When it comes to what people think of you, it’s been said that “bad is stronger than good.” In a given day, if you hear ninety-nine compliments and one criticism, you know which one will be running through your head as you try to fall asleep that night.
It’s normal to care what people think—most of us care deeply what the people we love and respect think of us. Indeed, it’s hard-wired: not so many hundreds of years ago, banishment was the worst punishment possible. We needed the group just to survive, so our good standing with that group could actually mean the difference between life and death.
Fast forward a few hundred years. These days, we may not rely on a group for food or shelter, but we still rely on those around us for belonging and support.
But ask any given self-help guru about whether you should care what other people think and you’re pretty much guaranteed to get heated advice about how to stop giving two somethings or a flying something else.
Herein lies the problem: the tone of a lot of “how to stop caring” advice is intense and contemptuous, and, at least for me, leaves me feeling like I need to accessorize with an eye roll and a straight-out-of-the 90's “talk to the hand” stance. Not my style, and likely not yours either. (Plus, I always suspect such a vehement reaction means they doth protest too much, methinks, and therefore actually do care—a lot—what people think.)
So let’s go for a middle ground. You want to be able to hear constructive criticism from people who matter to you, while filtering out the gossips, mudslingers, and plain old jerks.
This week, we’ll offer a kinder and gentler version of “how not to care.” So when the haters gonna hate, here are nine ways to shake it off.