Today I was listening to a podcast and they were talking about how to stop caring what other people think. It’s a great conversation, but I want to add my take on it here. This is a subject that I’ve been interested in for a while and I have heard all sorts of good advice over the years. Common advice would sound like, “Haters gonna hate.” or “Don’t take it personally.” or “It says more about them than you.” Or “just ignore the negative feedback and focus on the positive.”
While those made sense rationally and would work at first, I had a hard time sticking with it. Mentally I’d be telling myself not to care, but I’d still find that physically I would feel pain inside. I would be depressed all day, even though I KNOW that what they said wasn’t personal.
Why doesn’t this work?
Are you like me, sometimes focusing on that one negative comment in a sea of praise? How come the advice I was given didn’t work? It is because it’s all mental and not dealing with the root emotional cause. Which is often feeling that you’re not good enough. A feeling you’ve had since childhood.
If this happens to you, you are looking outside yourself for validation. Even if you know you’re not supposed to, it’s been such a habit of yours for years that you don’t even realize you do it. This feeling of unworthiness comes from childhood. As a child, if you behaved a certain way you were good and if you behaved another way you were bad. This process of domestication instills a habit of suppressing who we so we can please authority figures.
How to stop caring what other people think
There has only been ONE thing that has worked for me more than anything else. And that is the practice of self-love. A literal practice of loving and accepting myself for who I am, no matter what. Ending the critical self-talk.
You often hear people say “I’m my own worst critic” like it’s a badge of honor. People will say, “I’m not affected by other people’s criticism because I hold myself to a higher standard.” That’s usually not true. If you are your own worst critic as you say you are, then you often criticize yourself for not being good enough. And if you do that, you are most definitely going to be affected by other people’s criticisms as well. There’s no way you won’t be affected because that’s how you look at the world. Through a habit of criticism.
“You’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay
Change that habit of criticism to a habit of appreciation. Start a daily practice of looking in the mirror and appreciating what you see. You might find this hard to do. In the book You Can Heal Your Life, author Louise Hay recommends this right away to show you how you feel about yourself. I highly recommend that book by the way.
When you get your source of validation and approval from inside your heart, you will find you become immune to outside opinion. I have seen this happen!
Becoming immune to criticism
Instead of trying to ignore negative comments or not let them bother you, focus on approving and loving yourself. Instead of trying to impress other people (especially your heroes), do the work you love to do. The kind of work that brings you joy in the doing and makes you feel alive. When you are living from a heart-centered way of life, you act with more conviction and fearlessness and the opinions of others do not bring you down or bring you up. Because you know you are going to do it anyway regardless of what people think. This is the ideal state. When you self-source your worthiness and live from your heart, you will notice a side effect of being immune to criticism. Letting go of what other people think comes naturally. You don’t have to train yourself out of it.
How do you live from your heart?
By paying attention to what brings you deep joy and fulfillment. What your conscious knows is right. What your higher self guides you to do. Your purpose. Don’t wait until you’ve achieved some goal to love yourself. Don’t try to discipline yourself through self-hate or fear-based motivation techniques. Love yourself right now in this moment. That’s your only task.