Do you take the utmost offence at every word that comes your way? Do you over analyse it, do you instinctively believe that it is directed negatively towards you? Did you ever think that YOU may have misinterpreted it? The fact is while you allow every little thing to hurt and upset your apple cart you will continue to have a life akin to a car crash waiting to happen.
Criticism should only resonate if it comes from a source that matters. If you are sitting under the table, rocking back and forth, worried what others are saying about you, consider this. If you do not like these people or even choose to associate with them, the people that they influence and who they are friendly with are the very LAST that you want in your circle. This is a positive as you do not want to attract those people. If they steer clear of you based on the views of others they are weak individuals who will never give you any level of support that you deserve. Rather than take it personally, be happy that they are doing you a favour!
Criticism and judgement is something that we all experience and we are the hardest on ourselves.
Source Huffington Post
Consider this scenario: you are walking outside and you notice dark clouds forming above you. Unfortunately, you have no umbrella. This is a shame because you’re wearing a brand new outfit and you’d hate to get it wet.
You try to run for shelter but it’s too late — a downpour has made you soaking wet. Now you’ll be drenched all day until you can get home and change your clothes. How unlucky you are! You were just minding your own business and suddenly you got caught in the rain. If only you had the protection of your umbrella!
As we live our daily lives, it may seem like we have no control over how we feel. Indeed, we are just as vulnerable to the words and actions of others as we are to a rainstorm. Even if we are in a great mood, all it takes is one comment about our weight or a careless driver cutting us off and suddenly, we are soaking wet.
Boosting Your Self-Compassion
QUIZ: Satisfied With Your Life?
But what if we had our umbrella? What can protect us from the discourteous, thoughtless remarks and actions of others? According to bestselling author Don Miguel Ruiz, the answer is simple: don’t take anything personally.
In “The Four Agreements,” Ruiz offers simple, yet profound words of wisdom. The actions of other people do not need to have any negative effect on you.
Likewise, in our lives, we will inevitably be struck by the criticisms and oversights of others. Will you be disturbed and flustered by what other people do? Realize that it makes no sense to give people such power over you.
If you decide to no longer take things personally, you will avoid a tremendous amount of suffering. Even if someone directly antagonizes you, there is no need to be bothered because that person is certainly struggling with his or her own problems. Moreover, these problems have nothing to do with you. You can choose to become involved with the trouble of someone else or you can rise above it, confidently and peacefully walking away.
Why is it so easy to take offense to the behavior of others? Do we actually believe that everything is always about us? In fact, research does suggest that we overestimate how much we may be singled out and judged by others.
Frankly, it’s irrational and self-absorbed to live this way. Moreover, it causes so much needless suffering. An inconsiderate date or the spiteful remarks of your co-worker reflect a fault in him or her, not in you. This fault does not need to suddenly become your problem, too.
It takes practice and patience to stop taking things personally. After all, it’s natural to feel upset if a family member belittles your career choice or if a stranger bumps into you without an apology. Indeed, we’ve spent a lifetime reacting to the actions of others, and old habits die hard. However, if we make the courageous decision to no longer emotionally react to the whims of others, our lives will be completely transformed.
To start, focus on one person that normally flusters you. Try to see the world from her or his perspective. Does this perspective focus mostly on you? In truth, it doesn’t. Human beings are primarily concerned with themselves, not with other people. Ideally, people would be more considerate of your feelings, but this will not always happen. Therefore, when this person says or does something that normally upsets you, remember that they are living through their own point of view, just like you are.
If this point of view results in a hurtful comment, it’s nothing personal, because this person wasn’t thinking about you in the first place!
There is tremendous emotional freedom when you don’t take things personally. You’ll find that there is hardly anything that can make you really upset. You can still maintain high standards for how people treat you and how you treat others, but how you feel will be under your control. Indeed, when the rain falls, you don’t have to get drenched — your umbrella will be ready whenever you need it.
Refocus your attention. When you take things personally, you shift your attention from what they said or did, to how you feel. Unless you move on from that point, it’s likely that you’ll ruminate, and the negative feeling will be amplified. Instead, focus again on the other person.
> Look at how the person treats others. They might tease, pick on, or even insult everyone they cross paths with. Some people are just antagonistic like that.
> Consider their insecurities. Could they feel threatened by you in some way? If so, don’t feel bad for being your awesome self. Think about how you can help this person feel better about themselves.
> Keep in mind that the other person may have poor communication and emotional management skills. Imagine that there’s an inner child acting out, because the person hasn’t learned how to deal with things in a mature way. It’s much easier to be patient and feel compassionate when you visualize a learning child at the helm of their behavior.
Remind yourself that you don’t need anyone’s approval. If you’re especially sensitive to people’s behavior towards you, to the extent that you regularly overreact, it might be because you’ve got a strong radar for rejection. If you pick up on any kind of displeasure, you worry that you’re doing something wrong, and you want to fix it eagerly and anxiously. But just because someone isn’t happy with you doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. In many cases, it means that person isn’t happy with themselves, and expects you to fill in the blanks (which is impossible).
Speak up. Let the person know how you are feeling. They might not realize how hurtful or aggressive they seem and how it is affecting you. Use “I” statements. If this is recurring, use nonviolent communication to (hopefully) put an end to it, and resolve any underlying issues.
Stop taking compliments personally, too. If you base your self-worth on how much people compliment and validate you, then you’re basically allowing others to decide how you feel about yourself. If someone compliments you, it’s no more personal than a direct insult. They’re simply calling it how they see it, and that may or may not be accurate–only you can be the judge of that. So if someone is positive towards you, that doesn’t make you a better person, it makes them a better person, because they’re taking the time to be supportive and encouraging. Your value, your self-worth remains unchanged, because it’s something that comes from within. (source Howto blog)
“A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep.” Vernon Howard
Approval Seeking Behavior… If you ask me, this is where many of our challenges start. When you are too concerned with what other people think of you, you start sabotaging your life, and you start moving forward but with the breaks on.
“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner” Lao Tzu
If you want to live life the way WE want to and not the way others would want us to, we need to let go of our constant need to control what other people think of us, we need to learn to let go of our approval seeking behavior. I know that this is not always an easy task to do and that is exactly why I decided to write about the 9 reasons why you should no longer care about what others think or say of you, to point out some of the things we all know but we just need to be reminded of from time to time.
No matter how much you try and no matter how “nice” you are with people, you simply can’t have everybody like you for there will always be people who will continue talking about you and your “inappropriate” way of thinking, behaving, breathing, dressing, living, etc.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill
You are not less or more of a person based on how many people like and approve of you. While growing up we were told that in order to be liked by others we must be nice to people and we are, but somehow we keep encountering people that don’t seem to like us. So why is that? Is there something wrong with us? Not really. Just because some people don’t like us, does not imply that there is something wrong with us, for that is not true. You are already, whole and complete and you don’t need other people’s approval in order to feel this way. How freeing is that?
“Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.” Wayne Dyer
I came to the realization that we all live in different worlds, a different reality for each and every one of us, reality that was built based on our thoughts, beliefs, experiences, based on what we were taught while growing up. What I might see as being right, other people might see as being wrong, and what I might see as being beautiful other people might see as being ugly.
We all have a different perception on how life should be lived and how people should act, and instead of wasting your time thinking about what other people think and say of you, why not spend that time improving and growing yourself, knowing that: “Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.” Einstein
It take a lot of your time, time that can be used to do the things that you really enjoy doing.
Every time you spend time thinking and talking about what X or Y said about you, not only are you wasting your time, but you are also wasting your precious energy.
When you no longer care about what other people think of you, you start being yourself and you start behaving the way you always wanted but you couldn’t because of all the restrictions and limits you imposed on yourself. You have no idea how much freedom comes with letting go of your need to control what other people think of you. Just give it a chance and you will understand what I am talking about.
We all seek peace and we all want to be happy and the moment you stop caring about what “they” think, you will find just that.
“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” Peace Pilgrim
Mind your own business and live your life, the way you want to, the way it best suits you, and let go of your approval seeking behavior.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you’ll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” Arthur Gordon
If you like and approve of yourself, believe me, it will no longer matter if people say nice things about you or not, for you will understand: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Carl Jung
You get to a point where you know, them talking about you has little or nothing to do with how you think, act, live, etc., but a lot to do with how they think, and who they perceive reality. A lot of times, what we can’t accept in others are the things we haven’t accepted in ourselves, whether we are consciously aware of this truth or not.
“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself as someone who needs to judge.”Wayne Dyer (source purpose fairy)
The following are some of the most common habits you may use to seek approval from others.
Once you’re aware of what you’re doing, it’s then just a matter of changing your behaviour.
When you walk into a room full of people, what’s the first thing you do?
Is it to size everyone up and think, “Oh, she looks mean” or “He’d never talk to me” or “That’s the popular group, better not make eye contact with any of them”. If you are, then you’re trying to judge people before they can judge you.
By pre-judging people, you cause a lot of your own grief and make yourself feel much worse than you need to. You don’t want people to judge you yet you’ve gone ahead and pre-judged them. Stop judging and just be in the moment. Remember that everyone has so much more to offer than what you see at first glance. (Watch my Confidence Secrets video for more on this)
Trying to Impress Others to Make Them Like You
You’ve probably heard sayings like, “You have 10 seconds for someone to make up their mind about you” and “You need to impress people to get them to like you.” By thinking this way, you put a lot of unneeded stress on yourself.
Also, think to a time when you first met someone and you knew they were trying so hard to get you to like them.
How did you feel about that?
Most likely, it put you off because they were trying too hard. You would have liked to have them just be themselves, to relax, and be natural. Or it may make you feel suspicious about them as in why are they trying so hard? Do you see what I mean? If you try to impress people, most likely you won’t. If you relax and just be yourself, you will impress people.
Trying to impress others also means that you miss out on a lot. You won’t hear large parts of conversations because you tune the other person out while you try to think of something clever or witty to say or think about what story you know which will beat their tale. You’ll be so intent on your own image that you don’t simply enjoy the conversation or hear what that person has to say or even get to know that other person. You become so focused on yourself that nothing else matters.
For your efforts to gain approval, all you’ll end up with is feeling empty and insecure. You’ll probably rerun the event over and over in your head thinking you weren’t good enough. When, if you hadn’t worried about impressing others but rather concentrated on the moment, you might have made a new friend, or learned something valuable, or just had a good laugh about something. You would have then have good memories of the event instead of beating yourself up over it.
Adding Your Own Beliefs To What You Hear
You may feel that you don’t have someone’s approval when really you do. The other person just hasn’t said anything or you may be reading something into the situation that isn’t there. The temptation might be to start thinking about what ulterior motives they have for what they say. For example, if someone gives you a compliment, You may also be adding your own story to it. You may think, “They’re only being nice to me because they feel sorry for me.” Let your life story go and just listen to people and what they say literally. Don’t add your own beliefs to it.
“Our interpretations of what we hear people say to us are often far more painful or frightening than what people actually say. We can hurt ourselves with our misconceptions and our thinking for others.” – Byron Katie
Not Minding Your Own Business
What you think and what you choose to spend your time thinking about is completely your own business. What someone else thinks is their own business. You wouldn’t want someone else telling you what to think, so why do you try to control other people’s opinion of you? They’re allowed to think whatever they want. That’s their right. Just as it’s your right to have your opinion. So, don’t worry about what others think, just respect their opinion. You don’t have to agree with it, just respect that they’re entitled to their own thoughts.
Instead, ask yourself, “is this something I approve of myself for doing?” It’s your opinion which matters the most.
If you’re busy thinking what someone else should be doing, then you’re not paying attention to your own business. As soon as you say things like, “he should spend more time with me”, “she should appreciate what I’ve done for her”, or “he should get a better job”, you are not minding your own business.
Life is just so much easier if you just concentrate on what you need to do. Other people can take care of their own lives. You just need to focus on your own. So, the next time you start thinking, “he should listen to me”, tell yourself, to mind your own business and then ask youself, “what should I be doing?”. In this case, the answer most likely will be something like, “I should be listening to me.”
You may also be distracting yourself from dealing with your own issues by focusing on what you think needs to be fixed in someone else’s life. You ignore your own needs. Focus on your own life. Pay attention to what it is that you want and what you need. By doing this, you will gain approval from others because you know what you want. People respect those that know what they want.
What if they don’t approve of you?
Do you really need this person’s approval? Will you stop breathing and die if you don’t get it? Of course not. You may be putting too much emphasis on someone else’s opinion. It really doesn’t matter what they think as long as you’re happy with what you’ve done.
Focus on others or the present moment
If you find that you’re afraid of saying something because you’re worried people will think your comment is stupid, well stop thinking about yourself. Think about the situation. Be in the present moment. What are they discussing? Focus on that.
Being Overly Polite
Do you make excuses or apologies in order to defend yourself or give a better opinion of yourself?
Even though we think that being polite is about being considerate of others, many times it’s about trying to create a better impression of yourself. It’s not your fault the document isn’t finished or that you were late or that you forgot to pick someone up. Usually, it’s all an attempt to manage your self image. Pay attention to what excuses you are providing and then ask yourself why you feel the need to do this.
Breaking Your Approval Habits is Worth It
Once you understand that searching for approval in others is really a clue to what you need to give yourself, you will feel just an overwhelming sense of relief.
You can now simply enjoy conversations with others without stressing yourself out trying to think of something clever or witty to say. You won’t interrupt people and will calmly let them finish their sentences, you won’t be tuning out, you won’t be apologizing or making excuses for your actions. This will all instantly disappear because you no longer need approval from others.
Your self esteem will rise instantly by leaps and bounds. Your whole life will be completely different. So, let it go and just know, YOU DON’T NEED anyone else’s approval because you approve of you. And, that’s one of the biggest secrets to enjoying life. Give yourself what you need and you will get it from others.
An average man is too concerned with liking people or with being liked himself. A warrior likes, that’s all. He likes whatever or whomever he wants, for the hell of it. – Carlos Castaneda