Why we care about what other people think of us

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Have you had a thought why we care so much about what other people think or say about us? I guess all of us has experienced this. And because of this our decisions often depends on the social validation that we get from other people.

As Marcus Aurelius, a roman stoic philosopher, says

 “We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own,”

We are social animal in nature since Day 1. Back in the hunter-gatherer days, if you disagreed with a tribe member, and the tribe decided to kick you out, you were essentially all on your own. That was a tricky place to be. Without the support of your tribe, living alone and survival would be next to impossible. Thus, it was extremely important to care about what your tribe thought.

That specific instinct has been ingrained within us that we are still holding until these days. Looking back, without this social interaction with other people we won’t be able to evolve and be able to achieve what we have today.

Looking at it this way, gives it somewhat explanation that this is just normal for everyone and this is necessary for everyone to evolve.

Now, why it has now a negative connotation? What’s wrong about this?


1. Measuring our success based on other’s success

Now that everything is almost at our fingertips including social interactions. It is very easy for us to compare our life with other people, we often see ourselves based on the metrics of how other people is doing. Our worth becomes dependent on how the society accepts what we are doing, we often lost our own self-identity.

The best example of this is if you saw the life of a celebrity from instagram and compared it to what you are doing right now, you will certainly felt left-out, understating all the good things that you achieve versus all the enormous/glamorous life celebrities are showing to their social media.

Instead of measuring our success with others, we have to see how much we’ve evolved and changed from the person we used to be. You can see how much you’ve changed and improved. Understand that people on social media commonly post something that others will like thus you are only seeing the tip of the iceberg not the whole story of their life.

2. We are losing our own self-identity

As we continuously see the number of likes and followers of other people in social media, we start to seek these dopamine inducing-event in our life. We try to replicate what others are doing without even realizing that each people has its own uniqueness, there are no people that is completely identical. Even identical twins have its own behaviours that are completely different from their twins. So why we keep on copying what other people do?

Often times we failed to see our own potential that we just try to copy other people and we just focus on what will make us be more acceptable by the society. We often just focus on what others are doing instead of focusing on improving our own uniqueness which can lead you to a very different place.

The best way here is to practice gratitude, you may not noticed it but you are given with so much that you are just focusing on ounces of things that don’t have, instead of the tons that you already had in your life.

3. We are afraid to fail

Deep within ourselves, we are really afraid to fail. We often neglect to admit within ourselves that we are anxious about failing. We have this second voice within us that always stops us from doing what needs to be done.

Whenever you wanted to start your diet you always have this voice that says that you can’t do it, whenever you wanted to start working out there is this voice that says you it will not be worth it. Our fear is creeping out that it stops us from taking action.

Such fear stops us from taking action and keeps us staying static. This is also the reason why people who works out is happier as compared with people who just sits all day.

We have to understand that our fear is part of us, we have to slowly push ourselves in facing our fears. The more you face your fears, the more you will be amaze on yourself and the less you will compare yourself with others.

Final Thoughts

Comparing ourselves with other is normal. There is nothing wrong with that especially if this serves as your motivation to improve yourself. Learning more about yourself and being aware is starting point of everything.

I always believe that the more we focus on ourselves, both our strengths and weaknesses, the less we compare ourselves with others. Keep in mind that we are all unique on our own ways and you will be amazed how great you are until you start focusing on yourself.

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