Self-Compassion Series: Who Cares What Others Think About You?

By Dianne M. Daniels | attitude

You find out at work that someone was talking smack about you. It was something you did that made them talk behind your back and word got back to you about it. You confront the person which leads to an argument. The person denies saying anything about you which leaves you in a position of accusing the person of lying.

This situation, unfortunately, happens quite often. It can be at work or in your personal life, or it might just be that the confrontation never happened, but the issue did. It’s not fun or comfortable to think that people are running you down behind your back – it can trigger bad memories of a difficult time in childhood, or simply tweak your self-esteem and make you feel bad.

Here’s a question to ask yourself, why should you care what other people think about you? Are you happy with yourself and who you’ve become? If so, it doesn’t really matter what others are thinking.

Of course, if you are not happy with yourself, and you are engaging in improper behaviors towards others, this could be the reason for their dismay towards you. In this case, they could be justified in those negative thoughts. If that is the true situation, you may want to pay attention to what is being said about you. Use it as a way to help improve yourself – for instance, why is the person talking about you behind your back? Why didn’t they feel comfortable coming to you with the issue instead of speaking ill of you around others?.

On the other hand, if you are content with yourself, realize that people are going to talk about you. Those same people are not just talking about you, however. They tend to be the gossips of the group and will talk about anyone given the opportunity. You can’t take these people seriously, and you certainly shouldn’t take it personally.

What you should take seriously, is when people present constructive criticism. If they are justified in their criticism, you should treat it as a learning experience and a way to improve yourself. If you’ve seen my previous post on imperfection, you know that no one is perfect, hence we could all use a little improvement at various times in our lives.

If you feel the people in question are not justified in their criticism, they could simply be negative, and you should move on and keep your distance from these people. Try not to confront them unless they are causing you harm in some way. Most of the time, it’s best to ignore what they say. The problem is with them, and paying attention to them only keeps the negative energy fed and growing.

Your true, authentic friends will accept who for who you are and not try to change you. It’s why you became friends in the first place. Sometimes, they won’t appreciate certain things you do or say, but if they are good friends, they will talk to you about the issue instead of gossiping behind your back.

If they come to you, try to keep an open mind and consider what they have to say before reacting. Sometimes our friends can see things about us that we’ve become blind to because it’s become a habit that’s ingrained in our personality. This is not to say they are always correct, but, when they are, you should acknowledge it and make changes if need be.

We wonderfully imperfect human beings have the capacity to grow and change in positive directions – not letting people who do not have your best interests at heart affect your self-esteem and self-confidence can be an example of one type of positive change. Remove their ability to affect how you feel about yourself – who CARES what they think?

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