Thursday 14th November 2019

Does it matter what other people think of you?


Does it matter what people think of you? Hear our expert's view. An insightful blog on self-confidence to get you thinking about what's important and what's not important about 'being liked'.

Does it matter what other people think of you?

Are you worrying about judgement from others or questioning if other people think you’re qualified enough? Are you afraid that people will not like the “real” you if you show up and be visible, give your opinion or aim higher?

Here’s some of the common judgements my clients worry about:

  • What they look like - their face/accent/weight/hair/expressions, etc.
  • Whether what they say is comprehensive/clear/relevant/informative/good enough.
  • Whether they appear as confident or professional enough.
  • If their opinion is correct/good enough.
  • What if they upset someone who knows more than them or they get called out as a fraud?
  • Not being qualified enough to talk about their subject.

The list goes on… How many of them do you worry about?

So often this issue is what prevents people from reaching their work-life goals. Perhaps you want a promotion. Perhaps you want to raise your prices. Perhaps you want to connect with people using video marketing.

What are your fears around judgement and worrying what other people think? Naming the dragon is the first step in taming the dragon! Let’s bring them to the front of our minds as we move into addressing this!

It Does Matter What Other People Think

I want to share some information with you that I hope will adjust your beliefs around judgement from others and free you from holding back. I want to tell you that, contrary to popular advice, it does actually matter what other people think!

We get told time and time again that it doesn’t matter what people think; we’re given advice (with genuine care) that we shouldn’t let the naysayers get to us.

“It doesn’t matter what she thinks, just be you. She’s just jealous.”

“Her opinion says more about her than you.”

“Oh, take no notice.”

Whilst the intent behind this advice is admirable, the truth is it’s really, really, really, difficult not to care what other people think. And this is actually quite limited advice.

Here’s why…

It actually DOES matter. Well, to our brains anyway!

Instinct and Survival

It is completely human nature to care what other people think.

It is in your nature and your biology because the whole of the human species relies on it.

Let’s go back to when we were cave people, hunting and gathering and cooking over a campfire. Let’s view this from a human survival perspective for a second.

Humans survived by existing in tribes and watching and following others. If a tiger came into the camp and you saw someone run, you would run too. The perceived danger is shared. It does matter what they think!

You do want to worry about what they’re thinking!

You see it with herds of sheep too. If one gets spooked, it runs—then they all run! They don’t even stop and pause to work out why they’re all running! It’s animal instinct.

We are animals too! We have an instinct to care what other people’s opinions and actions are! It keeps us safe! It is survival!

Forgive yourself for caring “too much” about what other people think. Our whole species needs that mechanism! Please take the pressure off yourself!

Biological Survival

When you were crying as a baby, it really mattered what your primary caregiver thought. You needed to be able make your caregiver translate your cries. Are you hungry, soiled, needing comfort or bored?  A baby must communicate their need through crying so that it is (hopefully) understood and responded to effectively by an adult version of the species (the primary caregiver).

So, again, in this further biological example of survival, it absolutely matters what other people think because it meant your needs were met and you flourished!

Our human nature has evolved around concerns of what other people think—it’s how humans have survived!

Social Psychology

We can see this same pattern throughout your whole childhood too, from a social psychological perspective.

In order to be socially accepted at school you had to fit in. You had to make friends. You had to show your personality in the best possible light in order for people to like you. It mattered what your classmates thought.

In order to be given a good grade at school, you had to impress your teachers. If you tried hard, you’d be “rewarded” with a good grade. It mattered what your teachers thought!

We are completely socially conditioned to care what other people think!

To then try and believe—or to be told at age 30/40/50—that we shouldn’t care what other people think, goes completely against the grain of human nature.

It’s bad advice. It absolutely matters what other people think. Stop beating yourself up for caring about judgement from other people!

Do Everyone’s Judgements Matter?

Let’s define who “other people” are though…

There are always going to be people who know more than you. There will always be people who are not interested in what you have to say. There are always going to be people who don’t gel with you. There are always going to be people who need something different to what you’re offering.

Some people will connect with you, some people will judge you, and some people will be totally nonchalant. You don’t have to try to impress everyone.

I teach self-confidence. There are plenty of people out there who know more about self-confidence than me. There are psychologists, psychiatrists, neuro-scientists, to name a few groups of experts. As long as my knowledge is even just a little bit ahead of that of the people I’m working with, that’s ok.

You don’t need to be perfect; you just have to be willing to be real and accept you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. No-one is.

This isn’t about you at all. Some people won’t like your lipstick, some people won’t like your accent, some people won’t like your management style, some people also will just not like you in general! That’s ok! That’s their opinions. They’re perfectly entitled to them. It’s not your job to try and change their mind. These are the people whose judgements DON’T matter!

It matters what other people think, but only when those other people matter to you.

People have told me my lipstick is too bright—they are not my people!

People have told me not to swear on my Facebook Live trainings—they are not my people!

I don’t care if random people have those opinions! The people I choose to care about are my VIP customers, my family, my team and my coach. If they make a suggestion, I’m much more likely to consider if I take it on board or not, because I care about them. You can choose who matter.

There’s a quote I love that changed everything in business for me. Dita Von Teese said:

“You can be ripest, juiciest, peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

So, it DOES matter what other people think, but only the people who matter to you. They are the people who have earned the right to give you their opinion!

Hayley Gillard is a Leadership Coach who specialises in self-confidence. She works with professional women and female entrepreneurs both one to one and through online coaching programmes. She prides herself on being real, authentic and totally herself (warts and all) – the only path to self-confidence.

You can join her free, private, Facebook community Self-Belief School here.

Find out more at www.hayleygillard.com.


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