surrounded by the things that are cohesive to your goals. There will automatically be less tension and stress. The work of shedding what you should be to who you want to be is hard and can be made easier by process of elimination. Instead of trying to figure out what you want, become very clear on what you will not tolerate. As you eliminate what is not working in your life, the things that do work will begin to fall into place. Often times people live in a blend of value and discord, which I personally think it the worst place to be because you are in a constant state of false cognitive dissonance where you think you want two conflicting things when you really just want the one thing; it creates confusion, stress and incites toxic behaviors that take you even further away from yourself. Keep it simple and assess how you feel throughout the day. The things that work for us are also the things that make us better, and we can choose to live in that space.

Are you living in accordance with your values?

Living to Your Values

  • Things seem to happen for you

  • You wake up happy

  • The people in your life support and respect you

  • You appreciate the small things

  • You enjoy your work

  • You continue to learn and grow

  • You earn your weekends and time off

  • You have energy

  • You learn from failures

Living Against Your True Nature

  • You feel drained

  • You are rarely inspired

  • You are consistently irritable

  • You are tired

  • You are leaning into alcohol or other substances for reprieve

  • You have toxic people in your life

  • You tolerate your work

  • You count the minutes until your weekends and time off

  • You are stagnant

If you are interested in learning more, please connect with us @ The Bond Consulting Group - Leadership and Development Training Pittsburgh

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