Care Less About What Others Think

We tend to judge ourselves through the eyes of other people. Many people spend more than they can afford just to impress their friends. If you want a joyful life, learn to care less about what others think.

I recently considered buying a nicer apartment so I could host more parties. Then I realised that the kind of people I wanted at my parties were those that didn’t care what kind of place I lived in. They were there for the friendship. That moment of clarity probably saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt.

“We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.”

– Olin Miller

Care less about what other think, but care a little

On the other hand, there are people who don’t care at all what others think. These are the blatant lawbreakers and psychopaths. We are social animals and live in communities, and so cannot completely disregard the opinions of others.

So how much is enough? When do we allow for the views of others and when should we learn to ignore them?

Care less about what most people think

You should greatly value some people’s views because of their wisdom or their relationship to you. These include your parents, spouse, children, closest friends, spiritual leader, and perhaps one or two mentors.

Once you know who these select few are, care less about what everyone else thinks. They simply don’t have a very large role in your life. Even if they disapprove of you in some way, that disapproving thought lasts mere seconds in their minds, after which they are busy thinking about other things. Why should your decisions be based on the fleeting judgments of these remote players in your life’s story?

Remember that opinions are not facts

Any person’s opinion is not an objective truth of the universe, just that person’s perspective. And that person is flawed just like you, so there is no guarantee that his opinion is more correct than yours.

Of course, if all your mentors and respected advisors offer the same advice, you would do well to listen. On the other hand, your life is not something to be decided by a committee vote. It is yours and no one else’s. You’re the only person who knows what’s best for you.

What others think can change

If everyone cautions you against taking the risk of starting your own business, but you do it anyway and succeed after a few years, would their opinion still be the same? If you were to propose expanding your business or starting another one, their opinions would probably be different this time.

You have more influence over the opinions of others than you think, through your actions and the results they bring. Your time and energies are therefore better spent pondering your course of action than fretting about what others will think about what you do.

“The feeble tremble before opinion, the foolish defy it, the wise judge it, and the skillful direct it.” – Jeane Platiere

So care less about what others think. Start chasing your dreams today.

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14 replies on “Care Less About What Others Think”

Hi Dan,

Good to know that you’ve let go of needing others’ approval. And you make a good point that we need values to guide us internally, even if we’re not guided externally by others’ opinions. Thanks for sharing this insight, and for leaving such a warm comment. All the best!

Hi Daphne,
I love this post! I have always had that problem where I would let others dictate my life and believe those around me when they would try to tell me about myself! I began to focus on my own opinions about myself and thought how can these people know me better than I know myself? Mostly they were wrong. I started to think well I have my own opinions so why should I go by someone else’s? Starting to learn not to care what people think is the best thing I have done for myself. I would say also get to know your values so that way you’re still a good person while you don’t care what people think.

Hi Candy,

Welcome to Joyful Days! I am glad you found this post, since it gave me a chance to re-read it myself and remind myself that I too need to remember this.

I am humbled that this helped you to resolve the issue that bugged you. This alone makes all the time spent writing this blog worthwhile.

Thank you, Candy, for leaving such an encouraging comment. I am grateful. And I look forward to having you as a regular member of the wonderful community here.

Hey Daphne,
I was searching a topic regarding how to care less about what others think, because I was bugged by this. And I found this article, it is so inspirational that helps me to relieve / solve this issue. Amazingly, I also found many other motivational articles which is what I need. I consider reading something positive everyday can have a great impact to our attitudes / values. I will make this blog my regular read.

Hey Dan,

Welcome to Joyful Days and thank you so much for leaving a comment!

You are so right that living by values leads to more meaning and dignity, and also peace. If you are honest and clear to yourself about what’s important to you without judging these values, it will lead to acceptance of yourself. If you are certain that these are right values, you will also approve of yourself. Self-acceptance and self-approval will diminish your need for the acceptance and approval of others.

Have a wonderful Christmas season, Dan. Come back and say hi often and share your progress on living a meaningful and dignified life. It’s a work in progress for me too, and I daresay for many readers here. It’s nice to have companions on the journey!

Hey Daphne,

I really enjoyed reading this post. This desire to be accepted or to impress others drive us to do so many foolish (and often painful) things.

I lived most of my life trying to live up to the expectation of others. (Car, job, fashion, career, education!)

Now, my aim is to judge my actions by my own values. Have to admit that I have a lot of work to do still in this area, but I think living by your values is really the key to live a meaningful and dignified life.

Happy holidays!

Thanks Tamsin.

I like your point about the faceless, nameless others. It’s so true, and it’s scary how we sometimes make decisions on the basis of what a non-existent ‘general person’ thinks.


I’m with Bertrand Russel! So often people are held back by the belief that if a view is widespread it must be right, or a fear of what others think of them – often faceless, nameless ‘others’ – as opposed to listening to the important few in our lives who have our best interests at heart and whom we trust. Getting over what people in general think is so important to freeing up one’s ability to live how one wants and chooses. This is an important post Daphne and I’m sure it will resonate with your readers.


Hey Snigdha,

Just read your post on Feedback. I loved the analogy of being pushed on a bus and having something to hold on to. So true when applied to life.

I am so very honoured to be included in your inner group! One of the greatest rewards of blogging is finding people all over the world you never knew, and somehow becoming part of a community. It makes all the work worthwhile, so thank you thank you thank you.

As for bouncing back to normalcy so soon after the death of a loved one (and in your case loved ones), I questioned myself too last year so I know how you feel. Wasn’t I supposed to weep uncontrollably at the funeral, to coop myself up for days, to be dysfunctional for a period? But deep down I knew that love for a person needs no external proof. Some of us are more at peace with death than others, and in fact this is what Buddhists strive for in nirvana – total acceptance and even rejoicing at the point of death. The loved one also knows, without all the hysteria, that you loved them, and that is enough.


Hi Middle Way,

Thanks! I feel the same as you do about revealing too much about myself publicly. That’s the biggest challenge this blog holds for me – way outside my comfort zone. I had to tell myself to believe that most people out there are of good heart and good faith. That’s turned out to be largely true, thankfully.

Just checked out your post about the 6 things. This tag game sounds fun! Thanks for tagging me, will respond soon.


Hi Daphne,
Thank u so much for sharing my grief – cann’t express how exactly I am feeling currently – losing one after another dear ones and bouncing back to normalcy so soon ?? Am I becoming emotionally blunt?? Or I am evolving the right way ?? A big question for myself to ponder over…

Loved your ideas on others’ opinion. I too think that way ( ha, ha – you r not supposed to care about my opinion on your thoughts – but.. as you rightly said .. we r social animals after all .) .
Yeah, I think, somewhere along the line I have included you in my inner group whose opinion in certain cases matter to me . So..o. I invite you to read my blogpost dated 7th Sept, 08 on a similar note ” Feedback” and let me have your thought bubbles. I fully agree with what Middle way has said all comes back to oneself, our core beliefs, those deep values and foundation points that guide our way.

snigdhas last blog post..EXIT… WE ALL WILL

Hi Daphne!

Another great post! Yes, I agree with you that it all comes back to oneself, our core beliefs, those deep values and foundation points that guide our way.

I tend to be quite guarded about them because not all people have positive intentions. It usually takes some time and a real connection for me to open up. (even on a blog!)

By the way, I’ve tagged you to reveal 6 things your readers don’t know about you! See my blog for details!

Have a great day!

Middle Ways last blog post..180th Carnival of Personal Finance

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