What Other People Think

Do you find yourself worried about what other people think?

Whether it’s starting a business, changing careers, or doing something against the advice of your closest family members, the result is the same — you’re thinking about what someone else is thinking about you.

The truth is, you can’t control what other people think. If you try, you’ll fail because you can’t ever know for sure what someone is thinking.

If you show up in the world worried about what people think, you won’t show up authentically. Even if people do like this watered down version of you, they really don’t like the real you because you’re not being you.

When you let go of what other people think and you show up as yourself, you begin to show people how you expect to be treated. You learn how to let people be wrong about you. And you have deep-seated confidence that can’t be broken.

In this episode, I share how you can reframe how you think about what other people think about you.

Here are more personal development resources that will help you shift your mindset and stop caring what other people think:

Full What Other People Think Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.

Hey, how are you today? I am really, really freezing in Chicago. It is still the dead of winter and I, am hibernating forever. That time that I thought that Chicago winters were like Cleveland winters, I was wrong. So in the meantime, I am really enjoying working on my business and really focusing on being productive and working out and all of that good stuff.

What I’m not focused on is what other people are thinking about what I’m doing. And that is today’s topic. And I really, really want to talk to you today about how to stop caring what other people think. Now, I used to care a lot what other people think and the reason that I know this is something you want to hear about is because so many people are constantly and consistently asking me, how do I get over the fact that people don’t support what I’m doing with my business or in my career?

Or have you always been this way and you don’t care what other people think about what you’re doing or my friends and family don’t support me starting my business or my side hustle or whatever else I’m doing. You know, how do I deal with that? Like as if these are people to like deal with and what they really mean is like either how can they convince these people how to change their mind or what can they do to make it better?

Anything like that. And the secret is to do nothing. The secret is to not control them and the secret is to change your thinking so that you actually genuinely do not care what other people think. I used to care a lot what other people thought about me. I promise you I cared so much. I was such a people pleaser. Over time I have done so much thought work that I’ve coached myself and learned how to not care about what other people think.

Now, no one really understood what I was doing when I quit practicing law or when I quit financial planning. The quitting practicing law was interesting. It was, you know, people weren’t like, they weren’t that supportive but they weren’t outwardly unsupportive. They were more confused and probably likened to needing more work life balance and they had a lot of opinions about it. They had a ton of opinions when I didn’t pass the certified financial planner exam, the first time I took it, I had to take it twice. I passed the bar the first time and over and over. People would be like, but you passed the bar the first time. Like really? Like how, how did that happen? Like they’ll just say this to my face. Please keep your opinions to yourself. I don’t want to talk to you. No, but I never like, I never cared.

Like genuinely though, there’s one thing to say you don’t care, but really like you care and you know it. Right. You know, if you care, I don’t care like at all. But it took a conscious effort on my part to make this change. Now the same thing in a different way happened when I quit financial planning to be an online entrepreneur.

Now this was like people were just so confused and that was kind of at best, right? Confusion was at best, disappointed or concerned would be at worst, a lot of concern and that just comes from people not knowing what it is I do. It genuinely doesn’t bother me. Even like my brother, he wasn’t and we’re like best friends. I love my brother. He wasn’t unsupportive but he was, he was definitely not supportive. He was like somewhere in the middle, right? It was like, are you sure?

Like what are you doing? Like this is just not, you know, and he’s a surgeon and he’s just coming to me with his perspective. Like not for one second. I’m telling you not for one second did it influence my decision. Did it affect me at all? Like at all? I totally let him be him. I let all of my friends and family be them. I really, I didn’t let it mean anything about me. I didn’t let it affect my decision at either time. Like really at all.

Now what I did do instead was I did my research ahead of time. It might seem like I am risk tolerant person but I’m not. I’m risk averse and people who know me well know that, so I did a lot of research. I talked to a lot of people. I made sure who I got my advice from were people who had the results I wanted, so when I quit law, I talked to partners at law firms.

When I was considering becoming a financial planner, I reached out to several financial planners. When I was deciding to quit my job as a financial planner to run my business full time. I was at a conference when I made that decision around thousands of entrepreneurs who were doing exactly what I wanted to be doing. That is what convinced me to make the decision. It was always me looking for people who had the results that I wanted in my life. Then I make the decision myself and then I just let people be them. You have to hone your decision making skill. And the way that you do this, listen to the episode on Decision Making is you practice and you, you trust yourself and you believe in yourself.

Because the world right is made up of contrast. It’s good and bad. And we want there to be contrast. We want people to have opinions cause you have opinions, right? It would be boring if everything was the same and right there wouldn’t even be good without bad. So keep in mind that we need this and this is how humans were created and nothing has gone wrong when they don’t have the same opinion as you or when they have thoughts about you.

I heard on a podcast recently that Rachel Hollis’s husband had said to her, she had had like a 3% chance of making it. I don’t remember which stage she was at or what specifically he was talking about. Rachel Hollis’s multi seven figure business owner. She’s in New York times bestseller. She’s crushing it in the personal development space. Um, she’s got a couple books out. Girl Wash Your Face is the, is the most popular one. But anyways, her husband said to her something to the fact of, you have a 3% chance of making it, like he was just factually being rational.

He really was in his mind supporting her. Now she’s the entrepreneur, right? She’s me. She is you. She is committed to herself, to her craft, to her mission, to serve the world. And she understood that she could not let what her husband thought affect her decision. And that takes a lot. I mean, that’s her person that’s supposed to be her person. So the reason I’m telling you this story is because on the podcast, she said when she quote unquote made it, she bought herself a necklace and she wrapped it and uh, said to her husband Dave, this is a gift to me from you. And he said, Oh, wonderful. What did I get you? And she opened it and the gift was a necklace with 3% on it. And he said that really was a moment for him. That kind of was a game changer.

A life changer. Kind of crushed him in a way. Like he’s supposed to be her person and he didn’t even believe in her and she did make it. So I just want you to be aware that people who you love will have opinions about what you should do, who you are, whether they like you. And I just want you to know that it has nothing to do with you at all. You probably think it does, but it doesn’t. It has to do with their thoughts, right?

So their experiences, their lives, their thinking patterns, the way their brain is working is based all on them. It has nothing to do with you. I love the example there is an Instagram, I think it’s a Pinterest quote, actually on one of those social media platforms where talks about some people don’t like peaches, right? And if you’re a peach, some people aren’t gonna like you.

It doesn’t mean anything about the peach. It means something about the person who doesn’t like peaches. Another person can love peaches. Same peach two different opinions and who is right? So if someone doesn’t like you, it has nothing to do with you. That’s the message here. You may remind them of their sister in law, they can’t stand. You may dress like their, you know, sister who they’re estranged from. You know, they might not like you right away because you laugh really loud. Now if someone doesn’t like you because of a reason and they tell you that, they say, I don’t like that you swear so much and use profanity. Now you can take a look at that and ask yourself if you want to change it. But you know whatever you do, like I always say is you want to like your reason.

So if you think about it and you say, Hey, I never noticed that I swear so much. I actually don’t want to be a person who swears so much and you might be really glad that that person told you cause you weren’t even aware of it. And you will decide to change and not swear so much and it’s all about you. Right? And that’s a good reason to not swear anymore.

What would be a bad reason would be to want to continue to swear, but to think that by not swearing and by changing more people will like you because you’re not being authentic. You’re lying to yourself and you’re going to attract people who say they like you, but then they don’t even like you. Cause they don’t even know the real you. So you just want to make sure that you are being you and letting other people be them. Now I know if you’re a human like me, you are going to try to control other people’s opinions of you.

But the truth is you cannot do this. And you know how I know this about you. Look at your past. Look at how much you’ve tried to do this and how much you have failed. When you try to control what people think, you don’t show up as you. You try to get people to like you and approve of you by being someone else. You take on this other personality. You try to do things to try to get other people to think differently about you.

And it never works. If you’ve done this, you will notice that you end up being really needy and creepy. You are very overly concerned with another person’s thoughts. You cannot jump in another person’s head. So you never know what they’re thinking. Even if they tell you words, you can take their words as face value, but you can’t jump in their head.

You can’t really know if they even mean it. So all of this effort and it takes a lot of effort to try and control someone doesn’t work. It never works and it leaves you feeling bad and you don’t get the result that you want. And even if people do end up liking you, some like watered down version of you, they’re not even really liking you cause you’re not being you. So I really want you to try to let go of thinking about what other people are thinking. It was funny, I was visiting my girlfriend recently, in California and she was working one of the days and I was there like I had landed. I got there and she wasn’t off work yet. So she had let me in the house you know where the key and everything and I went in and was just getting settled.

I got on my computer for a little bit and she was texting me and we texted back and forth for a couple hours before she got home and that was it. And she came home and she said, Oh my gosh, did that text come off short? Like I didn’t mean it. I’m like, I was having a bad day at work and like I was like, what are you talking about? I didn’t even know what she’s talking about. She um, had said something really short back to what I had said and I have been doing so much thought work that I don’t like read into anything people say. Like I just let other people be them. Like it just has nothing to do with me. If you want me to know something, if you want me to think something, if you need me to know something, like tell me, make the effort because I am not going to spend my time and energy reading into things like no one has time for that.

And it was funny because when I told her this, I’m like, what are you talking about? No, I like nothing. I just said you thought it was fine or whatever the text was. She’s like, Oh my gosh, can you give a PSA to like the world about this? Because she thought that I would be thinking, you know, she was short with me and I’m just telling you that it’s never going to serve you to make up a story in your head that causes you to feel negative emotion.

So what will happen is someone will send you a text or say something and it will be like a short texts or you’ll, you’ll read into it, right? And it will, some will say, okay, thanks no punctuation or anything and you’ll be like, Oh my gosh, and your head spinning out. Well there’s no punctuation. And normally they text a lot more.

And I wonder if I did something and they took an hour to respond. And um, all this stuff can go on and on. And it might not be a text. It could be in person. I mean, you know, you do this, right? I’m just telling you that the result is never good. Because what happens is you spin out in your head and you feel negative emotion that’s unnecessary.

So negative emotion is necessary in life, right? And there’s useful negative emotion and unuseful negative emotion. This would be a space where it’s not useful to feel negative emotion because you’re literally making up a story that doesn’t serve you. So what I always say is if you’re gonna make up a story, you might as well make up a story that serves you. So if you’re gonna, you know, come up with something, give people the benefit of the doubt, you know, say, Oh well they probably are busy at work, or Oh, well she probably had a bad day.

It probably has nothing to do with me. Notice that you’re probably in the habit, especially if you’re listening to this episode of making other people’s thoughts and opinions of you mean something negative about you. And I just want to let you know that there’s no reason to beat yourself up and it’s completely unnecessary. And I want you to ask yourself, whose opinion matters to you the most? Is that yours? Is it your significant others, your spouses? Is it your kid’s opinion? Is it your friends, your colleagues who is it, your clients? I really want to encourage you to decide. So if you put someone else’s opinion ahead of your own, you’re going to be out of your own integrity. You will lie, you will be fake. And it feels terrible because you’re going to try to control their opinion of you and you’re going to focus way too much on them. Instead of, you know, living your life based on what you want to do.

So what do you think about you? I want to encourage you to decide to make your opinion of yourself the most important opinion in your life. And I want to encourage you to have a high opinion of yourself, not just the high opinion, but as high of an opinion of yourself as the person you love the most. So isn’t it funny how we give the people we loved the most in our lives? The highest opinion? It could be like your spouse or your partner or it could be your child or whoever else that you just love. Imagine how much you love them and really feel that. And I want you to feel that way about you. So if you really loved yourself and liked yourself that much other people’s opinions, they won’t affect you.

They, you won’t make them mean anything about you because you will know that you matter to you the most and that other people have the freedom to think whatever they want. And if you really, really like yourself that much on the inside, be that way on the outside. So we tend to be someone different on the outside because we fear judgment from other people.

But the truth is people are already judging you. So you might as well be judged for who you are. Instead of who you’re not. So I want you to ask yourself how strong your opinion is of yourself and how strongly are you committed to that? Are you willing to have your own back when someone else says something bad about you? And this might be easy to imagine if they’re outwardly you know, mean, but what if they just don’t support what you’re doing or they don’t understand it?

Are you willing to have your own back in that situation and just let them have their own opinion and be wrong about you? I love this. It’s something I tell a lot of people is, let people be wrong about you. That’s okay. You don’t have to defend yourself and get into righteousness. And that comes from scarcity, right? It’s like you feel this real need to defend yourself. And I just love saying like, they’re just wrong about me. That’s okay. They can be wrong about me. Oh my gosh, there’s total freedom in that. Really try that on. Just let people be wrong about you. You’ll get your power back, you’ll feel so much better. And when you have an amazing opinion of yourself and someone disagrees with you and doesn’t like you, they’re wrong. Why? Because what makes someone wrong, what makes someone wrong is that they don’t agree with what you know is true.

Okay? You follow me? So if you know that you are lovable, likable, worthy, and doing the right thing and you are committed to that and you’re committed to that opinion of yourself and you have your own back and you know that to be true, then when someone disagrees with you or doesn’t like you or whatever the decision is, they’re just wrong. And you know they’re wrong because they don’t agree with what you know is true. Okay? And that’s okay.

They can just be wrong. There’s freedom. You don’t have to tell them, you can justsay, okay, thank you for your opinion. That wasn’t asked for, right? Like I didn’t, you know, even I love using the example of my brother with the business because I never like needed to prove to him that I was doing the right thing. And he wasn’t outwardly unsupportive. Right?

He just didn’t understand it. He wasn’t, you know what I would have loved as if he was like, Oh my gosh, this is so exciting. I’m so happy for you. I can’t wait like sending me flowers, all this stuff. Right. That would’ve been amazing. Did I expect that? Absolutely not. I know my brother too well for that, but like I also didn’t hang my excitement on that. I didn’t expect that from them. I still love him dearly. He’s still a best friend to me. He just is living in surgeon, doctor world, like that’s miserable. So that’s why I don’t listen to his advice about, you know, business and career, right. Because I am going on a different path. He doesn’t have to understand it. And it’s funny because months later he actually was like, yeah, he was just talking about his career choices and finishing a fellowship and all this stuff.

He’s an oculoplastic surgeon and whether he was going to start his own business and all the risk with that. And it’s so funny because out of nowhere he just said, you know, that he all of a sudden kind of felt bad for how, you know, he didn’t really make it a big deal or how he wasn’t super over the top excited or supportive of my decision to quit financial planning and really do this on my own.

And honestly, I appreciated that so much because I always, I’m amazed and excited and it brings me so much joy when someone finally gets it. Like they really get what it’s like to do your own thing, but I never put that on people who don’t get it. So it’s okay, people aren’t doing what you’re doing. That’s okay. Like just let them be them. You might be misinterpreted, you might be judged, you might be disliked.

That’s okay. Like that is part of the world. That’s part of what makes it the human experience and you want it to be this way. Remember, think about the likes that you have and the dislikes you have. And I love using food as an example, right? It’s like you dislike certain things. It’s like I love sweets. I love chocolate. Like people who don’t like chocolate, I don’t understand, right?

That’s why I’ve put constraints in my life where I don’t eat it because I love it so much and I don’t like the way it makes me feel with all that sugar. But there are people out there who just don’t like chocolate and you like certain things and dislike certain things. Right? Of course. That is the privilege we all have. That’s amazing. Let people have opinions about you and practice not making it mean anything, right?

This is just a thought pattern that you have to break. Your brain is just wired to care way too much about what other people think. So start to think about how you can let go of those thoughts and opinions and really get clear about what kind of life you want. What are your values, what kind of future do you want to create? And then get committed to that. Like get decisive, have the courage to do that and courage doesn’t always feel good, but it leads you in the direction of creating your dream life. And I’ll tell you what, on the other side, there is an unshakable confidence that will stay with you forever.

And along the way you believe new things about yourself and you build that skillset where you constantly just let go of what other people think. You let go of the defensiveness, you’ve let go of the righteousness, and that’s honestly one of the best gifts you can give yourself because it will take you out of scarcity.

Let people be wrong about you. Show up as yourself and people are going to love you. They are, and if people judge you or you fail, or there are people who don’t like you, who cares? Seriously, who cares? Right? You can just not care. I know that you’re thinking, well, I do care. Okay, well what if you didn’t? What if you just didn’t care? Right?

And of course you’re going to have to practice this, but practice it, right? It’s funny, when I was at a conference and I was talking about this, I was in a group of people and they were like, Oh, well you can’t just do that. Like, yeah, you can. You can just stop caring right now. You can just let people have opinions and they’ll give you advice and it will be terrible and you can thank them for it and then do nothing with it.

You don’t have to talk about it. You don’t have to talk to other people about it. You don’t have to email me about what to do about it, right. Do nothing. That’s all right. They can’t control you. You still have the freedom to make your decisions. That’s fine. You’re going to be successful. You do need their support. You don’t need their support. This is such a common misconception. I’m telling you, you don’t need other people’s support.

Of course, like having a support system in your life and other people in your life is important. You need that. That is different than saying you need all the people in your life and your support system to agree with what you’re doing, to actually support the decision that you’re making. Right? They can support you as a human and love you without supporting your decision, without sending you flowers and throwing you a party for the decision that they just don’t understand.

I mentioned it before. I’m really convinced my grandma thinks I’m in a cult. I went from being a lawyer to a financial planner to what I described as a life coach and online entrepreneur. What she thinks is like, I’m literally just in a cult. She has no idea. People still don’t know how I make money.

It’s funny, one of my best friends started doing a little bit of work for me and she’s a friend from high school. I love her and I had to train her on everything. She didn’t know have any experience with blogging or WordPress or online business at all, and just today she said to me, Oh my gosh. I was one of those people who thought, Oh yeah, write a blog post, throw it up, make a bunch of money. She’s like, I can’t even explain to you how much I appreciate everything you’ve done and how impressive it is because you just, it’s, it’s so much. You taught yourself all this and it’s, it’s insane. Our girlfriends, like no one understands.

And I like in a moment of gratitude and it’s so amazing when someone finally does get it. Like it really, we connect on such a deeper level and I appreciate that so much, but I don’t need that. Like our friendship didn’t hinge on her saying that to me or like I wasn’t looking for that. I’m not looking for that from people other people. Yeah. They don’t need to understand it. No one needs to understand your path except for you. You need to get really clear about it, get really clear about what you want for your life and make those decisions in line with that. I care about who I’m serving, I care about my audience, I care about my business, I care about, you know, how I’m making money and how I’m serving the world.

If I create a product and it’s something my audience doesn’t like, then I’ll take that as feedback and create a new product. I don’t take that as criticism of who I am. I like. It just goes in one ear and out the other and I’m telling you, if you’re used to being a people pleaser, this will be foreign to you.

Your brain will be wrapped so much in other people’s thoughts and just start to notice it. Notice your brain and try to refocus on your own life. Say, okay, well their opinion doesn’t matter. They can be wrong about me. I’m going to let other people be wrong about me. Their opinion is none of my business. I love that quote. Other people’s opinions are none of your business. It’s true. Other people’s opinions are none of your business, so I just want you to imagine people looking at you and judging you and not approving of you and how amazing it would be if you just didn’t care.

You just didn’t care. Like it didn’t negatively affect you. You didn’t make it mean something about, Oh, am I doing the right thing? Am I doing the wrong thing? I’m telling you, the stronger you opinionate and love yourself, the more successful you will be. And I don’t just mean successful in terms of business. I mean like with your life, because you will have contentment, you will have peace, you will radiate, you know, with love and joy and abundance because you’re just going to show up as you and you’re going to be yourself and you’re going to love yourself.

And I’m telling you, when you do that, more people will love you. And this is kind of counterintuitive, right? You spend so much time wrapped up and trying to control other people so they like you and you end up being creepy. And when you just let go of that and you just show up as yourself and love yourself and focus on you and let people be them, they will love you more, right?

It’s like the result you wanted all along. So just keep that in mind. You have to practice loving yourself. And I know talking about loving yourself is such a hard thing to talk about. I do teach it and Design Your Dream Life Academy. It’s designyourdreamlifeacademy.com. It’s my personal development course that I teach. Uh, creating a 2.0 version of you where you practice loving. You know, Natalie 2.0 and treating, you know, Natalie 2.0 like you would the person you love the most because that is where you will get that conviction and commitment to the opinion of yourself that you need to have to love yourself so much that other people could have their opinions and you just don’t make it mean anything and you can still love them. Like that’s the goal, right? Love is always an option. Love is amazing.

Other people’s opinions are none of your business practice this practice, letting go of caring what other people think and I promise you it will change your life. You will catapult into the direction that you want so much because you will take massive action without all of that chatter about what other people are thinking about what you’re doing. It just all goes away.

You take massive action and you get results and you are on fire living your dream life and I’m telling you, I did it and it really, really works. So it’s worth the effort on your part to do this personal development work now because it will set you up for success for the rest of your life. Okay? Make it an amazing week. I will see you next week. Bye bye.

Thank you for listening to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. Subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episodes sent directly to you. To learn more about designing your dream life visit NatalieBacon.com.