How to Care Less About What People Think: A Tru Lady’s Guide To Living Fearlessly
In our new blog series, we interview people about their personal mental health struggles, self-discovery, and healing. We hope that in their collective wisdom, you will discover something that resonates with you. People like A Tru Lady serve as brave reminders that we are more alike than different and that every one of us has a story of empowerment to share.
Written by Lindsay Schwartz — Fact-checked by Dr. Christian F.
Meet A Tru Lady
Like many artists, A Tru Lady has been creative her entire life. Art is her primary form of self-expression, whether that be poetry, film, script writing, radio, blogging, or podcasting. Passionate about the arts as a means of self-discovery, A Tru Lady is working on opening her own podcast/content studio, so that other creatives will have a space to create! Here, she discusses her own journey of healing.
Q: What are your goals in life?
A: My goal is to help as many people as I can with my art. I want to encourage others to be themselves. Be an example of someone who is truly living without the fear of their own mind.
Q: What made you so open about your body, mental health, and other issues on such big platforms?
A: I was in a very bad space in life. I was mentally drowning in others’ projections of themselves. I would express my thoughts, dreams, and desires and literally be told no that’s not possible. I would believe it but oddly enough still push through! One day it clicked in my head this is what others felt about themselves, and was in their weird way of protecting me. Their words were harsh but not understanding their projection was truly a lesson to me. These were lessons on how to move and actually keep going. Everything negative I reversed into positive scenarios. Others need to know this. Don’t get trapped in the negativity around you. I feel so many other people need to hear this information. My story is filled with adversity similar to others and I feel it can truly encourage and help other creatives. So they can keep going and move in a positive direction.
Q: How has social media helped you in your journey of self-discovery?
A: The internet has been in my life since junior high, it showed me a world outside of the one I was born and raised in. It was a place that gave me insight into how I can live my life outside of what I was taught. Social media even encouraged my creative spark and also connected me with like-minded individuals, far and near.
Q: What advice would you give to someone still struggling to find their voice?
A: I want to encourage others to not succumb to their own negative thoughts let alone others around them. Start seeing the positive in every situation, whether the situation was good or bad. I know it’s easier said than done, but shifting your mindset can take you a long way.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about how you found your inner confidence?
A: Honestly, the confidence was always there but I had to love and believe in myself. Truly loving yourself is the fuel and motivation one needs to push forth.
Q: What are some of the most important issues today in society that you want to shed a light on?
A: Protecting your mental health! Change the trajectory of your mindset. Trust yourself more. See the glass half full instead of half empty LOL!
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
A: I just want to encourage others to keep a positive mindset and truly begin to understand themselves. Once you understand yourself and trust yourself, watch how things begin to change. I want to also encourage others to watch my story Living Life on 2 % and hope something resonates with them.
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Some psychologists believe that humans only have two basic emotions– love and fear– and that all other emotions derive from these two. Think about what drives you in your life. Most likely, love and fear are big contributors. Over the course of human evolution, we have been wired to pursue what we love and avoid what we fear. But as A Tru Lady discovered, that avoidance comes at a cost. Fear of rejection and/or failure can interfere with our ability to be our truest selves.
If you’ve ever observed a young child at play, you know what living fearlessly looks like. Prior to the age of 4 or 5, children lack what psychologists call “meta self-awareness.” Meta self-awareness is the realization that the “me” that you see in the mirror is the “me” that everyone else also sees. Sadly, this realization often leads to self-consciousness and self-censorship. We become fearful of what others think of us, and we modify our appearance and behavior accordingly. How might your life be different if you never developed meta self-awareness, if, like a toddler, you were completely unafraid?
Another social psychological phenomenon that leads us away from our true selves is projection. Projection is when someone displaces their own feelings or experiences onto someone else. Often, this is done subconsciously. For example, a parent who was once bullied for being different might unwittingly shame a child for being different as a way of protecting them from the same mistreatment. As the saying goes, “The way someone treats you says nothing about you and everything about them.”
How to care less about what people think
Of course, ignoring what other people say and think is not easy. We are social beings, wired to care about one another and our social standing. Anyone who says, “I don’t care what people think” is likely trying to preempt criticism and not stating the honest truth. And yet, when people in hospice are asked to list their biggest life regrets, they often say, “I wish I had cared less about what people think.”
So, how do you care less about what people think and live without fear? How do you reject the negativity of others and rediscover your inner confidence? Take inspiration from A Tru Lady, and practice the following:
- Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion has been shown to increase feelings of self-worth and decrease fear of failure. Be kind and understanding to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would a dear friend. Remember that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Access self-compassion exercises here.
- Focus on your values
Take time to think about what is really important to you. Honesty, integrity, kindness? Try to live in alignment with these values instead of worrying about what others might think.
- Challenge negative thoughts
When you notice a self-deprecating thought, look for evidence that contradicts it or try to reframe it in a more positive light. For example, when you make a mistake, try seeing it as an opportunity to learn rather than an occasion to beat yourself up.
- Surround yourself with positive people
Seek out and nurture relationships with people who support and encourage you, instead of tearing you down. Set boundaries with toxic people in your life so that you don’t absorb their negativity.
- Practice self-care
Taking care of your physical and emotional needs affirms self-worth. Ignoring these needs breeds self-contempt. Eat satisfying, nourishing meals, not what you think you “should” eat. Engage in mindful movement because it feels good not because you need to attain a certain physique. Express your needs and emotions instead of bottling them up.
- Engage in activities that you enjoy
What activities bring you the most joy? How much less fulfilling would your life be if you didn’t participate in those activities due to fear of what others might think? When you are truly engaged doing something that you love, thoughts about what others think tend to fade away.
It’s important to remember that living fearlessly and learning how to care less about what people think is a process. It requires shifting your focus away from external validation and towards what matters to you personally. Though it may take some time to get to a place where you feel more confident and free to be who you are, with practice and persistence, you can learn to trust yourself and be less affected by the opinions of others!
Why do I care so much about what others think?
Many people care what others think because they want to fit in and feel accepted. People also want to feel validated and appreciated by their surroundings. It is natural to have some concern about how others perceive you, but it can become a problem if it prevents you from expressing your true self or taking risks. If you find that you are constantly worrying about what others think, it may be helpful to take a step back and focus on what is important to you.
Why am I so bothered about what others think?
It is natural to be concerned about what others think of you. It is part of human nature to be concerned about how others perceive us, and to want to make a good impression. However, it is important to remember that other people’s opinions are not the ultimate measure of your worth. Try to focus on your own values and strengths, and remember that you are the only one who can decide how to live your life.
How do you not let people’s opinions bother you?
- Focus on yourself and your goals. Everyone has opinions, and they don’t all have to match yours. Don’t let them define you or your actions.
- Remember that criticism can be constructive. If someone has a valid point, take it into consideration.
- Remind yourself that you are the only one who knows what’s best for you. Be confident in your decisions and don’t let others sway you.
- Don’t take things personally. People’s opinions are not a reflection of you as a person, so don’t let them get you down.
- Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. If someone’s opinion is offensive or hurtful, don’t hesitate to let them know.