Societal Acceptance: How Caring What Others Think Can Affect Your Mental Health
He’s looking at me funny. I am pretty sure he thinks I am weird.
Why is that girl whispering? I know she’s talking about me.
Do such thoughts cross your mind when you are at a party? This need to feel accepted is a human desire that nearly the entire world has. We have learned to survive in groups, and we measure our success through our peers’ respect and trust; this is something embedded in our DNA.
One would assume that caring what others think is not a big deal but sometimes when this obsession takes center stage, it becomes impossible for you to make rational decisions. If you think about it, it’s no different than doing something under peer pressure.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop caring what everyone thinks. Confused? Let us make things a bit clearer ― you should care about what your loved ones think about you. You would think twice about doing something if your parents are not happy with your decision, right? But that’s because you care about THEM. Don’t let strangers take your control away from you when they don’t matter to you.
Here’s how what others think affects your mental health:
You Change Your Beliefs
Our beliefs are the foundation of who we are. Changing them can make you question many things, which will shake things out of perspective. It will make you feel as if your life is spiraling out of control and you will lose your confidence-building skills.
You Lose Motivation
Even a passing comment can leave a lasting impression. When someone comes up to you and tells you, “You are beautiful,” your face breaks into a huge smile. If the scenario is changed and you are walking down the street and someone calls you fat or some other derogatory term, you carry it with you till you reach home. All the personal progress you might have been making to build your self-esteem goes down the drain in a matter of seconds and soon depression takes hold throwing you into a black pit of self-loathing.
You Become Extremely Sensitive
If you overanalyze everything anyone says then you are putting yourself in a precarious position. You will forever be stuck in the loop of “why did he say this?” or “what did he mean by it?” Your relationship-building skills will come out in full force because you will develop this need to please everyone.
You Ask People About Yourself
“Do you think I am really making the right choice?”
“She just said that I lacked a few brain cells. Am I really dumb?”
Putting yourself in a spot like this will bring you nothing but grief. This will impact your mental health the most because you will start to crave criticism and even when someone will compliment you, you will doubt the sincerity behind it.
There’s no single way to stop caring what others think. No two people are the same and you will have to find out yourself what shield works best for you. A great way to start is by desensitizing yourself. What’s the worst that could happen? They will hate you or stop talking to you. Your comeback ― a shoulder shrug and “who cares.”