I was tempted to click-bait the title with the alluring promise of ’How to stop caring about what people think of you’ but you can never conquer the curiosity entirely.
Of course, there are some who claim to never give thought to their reputation, social standing, likability etc… and those people are lying. Ironically, the intent is to manipulate you into seeing them as a badass mother’ because they seek to control how they’re perceived just as much as you do. Clever eh?
I have a few points to keep in mind for when you’re feeling low or unloved.
1. You have no way of ever truly knowing what someone thinks about you. Can you see into somebody’s mind? You cannot, so therefore the only evidence you have is based on how you want to believe someone sees you. You can waste time trying to piece together evidence of attraction, indifference, dislike, etc. and you can still be entirely wrong. You can manipulate people into seeing you in a certain way and they could be pacifying you the entire time. That might sound scary but it should come as more of a relief.
2. Most of what people say is a projection of how they see themselves and not a reflection of you. Unless it’s constructive, criticisms are born from what people either fear or seek within themselves. This is especially true for people high in narcissism as they aren’t introspective.
3. People don’t have to like you, and you don’t have to care. Much of our upbringing and socialisation revolves around the idea you have to be codependent on external validation. If we’re always focused outside of ourselves we’ll buy more products to make us look good, chase status, and act in line with how others want us to behave. But how you experience other people matters more than how they experience you. Instead of wondering ‘do they like me?’ start asking ‘do I like them?’. This is especially true in new situations, where we tend to care even more about perceptions.
4. You have no right to control how people see you. If someone dislikes you and you can’t fix or make sense of it, realise that some people are more comfortable with judging then coming to an understanding. A lot of our decisions are made on a subconscious level and not everyone understands themselves, let alone you. Take comfort in the fact they don’t really know you anyway, only fragments from interactions. And on that note…
5. Some people have to pretend you’re a bad person so they don’t have to feel guilty about how they’ve treated you. The ego is a powerful protector of our feelings and subconscious motivations. In these situations, going non-resistant is your best bet. Sometimes you have to put up boundaries because toxic people just want to exploit you so they feel better about themselves.
6. Psychologists have found research to suggest people are too lazy to change their first impression of you. That’s why it’s said to matter and it’s also how people get easily manipulated by false charm. Not everyone is like this and you only want to care about the opinion of those who think as an individual.
7. Opinions are impermanent and you can only exist in the present moment. We all change, including our feelings and thoughts. More often than not, people take you as you are. It’s up to you to believe you are enough so it can be mirrored back to you. Any control you think you have over others is an illusion, ultimately. Judge yourself less and enjoy yourself more where you are, with what you have, right now. I promise you’ll get many happy returns.