How To Stop Caring What People Think Of You
By Leo Gura - August 11, 2014 | 91 Comments
Foundational mindsets to put a permanent end to people-pleasing.
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org. In this video I’m talking about a critical topic. I’m going to tell you how to stop caring what other people think about you.
Why Do We Give So Much Power To Other People?
Why do we allow other people to have so much control over the way that we live our own lives? Have you ever wondered this? Have you ever wondered why you let people have so much power over you because you are doing it. If you’re a people pleaser, if you’re somebody who’s watching this video and this topic is something that resonating with you and you want to stop caring so much about what everyone is thinking about you then you should really sit down and take a deep look.
I’m going to help you to do this with this video. This is going to be a foundational video because I think this is a problem that almost all of us face. Some of us face it to such a degree that it’s literally crippling and destroying our lives.
This is a personal topic for me because this is something that I really had to struggle with for a long time, not just for a few years, but really for my whole life. This is almost like a theme, a motif of my entire life is struggling with this. Just over the last year I’ve made some really big progress. I’ve been making some good progress for the last maybe three years, but especially the last year I’ve made some really good progress as I’ve really taken my personal development to some advanced stages.
I have some mindsets that I think I can share with you to help you right now right at the end of this video to walk away with some big shifts. There are going to be some paradigm shifts so if you’re facing this problem then stick with me. I know a lot of people have been asking about this topic.
This is a topic that I really wanted to do justice to. I’ve already shot this video several times so this is probably my fifth time recording it. I’ve shot it in various places from Death Valley, etcetera. I’m re-recording it now because I want to make it really have punch.
So my own struggles. Let me start by talking a little about those. I moved here, to the US when I was six years old. I moved here from Russia. That was an amazing time for me. It was really an amazing experience. There was so much here in the US that was not available in Russia at the time.
When I moved here it was in ninety-one which was about a year before the Soviet Union collapsed. I moved here and my family relocated and it was great except one problem in that transition was that I started going to school here and I didn’t know the language when I went to first grade so I had to really learn quickly. I struggled for a while in school trying to catch back up.
One of the things that really crippled me there was that it was really hard for me to fit into the culture of people here in the States in school. I always felt like I was the odd one out. I always felt a little bit weird, I always felt like I wasn’t normal, I always felt that I had to work extra hard to fit in with the culture that’s here.
That left some kind of deep impressions on me, some deep scars, nothing traumatic nothing shocking but still, when you’ve got a young mind and you’re faced with that kind of challenge you can use it to scar your own self and then you can develop this kind of complex where you feel like you’re always assessing how people think about you. Maybe you can relate with that. When you’re walking down the street you’re always in the back on your mind thinking about, “What’s that person thinking about me? How do I look in his eyes? How do I look in her eyes?”
When you’re having a conversation with a girlfriend or boyfriend you’re thinking about, “How are they going to interpret that? What do they think about me?” When you’re talking in front of a group of colleagues at work, in the back of your mind you’re always running that analysis. Always running that analysis about how you were perceived, how you come off.
This was me for a very long time. It might be hard to believe now because I’ve really worked on myself a lot. Shooting these videos just in and of itself has really helped me a lot. So there was that.
The White Knight
Even more than just this incident of coming here to the States and the culture shock that I had to deal with and trying to fit in, but the next thing that I really faced was that my dad was an interesting example. He was the type of person that simply did not give a shit what anybody thought about him. It’s really quite remarkable. It’s almost awe-inspiring.
There were good and bad components to that. There’s good and bad in that. The problem that happened with me is I was seeing that and I was interpreting that thing of not caring about what people think of you as bad. I was thinking that that was a bad thing.
Usually what tends to happen is your parents, your mom and your dad, they have certain values and kids will either align with those values and they’ll tend to go along with those and they’ll adopt those, or some of those values kids will do the opposite with. They will just rebel against them because they see them as being bad or something that they don’t want for themselves. That’s what happened with the case with my dad here and with trying to be a people pleaser.
In my own mind I rationalized it like this. If you are a people pleaser you probably can relate to this kind of line of thinking. In my mind I said, “I don’t want to be an asshole, I don’t want to be uncaring. I want to be the good guy. I want to be the white knight. I want to be the goody goody.
“I want to be empathetic, I want to care about people so I’m going to go out of my way and I’m going to be extra nice to people. I’m going to make sure that I do things well”. That’s kind of a philosophy that I set for myself very early on.
I kind of rebelled from that philosophy of fuck it! Who cares what people think. I’m just doing my own thing. Now it’s been many, many years and I’ve been kind of going full circle, coming back to originally what I shunned because there were a lot of problems with this people pleasing mentality that I adopted.
That’s what we’re going to do in this video. We’re going to really help cure you of your people pleasing tendencies. Let’s first take a look at why this is happening. What’s really going on here? Why are you trying to people please?
The Noble Do-Gooder
Here’s what I’ve kind of come to this conclusion. Here’s how it works. You’ve got an image of yourself, a self-image. In your mind you’ve got this mental picture of what you think you’re like. We all have this.
You as a people pleaser your self-image is very specific. Your self-image is that of this noble person. You’re good human being. You’re a caring human being. You’re not like some of those other human beings who just kind of stumble aimlessly through life not caring about others.
You don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. You want to do good. You want to do right in the world and you want to be perceived as a good, kindhearted human being, the kind of human being that you imagined yourself to be, your ideal self. You’ve got this ideal self and you want this image to be reflected in the external circumstances.
It’s not just enough that you have this image, but you want the validation of that image. You want evidence that your image is accurate. You want this evidence from your boss, you want it from your mom and your dad, you want it from your brother, your sister, your wife, your husband, your girlfriend or boyfriend, any of your friends, any of your customers or any of your clients, even a random stranger on the street that just glances at you.
You want all of those people to validate your noble self-image. You want to be approved of and you want to be loved. That’s basically what you want. Because of this, you are working very hard to maintain this image.
As you can probably already guess, when you’ve got all these random and various people in your life that you’re trying to please, that you want certain reactions from, that’s not an easy thing to get. That’s not an easy situation to architect.
No Disconfirming Evidence
What you’re doing is you’re running around and you’re literally trying to architect your life in a way that people are giving you the most approval possible so that your self-image is upheld and you can say, “Look, I am this noble person after all. She said so. He said so. They said so. This guy said so. It was written about me here. It was told about me there”.
You’re looking for that confirmation evidence. Any time you see evidence that is contradicting this self-image that really disturbs you. It sends you into over drive to work extra hard to correct that to make sure that you don’t get any disconfirming evidence.
You want both confirming and you want no disconfirming evidence. That’s what you’re always working towards. One of the ways that you work towards this is by telling yourself you want to be very empathetic. You really care about the feelings of other people.
The problem is that being empathetic, while it can be very nice, in your case it’s a trap. It’s a huge trap that you are drowning in like quicksand. Here’s a fundamental problem that you need to come to grips with. Although it’s nice to care about other people, nice to do good things for them, to be empathetic, to understand their feelings, you are a living breathing organism.
Over a trillion cells comprise you. Each of those cells is almost like a mini living organism by itself, struggling for its own survival. All those add up to create you. It’s very deep-set. You’re not even in control of how selfish you are. You are an incredibly selfish organism.
To deny this nature within you is a challenge, it’s a problem because when you deny that you are very, very selfish and when you tell yourself that you are this altruistic person, we try and live up to that. The problem is that’s rubbing against your very basic nature as a human being. When you put the feelings and the priorities and the agenda of everybody else in your life above your own then you’re really putting yourself in this adversarial relationship with your own nature because your own nature is going to fight back.
It’s not just going to take it. It will take it maybe for a little while, maybe it will take it for a few years, maybe it will take it for a decade, but it won’t take it indefinitely and so problems start to bubble up. You can’t suppress this stuff. Resentment starts to build up, anger builds up, all sorts of tensions build up in your relationships, you start feeling unfulfilled, you start feeling inauthentic, you start not being able to create and live the kind of life that you want which is ultimately why we’re talking about this.
The reason that this is a problem that you care too much what people think of you is because it’s preventing you from building your dream life. You can’t do it. I’m going to talk a little bit more about that in detail as we continue.
The Middle Way
At this point, and I want you to be very mindful of this, what your mind might be saying if you’re a people pleaser is something along these lines: “Leo, so what are you talking about here? You’re telling me that being empathetic and being caring is a bad thing now? When did this nonsense come about? This is good. You’re telling me that, what, I’m supposed to be an asshole now?”
That’s what your brain might say. That’s what my brain said for a long time. Here’s the thing, you’ve got to be nuanced here. Don’t let your brain bully you. Don’t let your brain engage in black and white thinking.
Right now what your brain is telling you is, “I can be a goody goody on one hand, or I can be an asshole on the other. I definitely don’t want to be an asshole so I’m going to be this goody goody. Yes, there are some downsides with that Leo. I understand not everything is perfect, there’s some pros and cons, but this is far preferable to being an asshole. I’m going to be this goody goody. I’m going to continue this struggle and suffer the way I have for my whole life”.
It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m going to give you a new alternative. The new alternative is what I call the middle way. If on this end of the spectrum we have self-sacrifice and altruism and on this end of the spectrum we have the careless asshole that’s a cold-hearted monster, then what do we have here?
Here we have an interesting thing. We have someone who is completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others, but yet he or she is grounded in his or her own values. Those values are good and those values are right and that’s the end of it. That’s the bottom line that this person is grounded internally by their own values. Whatever opinions are out there about this person don’t matter because there is a path that this person is walking and no one is going to take them off this path.
This does not mean that this person is a monster or an asshole. Also, it doesn’t mean that they are self-sacrificing themselves and suffering needlessly in order to appease others. It’s the brilliant and perfect path to take, this middle path. This is the path that you’re going to have to take if you want to create an extraordinary life, the kind of life where you’re doing big things.
You’re Dreams Get Sidelined
We already talked a little bit about why empathy is bad. The other thing that I’ll add on top of that is simply to say it’s not a sustainable strategy. You think that you’re doing the greatest good, but actually you’re not doing the greatest good when you’re denying your own nature, when you’re denying your own agenda, when you’re denying your own values. This really comes down to an issue of values.
A person who is a people pleaser, the core problem with this is that when you’re people pleasing all the time then your own values and your own dreams, those get put off to the side. When that happens, you’re not working towards them. You can’t.
You’re also not working on yourself. You’re not able to do the personal development that’s necessary in order to empower you to create those dreams. For most people those dreams could actually be the way that they help the world, the way that they help their family, the way that they help their friends, but you’re not able to do that because you’re not honoring your own agenda.
What you’re doing is you’re constantly concerned about what other people are thinking about you. You’re constantly sacrificing your own agenda for the sake of others who impose on you but you never have the courage to impose yourself on them. Really you don’t even want that because you judge that as being bad.
This whole strategy you have to start to understand that this is garbage. It just doesn’t work. You’ve been doing it your whole life you see it doesn’t work. You’re not accomplishing the things that you want to accomplish when you’re doing this because you’re too dependent on the opinions of others.
Here’s a paradigm shift. Here’s something that could really change you’re thinking about this situation. An opinion, what somebody is thinking about you, what is that? What is it? It’s a thought in somebody else’s head.
Literally ask yourself, this thought which you could say is a figment of somebody else’s imagination, you’re letting a figment of somebody else’s imagination control your life. Think about that. When you put is starkly like this it sounds pretty ridiculous. It’s ludicrous that you would do this.
It’s one thing to be influenced by the figment of the imagination of for example somebody that you really respect or somebody that’s really important to you like a spouse or a father or mother, but most people don’t even do it this way. What they do is they’re really concerned about the figments of imagination that are in a complete stranger’s mind. Maybe it’s a customer that you interact with once a year and you’re concerned about him.
Maybe it’s you speaking in front of a group of people giving a presentation. You don’t even know half the people in that audience but you’re so concerned about what they think about you, what they think about how you dress, how you speak, how your face looks, how your body looks, how much weight you have, how good they think your speaking is, how good they think your material is.
Or you’re on a date and you’re so worried that this person that you’ve only known for a couple of days is sitting there judging you or what they think about you, what’s going on in their mind. You’re letting this dictate how you’re life progresses. Can you realize how ridiculous that is?
You’re Giving All The Power To Someone Else
It’s really a travesty to allow this to happen because what you’re doing is you’re taking all the responsibility that you have to direct your own life, to make yourself happy and fulfilled in life and you’re giving that away to somebody. To a random critic, a random stranger in some random crowd, maybe even a close friend of yours, or a boss, or a colleague. No one should have that kind of power over you but yourself.
What’s the solution here? You need to start getting grounded in your own values, what you think is right, what you think you should be doing. Getting grounded in that and then just going along and really not caring about the opinions of other people, either bad ones which are critical opinions or good ones which is praise.
Both of those you shouldn’t really care about because somebody who is grounded in their own values, who knows what they have in life, who knows what they stand for in life, who knows what’s going to fulfill them and won’t, who knows what’s right and what’s wrong for them, who knows that do they need somebody to tell them “Yes, you’re doing a good job!” “No, you shouldn’t be doing that”. “Yes, I like how you dress or how you look”. “No, I don’t like your work”. “I don’t like your art”. “I don’t like this thing that you said here”.
Are they going to be concerned about any of those things? When you really know what you want, you just go straight for it. That’s a powerful way to live life. That’s how you create a powerful life. That’s how you be a creator.
If you’ve got all these people on the sidelines giving you their opinions, their critiques, their little snide remarks, their little praise and compliments, and you’re always constantly distracted looking one way and the other, how are you going to move forward? How are you going to build out that grand vision that you have for your life?
It’s just not going to happen. Every single one of those people, they have their agendas, they have their own values. They don’t know your vision, they don’t know your dreams, they don’t know what you want to do in life, they don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong for you, they don’t have your values.
They are in charge of enforcing their values. You should be in charge of enforcing your own. Don’t be the one that’s left out without any values. You need to enforce your own.
What About Feedback, Leo?
One objection that might come up about this point is you might say something like, “Leo, what about feedback? Don’t I need feedback? If I’m doing this work, if I’m making this art, if I’m making this music, if I’m doing something in a relationship, if I’m doing something for a customer or client, don’t I need to know if it’s good or bad, if it’s right or if it’s not? What if I’m building a business, don’t I need to know if it’s profitable or if it’s going to be successful? Feedback is important there right?”
The thing here is that you’re really worried that you won’t make it on your own. You’re really worried that you don’t have your own guiding system. That’s what we need to install in you is your own guidance system.
If you’ve got your own values by which to guide yourself then you can take feedback. There’s no reason why you can’t listen to people telling you things. It can be a good source of information.
The problem isn’t feedback. The problem with you is a lot more emotional. It’s a lot more irrational, very neurotic. You’re not really looking for feedback. What you’re looking for is validation and approval and you’re really trying to stay away from criticism or anything negative because you want to build up that self-image that you’ve got. You want to preserve that beautiful self-image of your ideal self.
If you could just have that validated by everybody out there and nobody contradicted it, everything would be perfect. That’s how you’re thinking. That’s not feedback.
That’s ego mania happening there, very subtle ego mania. Be careful about your ego telling you that you’re selfless. When your ego is telling you that you’re selfless that’s usually when you’re being the most selfish so really watch out for that.
You might also object and say, “If I don’t get proper feedback then I’m going to get off course.” You might say, “Leo, these people in my life they keep me on course. They keep me knowing that I’m doing the right thing otherwise maybe I’m doing something wrong and I won’t even realize it. What if my guidance system breaks?”
Sometimes it’s good to have people to hold you accountable, to do some insanity checks on your own decisions. That’s all well and good, but you don’t want that to become a way of life. This concern that you have that you’re going to become some sort of monster, some sort of asshole, you’re going to become some sort of failure in life if you don’t have all this criticism coming in, or you don’t have all this feedback coming in and you’re not constantly looking for opinions and approval of other people, this is nonsense.
Actually the best way to live a very successful life is by not looking at the opinions of others. When you look at the opinions of others that’s the most likely to make you more neurotic in your life. That’s the most likely way to fail. You’re going to be just going round in circles worrying about what everyone is thinking about you but not honoring your own agenda.
Praise And Criticism
I already mentioned that praise and criticism are both problems for you. This might be a point that you haven’t really realized and thought deeply enough about yet. Criticism is obvious.
If you’re an artist, a business person, you’re working somewhere, you’re in a relationship, it is obvious that criticism is something that is emotionally disturbing to you. You don’t like criticism. Who likes to be criticized about something? You can see how this will sabotage you.
If you’re doing your art and someone keeps telling you that your art sucks all the time – your parents tell you your art’s no good, your friends tell you your art’s no good, maybe you submit your art to a gallery and the dealer tells you your art’s no good, you do all this stuff and you’re getting all this negative feedback about it. All of a sudden it’s making you doubt yourself. “Can I even be an artist? Can I be successful? Should I be doing this or maybe I should stop being an artist altogether?”
Right there you’re starting to basically sabotage yourself because you’re listening to all this feedback that’s out there. How many artists were told that they would never make it? How many artists were told that their art sucks? How many artists were told that their art is worthless and won’t earn a penny only for that art to go on later in someone’s life or after they are dead to earn millions of dollars?
It’s dangerous to think and to take that criticism seriously. This might be obvious, you probably know this already that you shouldn’t be taking criticism too seriously because it’s going to run you into the ground. What about praise, you might ask yourself.
You might say, “Leo, what’s wrong about getting praise? What’s wrong with a nice compliment here or there?”
Technically speaking there’s nothing wrong with praise. The problem though for you is that you’re neurotic about it. You need it. You’re desperate for it. You desperately need it to prop up this beautiful ideal self-image that you’ve got which is a total fiction, but you need to prop it up so you need the praise, you need the compliments.
Maybe you’re that kind of artist that puts out some work but you’re not very confident in that work until someone comes up to you and says, “Man, that’s amazing!” Maybe you need it to sell. Maybe you need to sell some prints or some copies. Maybe you need to earn X amount of dollars to get that validation, that praise, that positive approval that “This art has been accepted and approved. Now I can go on and create more”.
You can’t rely on that because not always will you get the praise you want. If you’re neurotic about needing praise, if you’re desperate for it, if you’re thirsting for it all the time, then when someone doesn’t give you the praise that you think you deserve which happens so often, then what happens you get resentful, you get bitter, you start to doubt yourself, you start to question that person too. “Why didn’t they give me the praise I deserve? How could they be so insensitive? How could they be so cold and heartless? How could they be so judgmental?”
The Paradigm Shift
This just further undermines everything you’re trying to do into your life, makes it very difficult to build your dreams out. How are you going to build your dreams and your vision with all the work that’s required when the work and the time, that takes a while to happen?
During that time you might have a lot of naysayers. You might have a lot of people criticizing you, you might have a lot of people questioning your motives, making fun of you, ridiculing you, saying that you won’t make it, or maybe even they’ll tell you that you’re doing good, but they won’t give you that amazing praise that you think you deserve for your life or any other part of your life. All that stuff is going to drive you deeper into the ground. It’s going to get you stuck.
What’s the solution to this? How do we solve this problem? You need to come to a realization right now. This is where the paradigm shift comes in. We’ve talked a lot about this stuff, but here’s the realization.
You need to admit – this is the first step – admit to yourself right now that the current strategy that you’re using, this strategy of seeking approval for your self -image, that this is a shitty strategy and that it’s time to drop it. You need to admit that to yourself because most people pleasers won’t even get this far. They don’t like being people pleasers, but they never take this first step of really thinking it all through and saying, “Wait a minute, this is a strategy I’m using. It’s an overarching life strategy and it’s just not going to work. There’s no way it can work”.
When you think your strategy is correct and you think it’s going to work, then you’re going to keep doing it so you need to admit that it’s not going to work. Hopefully I’ve tried to convince you a little bit of it here and I’m going to continue to do that as we keep talking here.
You can do your own work and investigation to really convince yourself that this is true. I guarantee you that it’s a good move to make, to move away from this strategy. Of course you have some reservations.
Your brain doesn’t want to do it because… you have a lot of good reasons. Potential fears of what might happen to you, what might happen to your success in life that you currently already have and that you’re clinging to, you might wonder what will happen to your relationship, you might wonder what’s going to happen with you, you might tell yourself that you’re not being authentic if you’re not a people pleaser, all this various stuff comes up which is natural because your brain uses all those reasons and stories to keep you grounded in your present strategy.
You need to bust through that and you need to decide right now that the best course of action for you, the best strategy is to become completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others. This means that people will come and will praise you, you’ll take that praise but it won’t change your trajectory. You won’t need that praise, you won’t thirst after it.
Also, it means that if people come and they criticize you, they laugh at you, they make fun of you, they have a negative image of you whatever that means then that’s also okay. You’re not going to be triggered by it. The game that you’re playing right now – it is a game, this upholding of the ideal self-image – the problem is that it can’t be won. It can’t be won because what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to make every opinion out there exactly the way you want.
You Can’t Control Other People
You’re basically trying to control other people. You’re trying to control the imaginations of other people.
It’s nuts what you’re trying to do. It’s not going to work. It’s too much work to do it. One of the other reasons it’s not going to work is simply because opinions are very random in nature, very capricious.
What that means is that a lot of times what people think about you says very little about you and your art, or your work, or your looks, or your personality, or anything else about you. It says a lot more about that other person. Think about it.
Hasn’t that happened to you when you were in a bad mood yourself, something bad happened to you. Maybe you got a flat tyre earlier that morning on your way to work. Maybe you skipped out lunch and dinner and breakfast, you didn’t eat for a long time so now you’re a little cranky because you’re so hungry. Maybe you had a big breakup or a big fight with your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend.
Something like that happens to you and somebody else comes to you and asks you to maybe give you some feedback on the work that they did, or somebody else is in a conversation with you and they’re to get your opinion on something and then you chime in there and you’re negative, you’re hyper-critical, you say something off the cuff that’s insensitive, maybe criticize someone harshly or something like that. This is what happens with other people.
When you think that somebody’s criticizing your art, or is criticizing your looks, is making fun of you, or is giving you a sarcastic comment, there could be literally a million reasons for why they said what they said. It might not have anything to do with your art, or your looks or your value as a human being. It might simply be that that person had a breakup or a death in the family.
Maybe they don’t have a really good sense of art so their opinion isn’t worth as much as you think it is. Maybe they just skipped lunch and so now they give you a critique whereas if they didn’t skip lunch they would have given you a compliment. Very random. I want you to ask yourself, do you want to give your dreams and your vision that you have for your own life, do you want to put that in the hand of randomness? In the imaginations of other people that are out there, many of whom you don’t even know too well and a lot of them you don’t even respect that much, but you still take their opinions very, very seriously.
Ask yourself this question, “Can I live an extraordinary life if I’m dependent on random circumstances? Is that going to happen?” What you’re going to realize is it’s not going to happen. Your life right now is probably a lot less than it could have been if you hadn’t been working this people pleaser strategy for so long and so entrenched in it.
Are You Getting True Value From Any Of It?
Basically what we’re talking about here is that it’s okay for the following things to happen. It’s okay for someone to think that you’re an asshole. It’s okay. It’s okay for someone to think that your work is shit. That’s okay too.
It’s okay if somebody mocks you, if someone ridicules you, if someone makes fun of you, if someone makes you out to be a fool. That’s okay too. It’s okay if you don’t get that compliment that you think you deserve to get, or that you really wanted to get. All of this stuff you need to treat it as the wind blowing left one morning, right the next morning. You’ve got to treat it as though it doesn’t matter because here’s another deep realization you need to come into contact with.
There is nothing really that another human being can offer you of true value. This is a powerful realization that I had about five months ago that really helped me to get over this people pleasing thing. I started to realize that, wait a minute what is it really that somebody else, a human being is offering to me in terms of what’s really important? Are they really offering me fulfillment? How much fulfillment am I getting from this praise that I’m getting over here, this critical review that I’m getting here, this thumbs up that I get on my video, this nice comment that I get, this nice thank you letter that I get?
Don’t get me wrong, all that stuff is nice but if you’re a people pleaser you have to really tell yourself, “Wait a minute, what’s the value in all that stuff? Can another person give me something that’s truly valuable?” At first you might say, “Of course Leo, other people give us value all the time. Someone gave me some money, or someone gave me some sex or some love or a marriage, or….” all this stuff, but think about it a little bit deeper.
What you’re going to find is nobody can truly fulfill you. Sure they can give you some stuff, they can give you job opportunities and all that kind of stuff, and they can give you sex and love, but will that really fulfill you?
What you’re going to find is that this game that you’re playing of trying to uphold this self-image, you think that this upholding of this self-image somehow is going to fulfill you, but honestly it doesn’t really fulfill you does it? Even when it’s perfectly upheld it’s not that fulfilling. That praise that you got at work, that nice review you got in some magazine or under one of your YouTube videos, something like that, that can be nice but what happens?
A day or two passes, a week passes, a month passes you don’t even remember that you got it. You don’t remember what it feels like. It was just a nice little hit.
What’s a lot more fulfilling is to be on your own path in life, to be honoring your values, to be living to your dreams, to be living to your full potential in life, to be embodying your own values, to be fighting and championing those. That’s what’s really fulfilling. Creating your dream life, that’s what’s really fulfilling, not these little criticisms and praises that you get left and right.
It’s Okay To Be The Odd One Out
You don’t need to be upholding this self-image up there. Who cares if it gets a little bit of smudges on it once in a while? You need to accept that. Accept that your self-image will get tarnished and that people out there don’t need to be constantly validating it.
In fact, and I’ll get to this point a little bit even later in this video, that’s actually impossible. Those standards that you’re sending are simply guaranteed to fail. As a recap, you don’t need praise and you don’t need approval. Try to live into this in your mind.
You have to kind of trick yourself because this is unnatural for you. You’re a people pleaser so you think that you really need this approval, you really need this praise, you really need people to love you to think that you’re a good human being, but really it’s okay. You’re not going to die if people think that you’re a bad human being. You’re not going to die if somebody is criticizing you. You’re not going to die if a couple of people on this world think you’re an asshole which invariably they will.
It’s okay to challenge people, tell yourself this, it’s okay to do that. It’s okay to offend people. It’s okay to hold an unpopular opinion. It’s okay to not fit in all the time. It’s okay to be abnormal, to not be the average in society or your group of friends or the one that fits into your family.
It’s okay to be the odd one out and it’s okay for people to criticize you for that. It’s okay for people not to like you. It’s okay for people to think you’re stupid, or that your opinions are foolish, or that you’re flat out wrong, or that you’re an idiot.
In their mind, a people pleaser will tell himself, “Whoa, this stuff is horrible! I must avoid it at all costs!” Really if you go out and you actually experience more of this rejection, more of this criticism, you start to build up a tougher skin and you start to realize, “You know what, it just doesn’t matter that much. I’m going to be dead pretty soon anyways, there’s a lot more important stuff than a figment of the imagination in someone’s head over there”. That’s how you have to start to think.
You’re Going To Clash With People
If you’re going to be building a big life, you’re going to be going out there imposing yourself on the world, constructing something important, maybe challenging the status quo, you’re going to be clashing with people sometimes. As a people pleaser you don’t want to clash with people. You want everything to be nice and proper and prim. That’s not going to happen.
If you’re building a business, there’s going to be tension there. If you’re building a relationship there’s going to be tension. If you’re interacting with your friends there’s going to be tension. Tension comes from authenticity. When you’re authentic, the other person is authentic, there can be tension and that tension is also authentic tension. That’s actually okay.
That other person doesn’t mind it so much. Actually what that other person doesn’t like is you being fake. When you’re fake all the time just to avoid any sorts of conflict, it’s hard to be attractive not just in intimate relationships, but I mean anywhere. It’s hard to be attractive because you make yourself so bland. It’s like you take out anything that’s unique and special about you, you hide all that stuff behind your back so that nobody sees and then you present this pristine vanilla mask that you put on.
That kind of mask people aren’t engaged with it, they’re not excited about it, it’s not good for business, it’s not good for marketing, it’s not good for sales, it’s not good for your relationships or your love life and it’s really not good for your soul because when you do that your soul gets drained. You feel empty because all that stuff that’s unique about you that you put behind your back, that’s the stuff that makes you really fulfilled when you express it. Self-expression is really probably one of the biggest things that you’re sacrificing as a people pleaser.
When you’ve got a big vision and you’re going out there to build it, a lot of people won’t understand what your vision is about, especially at first. Your parents might not understand what you want to do for your career. They might not get it. They understand it they just don’t get it. They think it’s wrong.
Maybe your friends think that the personal development you’re doing is stupid. Maybe your partners at work or your colleagues think that some direction you have for the company or for some project is also wrong-headed in some way and they’re very critical of it, but you’ve got this vision. You’ve got your own values and you want to live those which means that you to have to put aside the opinions of those people who don’t see the vision yet.
This is one of the biggest struggles of being a visionary, is to deal with all the naysayers that are out there. You’ve got to develop some tough thick skin and you’ve got to do that even though you’re not going to have the feedback that you want. You’re not going to have the praise that you want up front. In fact you’re usually going to have criticism and maybe even ridicule. Think about that.
Which Would You Rather Have?
I think that’s ultimately my point here. You have to choose between whether you really want to uphold this nice shiny self-image that you’ve got, or you would rather build this beautiful dream life, do something powerful with your life. Which would you rather have because there’s definitely conflict between the two?
I think it’s time for you to choose this one over here. Your dreams, your extraordinary life, I want you to build that. Here’s how we’re going to practically do it. I’m going to give you an exercise. In fact I’m going to give you two exercises in this video because it’s important to actually put this into practice not just think about it.
The first exercise I’m going to get you going on right now. Here’s the one thing that you’re taking with you from this video. It’s this one single statement, “I am completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others”. Such a powerful statement.
It’s so powerful that I’m going to say it with you right here. I want you to say it with me three times in a row to let it sink into your mind. All right, ready? I’m going to guide you. “I am completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others”.
Again, say it with me. “I am completely independent of the good or bad opinions of others”.
Say it with me again, third and final time. “I am completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others”. Good.
This is a powerful statement. You don’t presently realize how powerful this statement is. Here’s my assignment for you. If you really want to get over this people pleasing thing then here’s what you’re going to do.
For the next ninety days straight, for five whole straight minutes you’re going to affirm to yourself with your eyes closed, “I am completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others”. You’re going to say that for five whole minutes, just repeat it over, and over, and over again and then doing that day after day, weekday and weekends, workdays and holidays for ninety days straight. If you do that, that’s going to be a very powerful impulse to reprogram the sub-conscious mind of yours which right now doesn’t believe this at all.
If you say this for ninety days straight, you’re going to be surprised at how simple something like this can be and yet still have a very powerful shift on your psyche so go ahead and do that. Don’t dismiss this as you’re going to be become some evil monster, or some asshole, or some cold-hearted person. This is not going to happen to you.
You Need A Little ‘Asshole’ In You
This might be a problem for somebody else. If I was talking to an audience of not people pleasers but psychopaths or murderers or assholes, if I was talking to people like that then I wouldn’t be giving this conversation to them. They need more empathy. They need a dose of empathy in order to get them back towards center.
You, you’re so off-center to this side here you don’t need more empathy. What you need is a little bit of cold-heartedness. Really it’s not cold-heartedness, it’s just not carry a fuck to put you on this middle path. That’s what you need. Don’t worry, you are not going to become evil, you’re not going to become monster, people are not going to hate you because you do this. In fact people will start to respect you because you find your spine in life and you get some sense of direction.
The final point that I want to leave you on is that you’ve also got to consider this, this game that you’re playing of trying to please everybody, even if you play this game perfectly, you do everything right, you’re the perfect human being for your parents, for your siblings, for your spouse, for your girlfriend, for your boyfriend, for your coworkers, for your friends, for your boss, you’re just the perfect human being for that random stranger that’s walking down the street you do everything the way they want, there are still going to be haters. There’re still going to be people that criticize you, there are still going to be people that think bad of you. I want you to really realize how much of a losing game you’re playing.
In your mind you might be telling yourself, “If I just did a little bit better, maybe if I was a little bit better with my parents, or with my relationship and my marriage, or with my job, then all of my problems would be solved. I would have this glowing self-image, it would be validated and pristine and then everything would be great”. That day is never going to come.
In fact the more you’re doing good stuff in life, the more assertive you are, which you need to be in order to accomplish big things in life, then the more attention you’re going to draw. You’re going to draw attention from people. Maybe you get a little bit of fame in your job, in your social circle, and as you’re drawing more attention just by the law of averages at least one person in a hundred is going to hate you.
They will just for any random reason hate how you look, hate how you sound, hate your ideas, hate your philosophy, hate everything about you, criticize your work, hate your work, hate your family, hate your friends. One in a hundred will think that about you so the more successful you become in life, the more of a tougher skin you’re going to need because you’re going to have lots of people who are going to be criticizing you in various of ways. That’s okay because you have to let go. You have to just release your clench.
Right now you’re got this pristine self-image that you’re just clenching so hard. You’ve got to just let it go. It’s like a fairytale that you don’t need anymore. It’s like that security blanket that you had as a little kid that made you feel safe and good. After you grow up a little bit you don’t need it anymore you can just leave it to the side and be a grown up. That’s what I’m encouraging for you here.
The Final Exercise
The final exercise, how do you stay up with this, how do you follow up and implement this stuff? Here’s what you should do. I want you to start going against the grain of what you’re used to, against the grain of people pleasing. I want you to become very mindful and conscious of all the little areas in your life where you are being fake, being inauthentic, sacrificing yourself for other people. It can be something extremely simple like maybe you get an email from your boss and instead of serving your kids dinner you feel like you have to sit down and instantly reply to your boss because you feel if you reply to your boss within thirty minutes of getting his email you’re going to look a little bit better in his eyes.
Maybe it’s a simple little thing like that where you’re being fake whereas if you were more authentic and grounded in your own values you might say, “Wait a minute, I should really finish with the kids here then I’ll answer the email later, or even the next morning”. Little things like that.
I want you to become very mindful of those and I want you to almost purposefully screw around with the system a little bit. Push people’s buttons a little bit. You need that. You’re a people pleaser so your pendulum’s swung all the way to this end you need to start swinging it back this way.
It’s okay if you even go a little bit towards the asshole and the cold-hearted zone right here because you’ll find your way back to the center. You’ve got to kind of trust yourself on this. Right now you need to apply some force in the opposite direction.
Here’s a very easy way to do this. Everyone has a Starbucks near them. We all have one near us everywhere in the world so you have no excuses. Here’s the exercise. I want you to do this at least once in your life.
Go to a Starbucks, preferably during a busy time when they have ten or twenty people in there. People are lined up ordering their coffees, maybe it’s the middle of lunch or something like that. Get in line, stand there, make sure there are some people behind you in the queue and then as you’re moving ahead when you get to place your order and you’re standing there as you’re about to walk up to the cashier, you just stand there and you start observing the menu as though you don’t know what you want to order.
You stand there and you stand for as long as you can but for at least a couple of minutes where you just stand there, your feet are totally planted the cashier is looking at you asking you to come forward to place your order, but you stand here like you don’t give a fuck and you mumble to yourself wondering what you’re going to order. You do that even though you know that there are ten, twenty, thirty people behind you that are eager to get their orders in otherwise maybe they’re going to be late to work. You stand there and you take that pressure.
That’s what I mean by going against the grain. You kind of go against the grain of society right here when you’re doing this. You take that pressure. People are going to be giving you weird looks, maybe someone’s going to tell you that you’re being rude, that you’re being careless, good.
You need that because you want to be this goody goody. You want to uphold this pristine self-image. You need some people to tarnish it for you and you need to tell yourself, “You know what, it’s okay if a couple of people in this world think that I’m an asshole. It’s even okay if I think I’m an asshole sometimes. It’s okay. It’s a better way to live”.
All right, this is Leo, I’m signing off. I know this is a long video but this is something that was very near and dear in my heart and I know a lot of you have been asking about this so here you go. This is how to stop caring what other people think. If you apply some of this stuff I know you’ll get good results.
For me this has actually been one of the most fulfilling personal developments that I’ve got in the last year or two, it’s really releasing a lot of it. A lot of it I had to do because I’m YouTube so I get a fair share of criticism and negative comments. I get a lot of positive comments which is great but even those I have to also kind of wean myself off of that so I try to be more independent form the praise and the criticism. I think it’s good for everybody even if you’re not shooting YouTube videos it will be handy in your life too.
All right, this is Leo, I’m signing off. Go ahead post your comments down below I’d love to hear from you. Also, like this video, click the like button for me right now. The more people like this the more free content I can keep releasing. Also, share it with a friend if you would, throw it on Facebook.
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I’ve been on this personal development journey for at least five years now, really strong, really thinking about it and this stuff has made big improvements in my own life, I’ve seen it make improvements in the lives of my clients. There’s so much more to discuss about how to become more authentic, more independent, more on track with your own goals, with your own values. How do you get all the pieces into place? This is just one piece. We want to get all the pieces into place because there are a lot of factors that are keeping you from having that successful, fulfilling life and I’m really excited about sharing all those with you so sign up and you’ll be on track with that every single week with updates.