As a child, I was very careless. Embarrassing stories range from saying foolish things in front of others to wildly dancing publicly. I didn't have a single care in the world until someone was brave enough to walk up to me, stop me in my tracks, and judge me for being myself.
Often, people commented about what I should be doing or who I should be, instead of wasting my time expressing myself. A lot of those people led me to become insecure, antisocial, and sensitive. Those experiences led me to who I am today; a person who doesn't open up to anyone easily unless trust is formed. In ways, that can be beneficial. On the other hand, it's harder for me to connect to genuine people I meet, narrowing the chances for healthy relationships and friends.
Other people will always have opinions about you. Most of the time, it's not their fault that it hurts you. You may walk away from an uncomfortable conversation, wishing they hadn't said what they said to you. As normal as that can be, a large percentage of that damage you took is because you care too much about what others think about you. Some of those factors include low self-esteem and little belief in yourself.
It's always a good thing that you care about others. However, there should still be a part of your mind that cares for yourself to the same extent, or else you won't be able to rely on anything else except how much another person cares for you. Think of it as a balance scale. On one end is your care for others, and on the other is the care you have for yourself. It may seem impossible for the two to be exactly equal, but it's a goal worth aiming for.
No one but yourself can feel when you need to set that goal. Only you know when your self-esteem is dropping lower than it should be, and only you can make changes to bring it back up again. The next time you walk out of your house confident and bright, know that whatever anyone says, it's not going to change a thing when you wake up the following day.
I read a book earlier this year called The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker. In the same ways he explains how to spark creativity with the simplest strategies, it's possible to channel your inner confidence if you take the time to notice when you're feeling less confident. Strategies to help include journaling, meditation to spend time alone with your thoughts, and daily affirmations.
If you have read this post to find a golden way to stop caring about what others think about you, I'm sorry if I've disappointed you. There is no way that I guarantee will work for everyone. My only advice is to follow your thoughts, not others, and rely on those to get you up and going. If you're feeling crushed because of someone else, here's a little reminder that that person probably makes the same mistakes you do and that they’re not perfect either.
In those situations, remember to notice and remember the balance scale. Picture your side of the scale slowly dropping, but take a moment to breathe, and feel it rise back up.