Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

How Much Should You Care About Other People’s Opinions?

All animals have a self-defense mechanism. When faced with danger, porcupines shoot quills, turtles hide in their shells, and humans register the opinions of others.

By knowing what our tribe cares about, we can do things that earn us respect and gratitude. Plus, we can avoid doing anything stupid that gets us kicked out of the group.

Wonderful. 

And absolutely lifesaving back when we lived in small bands and wore bear skins. Good luck foraging for plant-based burgers and pumpkin spice lattes by yourself.

But nowadays, acting against your tribe isn’t an automatic death sentence.

And we all know this.

So we no longer fear abandonment in the frozen tundra or taking chieftain Gnug’s gnarled club to the cranium. Instead, we’re afraid of awkward social moments. 

Like tripping over in public, trying to fist bump someone who’s going for a handshake, or replying to an enthusiastic wave and greeting that wasn’t meant for us.

People go through a tremendous amount of effort to avoid or hide such moments.

Not because it leads to an early grave. But because we don’t want to seem incompetent and dumb.

But whenever we do something embarrassing people don’t really care.

Sure, it may lead to a few laughs at our expense and a new nickname.

But does that really negatively impact our life?

America’s former president looked like he did his hair by sticking his head into a cotton candy machine. 

If someone like that can still be taken seriously enough to be voted a world leader, I doubt anyone cares that you misspelt ‘restaurant’ on your birthday invitations.

Especially if you have the stones to embrace your mistake with a smile.

So care a little less.

Here are three tips to help you get there.

  • Only care about the opinions of important people. Your friends, your employer(s), and anyone else who has the power to change your life for the better or worse should be who you pay close attention you.
  • Aim to be human, not perfect. Elvis was afraid to forget the lyrics to his songs and Mike Tyson was afraid of being made a fool in the ring. If that doesn’t make it easier for you to embrace your fear and failures, you should just never leave your home.
  • Create your own view of success. Besides getting your basic needs met and reading my blog (heheh), nobody can really tell you how to lead a good life. That’s because the only person who can decide what makes you happy is you.
By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach