Have you ever wanted to do something, but decided against it when you thought about what other people might think? Most people have. Usually, it's not your close friends or family that you worry about either. It's the people you don't know so well, or the people who don't know you very well, for that matter. The people you went to school with, but haven't seen in years. The people you see in work, but never see outside. Or even your friend's friend's friends..you get my point. People generally don't like other people to think badly of them, no matter who they are. In the last year or so, I've started thinking of things in a different way and it's had such a positive effect.
My eureka moment happened a year or two ago, when I was worrying about some insignificant 'problem'. I can't remember specifically but I'd been on a night out and met someone who I hadn't seen in ages. Afterwards, I'd rerun the conversation in my head, decided that I'd said something stupid/bad/offensive and convinced myself that this person must now be appalled by my existence. Even worse, I probably wouldn't see them again to redeem myself. I couldn't stop cringing.
Things can easily escalate when you over-think them. But it was only when I asked myself 'how does this actually affect my life?' that I realised, it doesn't. I'd still get up in the morning and do the same things I do every day, see the same people and in fact, this persons opinion on me (whether good or bad) has absolutely no bearing on my life whatsoever. 'Other peoples' opinions will always fit in to three categories - they either don't care, like it or don't like it. If they don't care (probably the majority), fine. If they like it, great. And if they don't like it, who cares. I realised that this way of thinking solves quite a lot of my 'problems' or things that I worry about.
When someone says something bad behind your back, or if you make a fool of yourself in front of people you don't know too well - how does it affect your life? If someone has something nasty to say, who cares? You'll continue to do what makes you happy, and that person will continue to be negative. I know who I'd rather be in that situation. If you cringe easily, look away now because things are about to get cheesy. It's a cliche, but the saying is right. Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. If someone has something nasty to say about me, I'd be pretty sure it wasn't one of my close friends or family. And if they're saying something nasty to or about me, then they probably won't be somebody that I'd like to spend time with either. At the end of the day, if someone has a problem with you, it's their problem. Not yours.
So next time you're worrying about what other people might think. Ask yourself how it affects your life, realise it doesn't, and keep doing what makes you happy. In the words of my hero Kevin Gnapoor - 'don't let the haters stop you from doing your thang'. Amen Kevin, Amen.
What do you think - do you worry about other people's opinions?