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What other people think

CoryCory Tennessee Veteran
I am still struggling with letting go of what other people think of me. Every time I tell myself I don't need other peoples acceptance to be happy, I always find myself going out of my way to fit in. It affects my entire life emotionally, spiritually, and of-course socially. I know I can let go of other people's judgement, but I just haven't found out how yet. Any thoughts or tips on how I can start breaking away this fear of not fitting in?

Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    I think it is about trying to face fears of what it means that you fall out of favor. It sounds like you lose something when you just try to fit in. Maybe explore what those values are and examine if they are more important than experiencing the discord or falling out of favor.

    I'm dealing with something like that. My elementary school friend invited me (sometime) to come over to his house to homebrew some beer and I am worried about fitting in. I guess just roll with the punches?
    Wisdom23
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    I'm not sure that it's entirely relevant, but I was thinking and writing (at too much length, I'm afraid) about a similar topic today.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    The fact that you know it's a problem is already a good step. I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but if I remember right you are pretty young. It's hard to get away from wanting to fit in when you are stuck in such a box as schooling and living with parents, and so on. When you finally get to live life more on your terms, it becomes much easier to just be yourself, because you aren't having to live under someone else's rules and way of life, etc. So the best advice I can give, (based on working with my own son who is almost 17) is do things that bring you confidence and independence as much as you are able to. Get a job, if you can and if you don't already have one. If you do have one, work more hours if you can. Set a goal for yourself to help motivate you to work more hours. My son is working towards a 10 day ski trip in Yellowstone over fall break, for example. He signed up for summer training (for a winter sport!) so he'll be gone from about 6:45 until 5 every day. Having that independence has really helped him to not worry about what others think, because he is living for himself.
    rohitCory
  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran
    edited May 2013
    Quit thinking about what other people think.
    You have no idea what others think, yet you spin stories in your mind about what others think and worse you believe them. The fact you keep doing this only strengthens this tendency. When this arises again, drop it. Do your thoughts comport with reality? Even if someone does not like you, so what? Peoples causes and conditioning cause them to like and dislike people for really no logical reason. If it's an attribute of yours you hear about frequently (lets just say anger as an example) and you find that to be a valid criticism, and don't like how you act, then make efforts now to change that aspect of yourself. You're never going to please everyone, but that's okay.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I think what is best is to find a balanced way of reacting to what people think.

    For example, if someone criticizes you, rather than simply accepting what they say, or rejecting what they say, spend a little time evaluating their comment. Do they have a valid point? Are they someone that you respect? If so, perhaps you need to incorporate what they said into your thinking. But, if their point is not valid, reject it. If they are not someone whom you respect, give their comments far less validity. But just remember, that some comments that someone might make, may help you grow.

    On the other hand, don't make assumptions about what people think. What do you think?
    karmabluesCoryJoyfulGirl
  • howhow Veteran

    This is tougher than you might think because how others feel about us, is the worldly equivalent to spiritual adequacy. It is very much subject to transient conditions and therefore creates suffering but it does mimic some of the spiritual experience.

    One way of spiritually approaching this,
    like everything else in a Buddhist practise, is to recognize that its all a matter of what your priorities really are. What do you really put on top of your altar?

    If your sense of well being is determined by fitting in with others, then this is what you have actually placed on your altar and are thereby subject to it.
    Effectively changing this, requires committing to placing and keeping something else above it on that altar that will help you transcend your desire for others acceptance.

    Meditation, devotion to a master or scriptural study are the usual somethings..

    Jeffreylobsterkarmablues
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    Cory said:

    I am still struggling with letting go of what other people think of me.

    I think you'll do fine. You are OK.
    I am almost a Buddha. My opinion counts for nothing.
    OM MANI PEME HUM

  • ZaylZayl Veteran
    Yeah, same problem here sometimes. But lately I've been interacting with people more and I've gotten a lot of confidence back, it feels good. You just have to remember, people rarely judge you as much as you think they do.
    karmablues
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    vinlyn said:

    I think what is best is to find a balanced way of reacting to what people think.

    For example, if someone criticizes you, rather than simply accepting what they say, or rejecting what they say, spend a little time evaluating their comment. Do they have a valid point? Are they someone that you respect? If so, perhaps you need to incorporate what they said into your thinking. But, if their point is not valid, reject it. If they are not someone whom you respect, give their comments far less validity. But just remember, that some comments that someone might make, may help you grow.

    On the other hand, don't make assumptions about what people think. What do you think?

    It also waste our time. Many time we know what we are doing. I am not agree to judge self based on people's thought. Action can be judged based on principles and circumstance.
    For example if one living in criminal locality then people of that region may hate us for not being criminal like them.
  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran
    Live your life, live it well, be ethical and compassionate and damn what others think.
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    karasti said:

    The fact that you know it's a problem is already a good step. I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but if I remember right you are pretty young. It's hard to get away from wanting to fit in when you are stuck in such a box as schooling and living with parents, and so on. When you finally get to live life more on your terms, it becomes much easier to just be yourself, because you aren't having to live under someone else's rules and way of life, etc. So the best advice I can give, (based on working with my own son who is almost 17) is do things that bring you confidence and independence as much as you are able to. Get a job, if you can and if you don't already have one. If you do have one, work more hours if you can. Set a goal for yourself to help motivate you to work more hours. My son is working towards a 10 day ski trip in Yellowstone over fall break, for example. He signed up for summer training (for a winter sport!) so he'll be gone from about 6:45 until 5 every day. Having that independence has really helped him to not worry about what others think, because he is living for himself.

    I am completely agree.

    I think at moment it is necessary to be settled in career. Once we settled also needs principles and wisdom to sustain success.
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    edited May 2013
    Cory said:

    . Any thoughts or tips on how I can start breaking away this fear of not fitting in?

    Sometimes it helps if I can understand people.
    I mean; when people judge me, often it has little to do with me. I can sometimes understand where their strong opinions are coming from.

    For (a random) example; when some people hate gay people it has little to do with the gay people; it is about their own fears, or it is the hate they were raised with in their society that’s causing it.
    The problem is not that people are gay, the problem is the fear and the hate.

    Understand why people think what they think, and don’t take it personally until you are sure they have a point.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    I am still struggling with letting go of what other people think of me.
    Are you one of the people thinking about yourself?
    That is probably the one you can create metta for and from.
    If people only knew the capacity for compassion and wisdom they are capable of, they would unleash those natural and innate qualities in this very lifetime . . . maybe even this week . . . :wave:
    Beej
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    edited May 2013
    Once you are happy with you, you will care less about what other people think. But even at 28, sometimes I need a little reminder here and there, so don't feel bad.
    Don't let them get you down. Be cheeky and wild and wonderful!
    -Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking)
    lobsterBeejInvincible_summer
  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran
    http://kadampalife.org/2013/05/04/who-are-we/ this article may be of interest, it has helped me let go of other People's judgements. Meditation on the emptiness of the self/I may help you let go of it.
  • I think this is a serious problem for many people, mainly because we are social animals and it is kind of hardwired into us to seek acceptance from others. I am very introverted and kind of a loner by nature but I care a great deal what other people think of me.

    My tai chi instructor once told us that some people kill themselves because of what they believe other people think about them. Indeed, there have been several times in the past where it has nearly driven me to suicide.

    Buddhism has helped somewhat in that my sense of "I" or "me" is not quite as strong. I've heard that during times of social embarrassment our false sense of self is very strong and we can use this as an object of our meditation to examine where is this self.

    I am haunted by embarrassing memories from my past and when these unwanted thoughts and memories arise during meditation I will sometimes use them as an object of meditation. I wish I had better advice to give you. I continue to struggle with this problem myself.
    Jeffreykarmablues
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    rivercane said:

    I think this is a serious problem for many people, mainly because we are social animals and it is kind of hardwired into us to seek acceptance from others.

    If someone tells us we have Buddha Nature . . . we say 'yes but . . . '
    Transcending the social but presenting to society is what the Buddha had and did do.
    We all have our tightness, our accumulations, frankly our dukkha . . .
    We all have a way to ease and unravel. Is it hard?

    Tell me about it . . .
    :o

    This is why we make use of the social tendency, with good company. We encourage the good, ignore the bad . . . yes we really must make some judgements and efforts to start with . . .
    Not everyone is free of judgements . . .
    Beejkarmablues
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    rohit said:

    vinlyn said:

    I think what is best is to find a balanced way of reacting to what people think.

    For example, if someone criticizes you, rather than simply accepting what they say, or rejecting what they say, spend a little time evaluating their comment. Do they have a valid point? Are they someone that you respect? If so, perhaps you need to incorporate what they said into your thinking. But, if their point is not valid, reject it. If they are not someone whom you respect, give their comments far less validity. But just remember, that some comments that someone might make, may help you grow.

    On the other hand, don't make assumptions about what people think. What do you think?

    It also waste our time. Many time we know what we are doing. I am not agree to judge self based on people's thought. Action can be judged based on principles and circumstance.
    For example if one living in criminal locality then people of that region may hate us for not being criminal like them.
    We don't always see reality. As a school principal, practically every day had a parent or parents coming in and telling me what a great school we had, or sometimes what a horrible school we had. When it was a negative comment, I always spent some time considering it. Sometimes they were just wrong. But sometimes they had a good point (to one degree or another), and I would make adjustments to whatever they had critiqued.

    riverflowBeejkarmablues
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    That wise old bird also said:

    "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent....."
    riverflowCoryBeejInvincible_summer
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