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.