Do you care about what others think of you and sometimes wish you could just switch it off? Has rejection ripped your heart open to the core and left you with wounds that are painfully slow to heal? Don’t worry about it. It’s normal. It’s part of being an emotionally intelligent human being.
But so often people strive to care less. To detach. To build an iron clad resiliance that could withstand the meanest of onslaughts. If only we could not give a shit what so and so thinks.
I’ve read processes in self-help books on how to energetically receive judgement.. how to let it go through you and out the back… or over you like water off a ducks back.
But what are we aspiring to here? Do we actually want to be a ducks back?
I recently came across this curious article “I asked a sociopath how to stop caring about rejection” . It was an entertaining read and certainly might help those of use who care too much .. who perhaps feel debilitated by their level of caring. But it also raised an interesting question for me: do we actually want to be like a sociopath?
For those who don’t know a sociopath is “antisocial, “an inflated sense of self. They are narcissists to the extreme, with a huge sense of entitlement .”
So how DO you care about what people think without letting it destroy you? Here are 5 ways that have helped me explore judgement or rejection without turning myself into a sociopath in the process.
1. Ask if it’s true and if so see if you can take on board the suggestion. Recently I had an argument with my sister where she suggested that I had said something upsetting at the worst time. Initially I felt defensive at the accusation but on further reflection I asked myself “is there any truth in this” and I got a loud and clear inner YES. I realised what I said was pretty rude and insensitive given the context and had a think about what I could do to improve the situation. It felt a lot better once I had admitted to myself what I’d done wrong and how I might go about changing it.
2. Realise approval is a built in instinct from our ancestors where acceptance in the tribe meant survival. A life coach I met at a workshop introduced me to this idea.. It’s a great concept that’s really helped me. Whenever I feel at risk of being rejected I remind myself that the feeling is perhaps something hardwired like the fight or flight response and a bit of a miss match to our current reality. I simply tell myself I’m not going to die if so and so doesn’t like me. It’s 2017 and I’m adapting to a more sophisticated inter-tribal world.
3. Compensate for rejection by remembering where you are accepted. Like ying and yang life is made up of contrast and for every person who rejects you there are many others who love you for who you are. When I feel judged unfavourably or rejected I try to remember all the people who have loved, accepted, approved and supported me over the years.
4. Prioritise the judgements of others and work out whose opinion really matters to you the most. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If a random stranger passes you by and says “ugly shoes mate” you can learn let go of that shit. If your boss says “poorly written report” well then you might have to do something about that if you want to keep your job. You don’t have to 100% agree with it or let it define your whole being but you do have to take it onboard and consider the appropriate actions.
5. Go ask a duck in the park and see what it says. Because nobody thought to ask a duck.
The Truth about Mental Health blog is an affiliate of Dr Kelly Brogan, Holistic Woman’s Health Psychiatrist. Check out her 44 day online course that explores holistic interventions like diet, meditation, exercise and mindset.