Evolution may have something to say about why we care what they think.
What is it about us human beings that means that we care so damned much about others’ opinions?
This interests me on a professional level and because I love the story of evolution, we should probably view it as a survival strategy. If we care so much about what others think of us, we’re more likely to try and fit in, if we fit in, they accept us. If they accept us, we are ‘safe’.
As with so many of our coping and survival strategies, this one’s off-kilter in the world in which we now live. We need to stop and think about this whole idea of giving too much of a shit about others’ opinions of us.
Comparing ourselves to others is a mug’s game.
We usually end up feeling more this, less that and much more the other. And this is because we are usually really blind to ourselves. We play our skills down, we notice our flaws, and we are never satisfied with ourselves. What a relentless and exhausting journey. So, if you are striving for perfection, hold tight, you’ll never achieve it. Perfection simply does not exist. If you are seeking others’ approval – good luck with that, you’ll never please everyone.
All of that said, we should take responsibility for ourselves. I believe we could achieve this better if we could learn to tune into ourselves as individuals. Find out who we are, what we are good at and what we can improve on. Do you know yourself? If not, take some time to get to know you. When we know who we really are, we stop feeling lost. When we stop feeling lost, we stop needing to compare ourselves to everyone else.
Take a piece of paper and write down answers to the following five questions:
- If I had to pick one meal as my last, what would it be?
- I have my last £50 what do I spend it on?
- If I could have one final conversation, what topic would I talk about?
- I have to pick one of my best qualities, what do I choose?
- If I were forced to select a quality to improve upon, what would I select?
This is just a start because there are so many elements to understanding ourselves. I have long list of questions we should be asking ourselves, not just about likes or dislikes but about our values and our behaviours.
Let’s stop caring what others think of us, and start caring about who we are, in order to truly live with wellbeing.