Many people are wired to impress others. Their outward appearance – what others think about them – means the world to them and disrupting that appearance is the be all and end all to what their life is about. Why do we care so much about what others think and why have we not learnt about making priorities for what really matters in our lives? The irony is that it’s not until we get older that we actually learn what it means to not care about what others think. The following article will give my opinion on why it is crucial to make priorities for us and not worry about how others perceive us.
Caring is Crucial – Caring For What’s important To You
I do not want the title of this post to make it sound like we should not care about things. I believe it is imperative that we care about things and to put our energy towards them; things like, our health (mental and physical), the environment, the health of our family, our community and our passions. If we did not have people who cared then imagine the great things in our lives that would not be present. Things such as technology, charities, environmental crusaders, teachers, health care workers, social workers, workers in general. We all need to care about what we’re doing to contribute to the great world we live in. Yes, I’m being optimistic and only focusing on the positive.
My point is that we must care for things that are real to us, not real to others. Caring about what others think and doing what suits them is their prerogative, not yours, so don’t burden yourself with it. Let them be the master of their thoughts, time and energy and you be the master of yours.
Caring For You Is Just As Important As Caring For Others
Again, I do not want the title of this post to confuse readers with not caring about what is important. Caring for you and how others interact with you is very important as well. Am I saying that there is only one particular way to how people should treat each other? No. Like everything in life it is subjective; there is no right or wrong. Just ways that serve you and ways that don’t.
A whole can of worms could be opened here and people could say, “Well the way that person is interacting is illegal as they’re being discriminatory towards others and towards me.” Well yes, that is why we have certain laws in certain countries. I agree. My point is that is a once-in-a-blue-moon situation. In my personal experience, and from those I’ve seen around me, it is the behaviour of others, which is not illegal but not aligned with our values and how we’d like to be treated, is what we should be caring about.
What can we do about it? We can communicate and let that person know that what they are doing is not how you’d like to be treated. Remember we are not asserting authority here. We are just communicating that we are not happy with the way we are being treated. We are setting boundaries. Caring for yourself is letting others know how you want to be treated. Try to avoid problems and avoid toxicity by being true to your values and what you know is the right thing to do.
“If you’re unsure that what you are doing is the right thing to do then look at the world around you. It is a reflection of what you’re putting out into the universe.”
Additionally caring for yourself is literally caring for your self as well. The amount of sleep and rest time you allow yourself; the amount of exercise you do; what you nourish your body with; the respect you have for yourself will inevitably result in the respect you have for others. Caring about yourself should be a priority.
Making Priorities – What We Shouldn’t Be Caring About
I don’t want to sound like a he’s-perfect-and-found-all-the-answers type of guy. Hands down, I’m not. I write from the lessons I have learnt or I’m still learning in the hope that in may reach others. As a teenager your identity was everything. I guess it’s only natural as you are physically and emotionally changing into an adult and most of us just want to fit in and be part of a group – surely, that’s a natural thing.
For some of us we find our true identity during these formative years and as we get older, we drop what is not real for us and live a life true to ourselves. But for many of us, myself included at one stage, we hold onto the concept that we need to be what others want us to be in order to be accepted.
I’d like to take a leaf out of Dr. Frederic Neuman when he states in his Psychology Today article:
“Some people will like and approve of you, and some won’t. Some people (family members frequently) have a vested interest in thinking you are deficient. They will think you are in the wrong no matter what you do. But others will take one look at you and approve. They will admire you for things you take for granted. Try to find these people.”
Meaning, it’s not that we are a bad person if someone doesn’t like or approve of us it’s just that we haven’t aligned ourselves with people that accept us for who we are. Not to sound too corny here, but if you are happy with who you are and you’re not intentionally physically or mentally hurting someone then why should you not be with people who support and accept you.
So, what should we care about? I often find it amusing (funny because to me logically it doesn’t make any sense) that people can spend hours trying to improve their outwards appearance, like washing their car, applying cosmetics and shopping for new clothes, though make little time for things that will make them internally happy like using their spare time to interact with those we love, learning new skills to help us learn and grow, and reading books and giving ourselves downtime.
Spending Our Energy Wisely
We all have 24 hours in one day and how we choose to spend them is up to us. Due to worrying about what others think, a lot of our time and ultimately is spent on this. Just think how much we all could have grown if we had spent the same amount of time and energy worrying about what others thought and put that into activities that give us energy.
For example exercising, doing kind acts for yourself and others, serving the community, interacting with those you care about and they care for you, studying something new are all examples of activities that will give us energy as opposed to draining our energy. Take stock of your life and literally write down the activities that you do in one day and then a whole week.
Be honest with yourself and se if how you spend your day is for you (and by you I also mean serving the community and those around you in a meaningful way) or is it trying to keep up appearances for others. Remember no-one else can do this exercise for you. I found that if I am constantly down in energy I need to take restock of my life and make sure that I am spending my time and energy doing and creating things that will make me a better person so ultimately, I can be a better servant to those around me.
Keep in mind that the life we have now is a result from the thoughts, beliefs, actions and habits that we have from the past so it is a great indicator of where our energy is being spent. Also remember that time is a very powerful energy. Meaning that it will compound over time; positive or negative, how we use our time and energy will multiply over time. It’s just something to keep in mind.
Article In A Nutshell
Caring is a great trait. It is probably one of the many great qualities that make our world go around. However we must be very careful that we are caring about the right things. Caring too much about what others think about us will lead to a detrimental state of our health both mentally and physically. Putting our time and energy into actions that will give us energy is a much better use of time and it will serve us and those around us in a much better way.