What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business

A self-esteem issue

I read some negative words about a dear friend of mind this morning. Things that are not true, but make her look bad. I know she will be o.k.  Like me, she agrees with the saying,  “what other people think of me is none of my business.” You may not subscribe to that but read on to see what I mean.  I wrote the article below a few years ago and am re-posting it.

What other people think

Many of us are concerned about what people will think – about how we look, how we dress, what we do, how we speak, how many degrees we have, how rich or poor we are and on and on. We dress to please and change our behavior to please. Perhaps we tell little lies because we’re afraid the truth won’t please. Sometimes we damage our health to please by going on crash diets, overworking at the gym, staying up long hours when we’re tired, resorting to anorexia or bulimia. Now and then we eat stuff we hate, we do things we don’t like, and we hang out with people we don’t enjoy–all in an effort to please. Whether it’s one particular person that we feel compelled to please or everyone we meet – it doesn’t matter. 

Do we please them? Who knows? And, frankly, who cares? Again, remember, what other people think of me is none of my business. It’s their business.

Others are self-absorbed

The fact is that most people are so self-absorbed that they aren’t noticing or thinking of you at all. They are worried about what they will say next or thinking about what to cook for dinner or what they will do on the next sales call. And if they don’t care enough about you to resist critiquing and judging, why do you care if you please them anyway? You probably couldn’t please them if you were the smartest, most attractive, most interesting person in the world because it’s not about you – it’s about them. It’s a self-esteem issue.

A Self-esteem Issue

When you like yourself and who you are, you are less concerned about what any one else thinks of you. You know who you are and you don’t need to be like anyone else. It is a fact that there are no two people on the planet who are exactly alike. That’s how it’s supposed to be. We can’t all be runway models or muscle men. And we can’t all be on the far right side of the bell shaped curve intellectually or financially. Most likely we can’t all be famous or infamous. What we can be is exactly who we are. We can be unique, and we can remain true to who we are.

Self-Improvement does not mimic others

Some people go about self-improvement to become something or someone they are not. They style their hair like some movie star and dress, walk and talk like her (or him). It won’t work. Real self-improvement involves tuning in more and more to who you really are and fine tuning that. It’s about improving your assets and reducing your liabilities—for your sake and not to please anyone else.

For instance, if I have a nice voice and I love to sing, that’s something I might like to improve so I can enjoy it even more. If I love to cook, I might want to learn all I can about food, nutrition, and cooking– for my own enjoyment. If I like to write I will want to improve my writing skills just for the fun of it. Who knows–a benefit of my improvement for my sake may lead to helping many others, or giving them enjoyment or putting me on center stage. But the person I need to please the most is me.

A rule of thumb

A rule of thumb is,“The better I feel about my self, the abler I am to give to others.” The starting place? Do an honest assessment of your strengths–get someone to help you if you need to. Begin to fine tune your strengths. Many times, when you do that, the weaknesses take care of themselves. And anyway, what other people think of me is none of my business.

  1. Kevin @ Change Your Tree says

    Great article. I really like your rule of thumb in the last paragraph.

    Whenever you find yourself trying to impress others, there is a character flaw you need to address.

  2. Pat Hubbard says

    Did you know that your title comes dangerously close to a book by Sarah Ban Breathnack…”WHAT YOU THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS.”
    It is one of my favorite to recommend to my Support Group for widowed, divorced and separated people.
    Just thought you’d like to know.

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