We all know that person in our life who we envy because they seem to be able to let things roll off of their backs so easily. You know, the one who just doesn’t care. If you are the opposite and struggle to let things go, you may have to retrain your brain. The difference between why you care so much and why someone else doesn’t is a combination of your personality style and what you were brought up to believe.
I have always been a highly sensitive person. It is a tortuous way to live. Bound by worrying about what others think, whether or not they’re judging me, and whether or not they think I’m a good person, I am often left in a position of being either overly stepped on or overly neurotic. I set out to find the answer myself about how to stop caring so much, and what I found is that it is all about changing your mindset, which is much easier said than done.
How to train your brain to not care about what other people think
If you want to stop caring, it really is about making some big changes in your belief system. The art of not caring doesn’t mean that you’ll be transformed into a mean, heartless person, but rather, you’ll free yourself from the burden of constantly feeling the need to please others. Without further ado, here are 15 tips to help you learn how to dismiss negativity from your life.
#1 Realize that everyone judges people, including you. I always love when I hear someone say that they aren’t judgmental. Everyone judges. It’s human nature. In fact, it is literally in our genetic makeup. Judging people stems from our instinctual tendency to put things into categories. It’s a survival method that we use to help us determine if something is a threat, and then to react to it if necessary.
Judging alone is not the problem. Judging without necessary cause, however, becomes someone else’s problem, not yours. It’s their loss that their unfounded negativity has caused them to miss out on a loyal, caring, and kind friend such as yourself.
#2 Stop thinking that you are so important that people consider you at all. The hardest thing for really sensitive people to understand is that people typically don’t care about them ten minutes after they are gone. If you are a sensitive person, the key to not caring is to stop thinking that everyone is as “considerate” as you are.
Most people really don’t take the time to think about you for more than ten minutes after you’ve left the room and are erased from their frame of reference. Stop thinking that everyone is so obsessed with you that you’ll be the constant focus of their conversations.
#3 Be honest, and you can’t go wrong. The trap most of us fall into is that when we aren’t honest, we end up feeling guilty and self-conscious about what others will think about us. The best way to stop thinking that people are judging you is by being a person who has nothing to judge. If you believe that you are a decent person and have done the right thing, then you won’t care about what people think. Feel good about yourself, and don’t let anyone else make you feel any differently.
#4 Understand that you are not responsible for holding the world on your shoulders. Not everything is your fault. There are things in this world that, no matter how hard you try, will not go your way. Remember one thing: the world is not fair. No matter how hard you try to make it a fair and just place, you never will. The world is what it is, and things will go wrong and right sometimes, no matter how hard you try to change them. You are only human.
#5 Remember that the world will continue to turn. The world goes round no matter what you do. That isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. If you don’t get something done, or if you let someone down, the sun will still rise again tomorrow. Putting things into perspective can help you to stop caring so much. Knowing that the part you play in the world is not crucial to its existence is a very liberating thing. It takes a whole lot of responsibility off of your plate.
#6 Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if someone doesn’t like me?” Often, the worst part about any situation is the anticipation of the outcome. If you understand that even in the worst case scenario, life will go on, then everything is doable. If you realize that the worst thing that can happen can’t really touch you at all, then you have nothing to lose.
#7 Know that there is always going to be someone who doesn’t like you. There are people whose sole purpose in life is not to like the most likable people. In fact, there will even be people who will dislike you specifically because they are jealous that everyone else likes you.
If you base your worth on getting everyone to like you, it will leave you unhappy and always wondering what you’re lacking. If someone doesn’t like you, then you have to wonder what is wrong with them, instead. Always try your best to be nice and considerate of others, but if they don’t like you, then that really is their problem, not yours.
#8 Only invest time and energy in people who invest the same in you. Not everyone is worthy of your energy. The problem with people-pleasers like me is that we’re attracted to the people who enjoy us the least so that we can try our hardest to charm them.
In doing this, we end up wasting more energy on trying to get the approval of people who don’t deserve our attention, rather than putting that time into those people who will give the same time of day to us. Instead of wasting your time trying to win people over, spend your time enjoying those who will thank you for the energy you put into them.
#9 Stop hanging out with toxic people. Toxic people are those whose negativity instantly rubs off on us when we hang out with them. Whether they are bad-mouthing someone or just being flat out negative, there is nothing about them that boosts your mood or self-esteem.
If someone doesn’t make you feel good about who you are when you’re with them, then they’re not worth your energy. Spend your valuable moments with someone who will create happiness and good times to remember forever.
#10 Say no when you want to say no. Stop thinking that saying no makes you a bad person. You can’t be everything to everyone. It’s important to prioritize your time and energy in the right ways and with the right people. If someone asks you for a favor that just doesn’t feel right, then it’s okay to say no. The reality is that they probably wouldn’t feel badly about saying no to you if the situation were reversed. Not that it’s “an eye for an eye,” but with time being so limited, make sure the things you spend it on will make a difference and will be appreciated.
#11 When you say yes, follow through with it. Those who care too much are afraid to say no for fear that someone won’t like them. When you say yes all the time, though, you aren’t being genuine. You know that there’s no way you can do everything you sign on to do, so in the end, you’ll just end up feeling guilty about letting people down.
Building a self-fulfilling prophecy, you are setting yourself up for caring too much and making yourself feel badly, which brings about insecurity. If you are going to say yes, think long and hard before giving your answer, and make sure that you’re going to be able to follow through.
#12 Find a release or vice. If you find yourself ruminating about situations or feeling guilty all the time and sitting and stewing, find an outlet like exercising. Being able to work through your pent-up anxiety and emotions will ensure that you won’t explode on the wrong person, make the wrong assumption, or feel bad about something that’s all in your head. Finding an outlet will help you to stop worrying about things that don’t matter in the long run.
#13 Realize that no one is perfect, and striving for perfection only leaves you feeling empty. If you’re constantly looking for approval from others, it will lead to an empty life of searching for the unattainable. The key is to stop feeling like you need to be perfect, and accept your failures and mistakes as part of life. You need not be perfect; you just have to be perfectly you.
#14 Refuse to react. The problem with caring is that when someone doesn’t react the way you want them to, is ungrateful, or just not nice, you end up reacting in a negative way. When you react to people, the only person who gets hurts is you. If you want to feel good about yourself, take the time to walk away and think about how you should respond before you do so.
#15 Live by the guise that you can’t change the past, so stop trying. If you constantly walk away wishing that you would have done things differently, it will lead to anxious nights filled with nervous days. If you do something wrong, then chalk it up to a mistake that can’t be taken back.
Apologize when you can or feel the need, and move on. Don’t wallow in it or make yourself feel bad. The past is the past, so focus on making the future better.
The key to not caring so much is to give yourself the same courtesy that you give so freely to everyone else in your life. There is never going to be a time when everyone likes you, so striving for perfection is going to be a fruitless battle.