How To Really Not Care About Other People’s Opinions

Can’t stop thinking about other people’s opinions? Me too! I used to obsess over what people said to me about me. No matter if it was positive or negative.

And is it really possible to stop worrying? Yes! And I’ve got a mind recipe that makes it possible to not only deal with other people’s feedback and criticism but also not let it affect you. You’ll shrug it off and actually might even feel good about other people’s opinions.

The first thing to realise is that humans are wired to inherently care about other people’s opinions. It’s what helps build friendships and community. What this mind recipe allows you do is not take someone’s opinion and let it spiral in your head.

The Mind Recipe is much like baking a cake, you need to mix the ingredients all together in the bowl to have it bake properly in the oven or in this case your mind.

Ingredient 1: Establish a mind boundary.

This is the foundational ingredient, like flour in a cake recipe. A mind boundary is understanding that a person’s opinion originates in his/her/their own mind. That means when someone says to you “you’re not that good looking” – that opinion comes from them, not from how you look, what you’re wearing or how you behave.

The same is true when someone says to you “you’re beautiful”. It has nothing to do with you.

Ingredient 2: No one’s opinion is the absolute truth.

My opinion isn’t the truth. That last article you read on mental health is not the absolute truth on mental health. Why? We love patterns, the brain loves patterns and once we see a small pattern we tend to take it on as the truth.

We seek out things we see in the world that fit what we believe to be true. And the same is true when even someone is considered an authority gives us information, especially when it comes to anything to do with our body and mind.

Ingredient 3: Find an element of truth in the other person’s opinion.

This is the secret ingredient to really not caring about what people think of you. It’s based on Miller’s law (from psychologist George Miller1 ) which states:

you assume what the other person is saying is true or what it could be true of

As in ingredient #2, no one’s opinion is the whole truth just like our opinions of ourselves isn’t the absolute truth. There are multiple viewpoints to anything or anyone. Essentially you’re seeing things from someone else’s perspective.

Now, you don’t have to 100% agree with someone’s perspective of you, it’s finding the element truth in it. So, if someone says to you: “I didn’t like your presentation”. You could probably find one aspect of your presentation that could use improvement. Knowing that no one’s opinion is the truth can allow you see that someone’s perspective is neither right or wrong.

This secret ingredient is by far what will set you free from having people’s opinions affect you. Because we tend to resist what people say about us when it isn’t in line with how we see things which is why we tend to hold on to them longer than we need.

I talk more about this amazing mind recipe in podcast episode 21: How to really not care about other people’s opinions.

1Elgin, Suzette Haden. You Can’t Say That To Me. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995.

How to Say “Yes”

Just say No! That’s what we’re taught. We need boundaries, constraints, limits, etc. And the all important, say “no” to bad things like drugs and anything illegal.

We’re not really taught how to say yes because social decorum sometimes dictates that we should say “No” when we mean “Yes” or that a “Maybe” is a “No”. It gets confusing and I want to clear up one big distinction about Yes and No.

When somebody says No to me, I take their No at a face value, no matter what society has taught me. I take the “No” as a “No”

It’s important to make the distinction between how we interpret someone’s Yes and No and how we communicate our Yes and No. Our responsibility does not include extracting any other sort of meaning from someone else’s Yes, No or Maybe. A “no” is a “no” and a “yes” is a “yes”.

Someone else’s No is a No; a Yes, a Yes; and a Maybe, a Maybe. Our only responsibility then becomes to clarify the Yes and No in ourselves.

So how we clarify it when we’re not taught this? Well, let’s talk about how we say No. A lot of the times we are taught to say No to something. Like No to sugar or social media.

Saying “no” becomes outside of us. The sugar, social media all things we need to control and manage and all those exist outside of us. This can be misleading because what we’re saying “no” to is false and conflates the “yes” as well.

When we say No to social media what we need to remember is that social media is the external No and the internal Yes is what we need to make more clear. For me, social media serves as a distraction and even when I say No to it, I find other ways to distract myself from the task in front of me.

And then, what I’m saying Yes to is actually the distraction, whether that’s in the form of social media or something else. The No then becomes the task in front of me that needs to get done.

Whenever we don’t clarify the internal Yes in our decisions the No then becomes muddled in an attempt to control and manage external things in our lives. And trying to control things like sugar or social media can make what we’re trying to achieve frustrating.

Next time you want to say No to something see what the Yes is in that No and from there you can figure out your next course of action to what you say No and Yes to in our life.

I talk more about my battle with social media and saying No to it in podcast episode 15 How to Say “Yes”.

Intimacy for beginners

Understanding emotional intimacy is hard and worse, having it in relationships is harder. I’ve struggled with knowing what it meant and practicing it in my friendships and relationships. When I realised I had intimacy issues, I began a journey to get there.

First, what is intimacy? I define it as it’s the exposure of your true self or the familiarity you have with your true self (self-intimacy) and then intimacy with another is that both of you are familiar with each other’s true self.

We’re essentially not wearing a mask covering up who we really are (what we think and feel).

Next, how do you know if you have intimacy issues? I list out 4 signs I saw in myself and I’ll warn you, they hurt (initially).

  1. You’re told often that you’re a sensitive person or that you’re easily offended. This was with regard to what people said to me or about me.
  2. You have a lot of boundaries. Because I was sensitive to what people said to me, I often found myself having to uphold a lot of boundaries, not accepting of how people viewed me. This was exhausting to manage all of them.
  3. Your vulnerability lies on the two polar sides of the spectrum. The extremes of vulnerability involve sharing too much all at once or being quite reserved. You can be a private person but still share your opinion. Often, I toggled back and forth between the two extremes.
  4. You berate yourself whenever you receive feedback or criticism. You take the criticism to close to heart and it spirals in your head to the point you can’t separate out the fact that that’s only someone’s opinion and not necessarily the truth.

Looking in hindsight, it was easier to see how theses signs showed how I didn’t have the best intimacy with myself. Why? Because I wasn’t comfortable with who I was.

Being comfortable with yourself means you are ok with whatever stage in life you’re at. You’re lost in your career, you’re single, etc. You’re comfortable with all of it, the messy stuff and the great stuff.

That’s not an easy place to come from – enjoyment with who we are. When we can come from this place, people’s opinions of us become just that, an opinion. Your opinion of yourself doesn’t waver with each person’s statement about you.

You can accept what other people say without agreeing with them. That’s true intimacy with yourself.

And when a friend or a loved does say something about you that you don’t agree with you can see it as an opportunity to develop intimacy with them. You can inquire about why they have an opinion without needing it to justify who you are and your worth. You can come from a place of curiosity about the other person and develop a deeper understanding about each other.

Being comfortable with someone else’s true self can truly happen when we’re comfortable with our true self. That’s the kind of intimacy we all want in our relationships – the ability to be comfortable with each other.

I discuss a personal journey with a friend at the beginning stages of developing intimacy with myself. Listen to podcast episode 11: Intimacy for beginners.