How to Not Care About What Others Think

To not care what other people think, you need an alternative. Your emotions are not enough; they’re not really an alternative at all. A strong alternative to what other people think is the notion of objectivity. Objectivity consists of what you discover to be true through your own mind about facts, using reason and logic. For example, as a therapist people will often ask me, “Should I do such-and-such?” I respond this way: “What are the pros and cons of doing such-and-such? What will happen if you do such-and-such?” I’ll help them answer the question. But the point is that the facts of reality decide what makes the most sense, not any one person. Neither you nor I can, or should, arbitrarily decide what’s true. We have to look outside ourselves to figure it out. At the same time, we have to do so ourselves. Without the use of your own mind — your own thinking and reasoning — you’ll default to the opinions of others. Without any thinking or reasoning — with only blind emotions, impulses or “gut feelings” to go on — you’ll also default to the opinions of others, because group impulses and urges carry more weight than individual ones. Lost in all this is the liberation that comes from simply using your own mind — and others’ reasoning minds, when possible and warranted — to figure out what is actually TRUE, and why. So telling yourself, “I shouldn’t care what others think,” while true, is not something you can come to believe just by saying it. You have to actually propose an alternative. I just did.