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What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business

Many people have told me over the course of my life that ““What other people think about you is none of your business.” Early in my life, and even in recent times, I had striven to be liked, to not upset people, to keep the peace, but I found all I managed to do was put myself in a twist trying to please everyone in all things.

When I  was first told this quote, “What Other People Think of me is None of my Business”, it was one of those light bulb moments. You know the one when it all seems so clear and simple. I realized in an instant that what people think about me,  truly isn’t about me. It is about them, not me. Their thoughts are not my business. It is theirs.I had been striving for the impossible. To always be thought of in the “right way” by other people. While it is “nice” to be highly thought of by others, I now understand that it is far more beneficial, and far more achievable to be highly thought of by myself.

Are you a people pleaser, but harbour deep felt resentment in doing so? It is impossible to make everyone happy with the choices we make. If you worry about getting everyone’s approval, you’d never get anywhere. If you let what others think of you become your business, it will consume all of your time and energy, draining you of the ability to move on in your life.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean being completely ignorant of others feelings, but rather their thoughts about you. You cannot change their mind by constantly worrying and stressing about what they think of you. What you can do, is be the person you are truly meant to be and feel comfortable with that. More than comfortable though, be the person that you want to spend your time with. Forget the thoughts about you from others and concentrate on the thoughts you have about yourself.

I have done a lot of  soul searching in recent years and have finally learned to accept and  love the person I am without having to put on any fronts. I no longer live my life based on what others might think of me, whether it be negative or positive. We all like to hear those positive thoughts from others, but remember that whatever the thoughts from others are, it “Is None of Our Business”. The words from others are useless unless we believe them to be true in our own hearts.

I originally wrote this article over a year ago. Recent events have highlighted what an important topic it still is to so many people around the world and I thought it was timely to re-post.

Enjoy, and remember “What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business” and in reality they probably have other things on their minds other than what you are doing :)

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130 Responses to What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business

  1. Robyn says:

    Love this article!

  2. Jackie says:

    This sounds so much like me. Used to spend my time running around making sure everyone else was happy and never saying what I really thought about anything in case I upset them. Didn’t work though. So much better being happy with who I am

  3. Eli says:

    Sorry but I find this to be self righteous and self promoting. The reason the world is continuing to be such a mess is because people can’t think passed themselves.If you really didn’t care what people thought of you you wouldn’t be soliciting comments and publishing the couple of positive ones you get each month. What you are really saying is “I DO CARE what people think…but only if they agree with me”.

  4. Lisa says:

    Thankyou Brenda, this article is great! Too many times, I personally have bowed to pressures of those around me to act and think like them and then feeling totally miserable because its not how I felt at all. I grew up feeling like this and its only as an adult I have learned an continue to learn that the only person you are responsible to answer too is myself. To be truly happy with who I am is ok, and if others cannot deal with that then sorry its ‘their’ issue not mine and I can no longer worry what they think or feel about my decisions about me. Thankyou again xx

  5. Danielle says:

    As A younger women in the time we live in, i believe in this statement 100%. I spent half my younger years worrying about what this person said or how that person felt about me. It is most certainly not self righteous or self promoting to encourage self belief. After all, that is clearly what this article is about. Making people stronger, happier and more confident to deal with the so call “mess” everybody must deal with these days. the problem is not that people cant think passed themselves, it is simply that most people cant think FOR themselves as they are too busy twisting and turning into the ideal person for everyone except themselves. Thank you Brenda you are truly inspiring. I think it is time that more people step outside the square. Obviously some people are more than happy to continue being sheep. Change your thoughts…… Change your life! PS- your the best mum. x

  6. Laura says:

    Great site. Good info :)!

  7. Jenny says:

    Great blog, bookmarked it to show my friends :)!

  8. David says:

    Thank for this great information. I really look forward to reading your new posts

  9. Michelle says:

    A fantastic ınternet site. Many thanks for the hard work to help out everyone

  10. richard says:

    Hello, thank you very much for this post. I do worry a lot about what people think of me, and don’t tell people what I really think about anything in case i upset them. It is not an easy thing to change

  11. I have had an experience with people telling lies about me to my face. I thought later that I should have told them that what they think or say about me is none of my business, so what are they telling me their business for? Has anyone ever said this to someone and if so, how did they react?

  12. Sally says:

    good stuff :)

  13. By not caring what others think about you, it frees you from the stress of feeling bad about who you are as a person. I say who cares what you think of me….I know I am an awesome, powerful, and strong person and if someone doesn’t like it they don’t have to be around me.

  14. Dan says:

    I totally agree with this. Whoever disagrees clearly doesn’t understand. Especially being a gay male, you really have to learn that and it is painful when you listen to what people say about you and believe it to be true. I am a smart person whose focus is on how to live my life better and if strangers who never met you before judges you just by your sexuality, then why in the world should it matter? Or about any type of situation, I guess people are going to think what they want regardless. The only one anyone can control is themselves.

    • Thank you for your comments Dan. I really like what you said about “The only one anyone can control is themselves”

      This is true, no matter what situation you are in or what it is people are talking about. No matter what people say – it really is not our business.

      The most important thing is that are happy with your life, and if people choose to judge others – that is entirely out of our control. Thanks again for your input

  15. Sam says:

    “The Person is Products of His Environment”.
    (this is a trial to translate from Hebrew, I just hope that I have managed to translate the meaning).
    Obviously it is important to know and understand what others think of us.
    We (individuals) are not alone on earth; we (individuals) are part of society and hence socializing
    and mingling with others is a day to day activity.
    We influence others and they influence us.
    Having said that, each and one of us are unique (my mom told me that I am unique),
    and have own shape of mind.
    We should be thoughtful of others, we should listen to others’ thoughts and
    opinions about us. We will then decide whether their opinions’ intention is to improve
    our lives, or are these just negatively (or maybe positively) biased, and seek ways
    to have a more pleasant life.
    Wish you all the best (as per your opinion of what best is) :-)

    • Thank you Sam for you comments.

      This is the beauty of choice – we can choose to let others influence our lives or not.

      If we continually tried to please everyone, we would spend our lives running around in circles. That is not to say that we do not listen and be active members of our community being considerate of others.

  16. Gosh I know the feeling BIG TIME! I think I had the same light bulb moment awhile back. We finally get to the point where we realize that everyone has a opinion and everyone is not always going to like you NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO! So I find that being at my best everyday and having a heart for others is all I can do!

    “You wouldn’t worry so much about what people think about you if you just realized how little they do.” – Dr. Phil

    Great Post!!

    • Your are right Roshanda – people don’t think about us as much as we think they do :)……and even if they do, there is nothing we can do to change those thoughts.

  17. Fabrizio says:

    Hey Brenda, interesting story and I can honestly reflect on this. I think as human beings we’re to focused on trying to please everyone else but ourselves.

  18. Yes Fabrizio – we cannot truly please everyone else unless we are first pleased with ourselves. Thank you for sharing

  19. Claire says:

    Thank you so much for this post and everyone for comenting!! I’ve spent my whole life worrying what others think of me and can’t seem to shake it off either. Today I had a horrible day at work (had to go home sick) with my manager basically saying that I’m not really ill. I’m now worrying myself (more) sick of what people are saying/thinking and how they’re going to act when I come back to work. I really hope that my light bulb moment will come very soon so all the worrying will stop taking over my life because it surely is tireing:)! I am truly happy for all of you that are now strong enough to stop worrying and love themselves. This is very inspireing to read so I might get there one day soon myself!

  20. Thanks so much for your feedback Claire – it is very much appreciated. Also thanks for recommending my site to others :)

    You can also find Mind Recipes on facebook where I post every day.

    Let me know how you go with your steps forward, and I will look forward to reading some more from you.

  21. Lattia says:

    I only learned this great advice recently – ooohhh those wasted years of trying to be thought of well by everyone. It is impossible. Life is so much better now

  22. Frank says:

    wow thankyou for this inspiritional article, being in highschool isn’t easy with all the rumors and mean jokes or just bullying for that matter, i hope to one day accept myself for whatever my interest are and to not care what people say to or about me.

    • Frank – while we can’t do anything about others behaviors, we have the ability to determine our outlooks to what is happening. As hard as it is (especially when you are at school) keep focusing on what is important to you.

      Don’t wait for one day to accept yourself and your interests – start today. Believe in yourself.

      Hold your head high and follow your dreams. Take care and thank you for sharing

  23. Macca says:

    Very impressed by this post – a great lesson to earn

  24. This is an awesome article and something I have come to believe within the past, oh, about 5-6 years. It’s like something my dad told me when I was younger and it finally clicked. He used to tell me “There are two types of problems in the world: those you can fix and those you can’t. The ones you can fix, fix them. The ones you can’t, don’t worry about it because they’ll work themselves out one way or another.” His words are very much in line with the whole “What people think of you are none of your business” because you can’t always fix the way people think of you because each person is entitled to their own opinion, however it was formed. To expect otherwise would be like expecting everyone to have the same favorite color! Clearly impossible! :)

  25. Bethany says:

    Really enjoyed reading this post – bought some things to light for me

  26. Des says:

    Learned this a long time ago – best thing. You can’t please everyone

  27. My sentiments exactly — every single word of it!!! Couldn’t have said it better myself even if I tried — and trust me, I have tried, lol

    GREAT post, GREAT website, Keep em coming!!!

  28. Jenny says:

    Hi Brenda,

    Thank you for your enlightening post, it really is wonderful and has made me feel a sense of calm because, although rationally I know it doesn’t matter, a lot of my time and headspace is taken up by caring what others think of me. If I’m not worrying about that, I’m worrying about what people might think of me in the future and if I’m not worrying about that, I’m worrying about the fact that I’m not worrying! It really isn’t very peaceful at all. I was wondering how you got to the stage you are currently at: having gone from a people pleaser to someone who seems extremely centred and in touch with herself, and doesn’t take the opinions of others seriously. I would love to get to this point but it seems very out of reach. I have recently decided to walk away from a difficult friendship because my friend wasn’t treating me well. Today’s worry is what she is thinking about me because I confided in her a lot previously and am worried she has spoken to other people about what I’ve told her as my other friends seem to have stopped talking to me. This has given my brain cause to panic and worry about what’s being said about me. Your help would be very much appreciated. xx

  29. Jenny says:

    Hi Brenda,
    Thank you so much for your reply! Your experiences are fascinating to read and mimic my own to some degree. I find that I generally do as I please and don’t actively try to please other people, but my mind is constantly bombarding me with a barage of potential things people might be thinking or saying about me which causes me great anxiety. I am at the beginning of a spiritual journey, have just started meditating and I’m learning about the ego/ lower self that craves approval from others. I don’t mean to be all Freudian but think a lot of it goes back to childhood: my father left when I was 11 without a backwards glance and I’m pretty sure my need for approval is related to the fear of being rejected again and a repeat of the hurt I went through when I was younger. It’s great to see you and other people putting into practice the kind of attitude I am trying to create for myself. Very inspirational and your reply has made my day! xx

    • Claire says:

      Hi Jenny,

      Your story is very similar to mine with your father etc. and it really hit home when you said that this might be the reason of needing approval from others. I struggle with it every day and hope I something finally will ‘click’ within me very soon to not care as much what other think/say. I do feel a lot better that there are others out there and reading posts on this site makes me a lot more positive. I hope you find your path soon too but just wanted to let you know that I also feel like you do at the moment!

      Take care, Claire

      • Jenny says:

        Hi Claire,
        It was so sweet of you to write, thank you. It certainly is reassuring to know there are others like me out there, especially as it can feel quite isolating sometimes: all my friends seem so well-adjusted and I’m a neurotic mess in comparison (at least I feel that way!) I definitely think that childhood experiences contribute to your mindset as an adult. For someone who has suddenly lost a parent, whether through divorce or death, they may subconsciously feel this was their fault or what they deserved and might monitor what they say or what others think of them as a result. I definitely feel that this is a pattern that can be changed, I just need to find a way! For me, it’s a case of quieting your mind. Sometimes it feels like my thoughts are out to get me and when I do meditation, I feel better and less wrapped up in my ‘what if?’ thoughts. I really hope things get better for you. It was really kind of you to message me, thank you! xx

  30. Paulo says:

    Great seeing this interaction – your posts helped me too. Thank you

  31. Claire says:

    I was wondering what your thoughts are on Law Of Attraction Brenda and if you use it yourself? I have recently come across this and been reading up a lot about it and have to say this has already made me more positive. All your posts seem to have the same positive vibe about them.

    Jenny if you want to perhaps swap our email addresses I can send you some links that I have found on this subject that I have found very useful and I think it could possibly help you too with letting go etc? Mine is kler17@gmail.com if you want to contact me (don’t feel that you have to though)!

    xx

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Claire and Brenda,
      I’ve wondered about the Law of Attraction too as people seem to rave about it. I read The Secret and didn’t really think it was for me, but perhaps there are better books out there. At the moment, I’m giving meditation and spirituality a shot and finding it works very well for me. I’m about to embark on a year-long meditation course which will be intense but I also think it’ll be necessary. I completely agree Brenda that regardless of how helpless we may have been in the past, we have control over our futures. I think the fact that I am so sensitive to what other people say and think of me can get in the way sometimes and I really don’t want it to. I don’t think anyone should live their lives based on the expectations of other people. Claire, thank you for your e-mail address, I’ll send you an e-mail!

      Jenny xx

  32. afrah qaid says:

    i lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve you so much you make my day and my life i am so happy now .

  33. Ray M OKeeffe says:

    Hi Brenda
    I have been getting your posts on facebook for a few months now. It is good to see your articles here also. I think you hit the nail on the head for me for a few things. I certainly have a habit of feeling anxious about an hour after talking to people or even putting a post on the net, and it stems to second guessing what people are thinking or saying. I had a counsellor which told me I didn’t want to know what he thought. And another which says they like me. :)
    But I have to remind myself, that I say things I think are good to say, and I have nothing to be ashamed about. My lovely wife is an encouragement. She says I has a good heart. Self improvement is a journey, from “I have come to suck your energy”, through to being an inspiration when I can. I find criticism, giving it and getting it, can be a problem. And have found the internet can be a horrible place at times.
    It is so good to see how it can be used well. Keep up the good work.

    • Jenny says:

      Ray,

      I agree that the internet can be a horrible place at times: people have free reign to assert themselves and slander others in a way that they may not in the ‘real world’. My advice is not to take them too seriously and, if possible, to avoid certain forums which are overridden with trolls and people who say horrible things.

  34. Brenda says:

    Thank you for visiting my site Ray and also for your contributions on facebook.
    Self development is definitely a journey – which is sometimes filled with backward steps and that is ok – we are human.

    Every year I take stock of where I am and what I have achieved and write this down. To go back and read just how far I have come is a great inspiration to keep going especially when those “backward steps” arrive. This has probably been the best tool in my self improvement journey.

    Thank you for your kind words and also for sharing with us. I will look forward to reading many more :)

  35. Nouf Nb says:

    awesome -I really liked what you’ve said and totally agree of every word =D

  36. “What people think of me is not my problem, it’s none of my business”

    The whole quote belongs to Terry Cole-Whittaker

  37. Donny says:

    Love this – sending it on to a few friends who need to read this NOW!

  38. Harv says:

    Really helpful – thank you

  39. Allama says:

    Your site is very valuable – enjoy reading through all your posts. Thanks!…

  40. Monty says:

    Excellent. I cant wait to read more. This helped me see my relationship in a different light

  41. Olivia says:

    Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

  42. Yumi says:

    Apologize for poor English I am visiting your site from Japan :D Enjoyed this

  43. Graeme says:

    Best article ever -even though you don’t think it is any of your business – love it

  44. Fiona says:

    Loved this – thanks

  45. jerry says:

    Love this article so much.

  46. Zeigh says:

    I recently had to terminate the close friendship of an old friend because such a phrase became her mantra in reinventing herself via a mound of self-help books. Normally it is a good cross-reference with your self-esteme to operate by, but becomes a problem when one holds it as absolute logic in their minds. The statement can give some people the permission to avoid responsibility. There is no excuse for being inconsiderate or disrespectful regardless of whether you are speaking the phrase or hearing it, but it is a great tool to help you survive the negative treatment of others.

  47. Ray says:

    I think it is true that people will think as they want. And most of the time it is uninformed presumptions and ignorance. While this exists. And we do need to learn how to let it fade into the background and not have any place in our thoughts and mind. For I think if we get energy from defying them, we have tapped into an energy which is not good for us. Indeed it also stops us from being the real us we truly are.

    While this world is very dysfunctional in places and at times, learning to overcome this and be you with nothing to prove to anyone is most important. Then you can do as you please and be happy with yourself just the way you are. Sure we all want to improve our skills and grow in many ways personally. But it should never be a burden, but always a joy, to just be and to be at your own pace in your own way. True unconditional love for self, is the foundation of how we love others.

    And if there are things you don’t like about yourself, consider where those ideas came from. It was not you. It was from others who didn’t know any better and have their own issues. When it comes down to it. There is a lot of strife and pain in life, and we must learn to not let it affect us adversely. Lets try and leave spite and rebellion out of it.

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Love is our greatest tool to self, and our greatest weapon against all enemies. As true unconditional love, accepts others, helps make them feel good about themselves. Those who feel good tearing others down are simply sick. Don’t let them infect you. Don’t despise them, feel sorry for them, and let love flow to them to forgive them in your hearts. Such is true freedom to be you.

  48. Ray says:

    … and as far as self help adice is concerned… something to note is this. We can only process what we are ready to process. So some deep advice may be taken way out of context and to extreme for those who don’t have much life experience and have not tried to work things out for themselves. I think it is important to ponder and try and understand from your own point of view, for in doing so you are “solving the problems” actively and even proactively. Where as there are so many that just PARROT what someone else said, from one extreme to another.

    As a good books once said, to the ignorant, their version of compassion is other persons version of cruelty. We are so limited to our experiences and perceptions. For us all to see everything the same way is not possible without trying to learn to see another point of view.

    When all is said and done, I believe it comes down to ATTITUDE. Attitude is like “a spirit”. It involved INTENTION and BELIEFS and FEELING. True spiritual growth, in my opinion, is based around keeping a sweet attitude towards life and learning to do so at all times. So when another is misbehaving, we don’t judge them, we merely show them a better way. But again, everyone has to learn their own lessons. And most of us will never see exactly the same angle as another, as we all have different experiences, goals and dreams.

  49. Ray says:

    Essentially getting along all comes down to respecting another’s rights to be themselves and don’t invade their space, physically, mentally or emotionally, or with loud noise.

    peace :-)

  50. Othman says:

    wonderfull article , we really need to ignore others thoughts about us..!!

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