One of the loftiest goals of many women is to learn how to stop caring so much about what people think of us.
But even for the most successful among us, it can be challenging. People’s words can sometimes hurt!
If you want to stop caring what others think, practice these psychological skills
The key I’ve found to not caring about other people’s opinions about where I am in life is twofold:
1. Take their comments from their position.
Nine times out of ten, the person judging my life knows nothing about it. Therefore, the judgment comes from their insecurity.
2. Know yourself.
Through many hours of learning about myself in therapy, taking self-development courses, and writing a professional development dissertation related to personal development, I have learned who I am and what I need. I go back to the people I care about who support me.
I will share an example from my own life:
Why is it that a successful, educated woman is often asked what she is after discussing her daily routine absent from her life?
“I bet you don’t have kids,” is probably one of the most painful statements someone can make when you’ve just finished talking about your career accomplishments.
Would that be the same question it is still valid if asked to a man? Do we even hear it as a question when we hear a man talk about his achievements?
I argue that the issue is one society still disproportionately looks to women for answers.
Why should we do anything at any age? It is enough to manage in this life.
As a therapist, I help people thrive when they tell me stories about how they are just trying to survive. Surviving a job that brings them less and less money every year, but still expects them to pay all their bills. Surviving a relationship they probably shouldn’t be in but still trying to keep it “for the kids”.
How do we regain our power and influence to dominate our lives?
After all, it’s the best way to learn to be happy with yourself.
“Only stop worrying about what other people think,” is pop culture advice that helps us stay focused on the trajectory of our lives.
If only it were that simple!
It’s true that it’s okay to feel pain because of the statements others give us.
We have options when we find ourselves in a painful situation. We can avoid it or we can absorb it to some extent.
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Society’s pattern is to avoid pain. Society tells us that in order to be happy, we must consume and buy products to fulfill our happiness, or maybe to have another drink or any other unhealthy choice that keeps other people’s words from hurting so badly. The internal communication in that message is: “Buy things and you won’t feel pain.”
But that won’t work. In the long run, no.
As long as you have those around you who love and support you, rather than judge you, you will find it easier to manage other people’s opinions.
Maxine Langdon Starr, Ph.D., LMFT is a marriage and family therapist specializing in adolescents and young adults, partner/owner Sunflower therapya professor of psychology at Brandman University and a motivational speaker on self-esteem.