Stop Worrying About What People Think

George J. Ziogas
Stop WorryingPhoto byfizkes/Adobe Stock

Do you worry too much about what people think? Advice from experts is worth embracing. But many people’s views are ill-founded. They’re less valuable than your opinions about yourself and may prompt you to neglect your desires and insights. Your personal judgments matter more than you might realize.

Most opinions about you are unsubstantial

Whether somebody criticizes or praises you, they can only judge you with their knowledge. When someone is knowledgeable about a topic, listening to them is beneficial. You might learn valuable information that helps you improve. But you can ignore plenty of views from unqualified individuals.

So, if an aunt with no fashion sense says your jeans are ugly, or a friend who’s abysmal at math suggests a shared meal bill you divided is inaccurate, beware. They could be wrong.

Likewise, if a pal who loves their bad hairstyle says your hair looks terrific, there’s a chance they wouldn’t know a great haircut if they saw one. Or when your sister hates her menial job and suggests you need not expand your career skills, think twice about believing her view is relevant.

Always study evidence to support or refute people’s opinions about you. Check whether they have a sound knowledge-base about the relevant subject. These questions can help:

Are they qualified in a literal sense? Do they have certificates, for instance?

Some people talk like experts without qualifications to back up their opinions. For example, unless your mother is a professional interior designer, her advice to embrace minimalism or change your décor probably stems from personal taste. Your taste is more important than anybody else’s regarding every area of your life.

Do they live by the same principles whereby they judge you?

Many people offer advice but don’t embrace the standards they set for you. Sometimes, their advice about how you should improve could demoralize you. If they dish out criticism about areas of life where they fail, you know not to take them seriously.

For instance, if your brother is overweight and advises you to visit the gym more often to stay in shape, be suspicious. Doubtless, his attention to your body weight reflects his insecurity rather than signaling you’re in poor physical condition.

Have they got significant life experience to suggest they are knowledgeable about the topic?

Formal qualifications aren’t the only way to gain expertise. Some people have wisdom from life experience. Others who criticize you have no experience or sage-like offerings.

If your childless pal offers child-care advice, your non-gardener cousin criticizes your yard, or your wealthy neighbor, who never worked a day in his life, suggests you’re poor because you need to work harder, ignore them.

After asking these questions, you’ll realize most people’s opinions about you are unsubstantiated. It may shock you to recognize you sometimes let their ideas supersede yours when the most qualified person to judge you is yourself.

Your opinions matter

Everybody wants people to like them. Nonetheless, consider whether the people who give you unsubstantiated advice are worth impressing. You might not even like them. You may value some friends and family members, but their opinions need not supersede yours.

After all, if you follow the advice of your parents to be a doctor when you’d rather be a musician, you’ll pay the price of giving up your dream. Likewise, if you change your style to match your friends, you may lose the individuality that helps you shine.

Your opinions matter more than anyone else’s about your life. People may mean well, yet their feedback about you is often unsubstantial and irrelevant.

Also, some people will give you advice because they want to appear clever, but they have little knowledge or experience to substantiate what they tell you. Rather than listen to them, consider how to fulfill your needs and follow your inner wise self who knows you best.

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