When you’re a baby, all you care about is getting your belly full of delicious mother’s milk.
As a young kid, you want to toddle around, explore, play, and learn.
But as you get older, you start to form a theory of mind, meaning you start to understand that other people have wants and desires that may not match your own. And you learn to give in to them.
As a teenager, it becomes incredibly important to find your place in groups and society at large, and that generally means conforming to what others are doing and how they want you to be.
Then there are the pressures you feel from your family and other important people in your life to get an education, have a good career, start a family, and generally succeed.
Wouldn’t it be good at some point to finally live your own life and forget about all the pressure and expectations that are weighing you down?!
If you’re lucky, you’ve reached this point in life already.
Here are seven signs you’ve stopped caring what people think of your life decisions.
1) You’ve got your own style.
This sign that you’ve really freed yourself from other people’s expectations that’s most obvious is that you’ve got your own style, your own way of dressing and doing yourself up.
That’s because it’s the one everyone can see from the outside.
What does this mean exactly?
It means your appearance isn’t dictated by trends or the expectations of others. You don’t feel the need to style yourself after what’s hot and what’s in season right now.
That’s not to say that you’re not looking good or you’ve “let yourself go”.
In fact, it could be the total opposite. There are so many fashion trends that roll along that don’t look good on a lot of people with different body types.
When you’re a slave to fashion, and you feel you have to dress in a certain way to fit in with groups or to just be considered “with it,” you often end up trying to force yourself into something unflattering because that’s what’s hot at the moment.
But when you break free of this thinking, you can find incredible freedom to express your own style.
You can choose clothes and hairstyles that make you look fierce and fine on your own terms.
2) You’re confident in expressing your opinion.
If you care a lot about what other people think about what you think, say, and do, then you’re going to be constantly censoring yourself.
Despite what you really feel inside, you’ll either just stay quiet or even go along with the group and agree with things you don’t actually believe in.
Trust me when I say that this is really damaging behavior.
For starters, you’ll quickly end up lacking a good grounding in the skill of expressing an opinion. This is something that we generally have to learn to do because most of us aren’t experts at getting the feelings we have inside out into words that other people can understand clearly.
Practice makes perfect, and if you don’t practice, then perfection will be a long way off.
But even worse, not expressing your opinion is highly damaging to your self-confidence.
If you continually tell yourself, “You can’t say that,” or “Keep it to yourself,” you’re unconsciously reinforcing a belief that your opinions aren’t valid or good enough.
This is something I hope you’ve stopped doing.
If you have, it’s a great sign that you value yourself more than you care about what others think about you.
3) You’ve stopped comparing yourself constantly to others.
My sister is a really great mom.
She has two young girls, and she takes great pains to treat them totally fairly.
I think this is a holdover from when we were kids and we were constantly compared to one another.
The funny thing is that we alternated over the years. Sometimes, I was asked why I wasn’t being good like my sister. Sometimes, she was asked why she didn’t have her act together like her brother.
Though it wasn’t my experience, I’m sure that only children aren’t safe from these comparisons either. They still have cousins and friends or even neighbors to be contrasted with.
These comparisons may never end, but we also add to them by internalizing the whole idea and comparing ourselves to other people too.
We can look at classmates or other peers and wonder why they seem happier or more successful. But this is a very negative habit to get into.
Breaking free of it shows that you really have moved on to a new level. It means that you feel like you’re enough, and you accept both your limitations and your talents.
4) You’re surrounded by real friends.
Especially in your teen years, it’s normal to try to define yourself by the groups that you fit into.
But this can run two different ways.
You might fit into a group naturally based on who you really are. Or you might try to change yourself or at least portray yourself in a certain way so that you’ll be accepted into a group.
In high school, this might be the tech nerds or the jocks, or the cool kids.
Many people never seem to grow out of this behavior.
They put on airs, pretend to be more successful than they really are, and even really over-extend themselves in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses, the Kardashians, or whoever.
It’s pretty hard to break out of this destructive pattern.
But if you can stop caring what people think of your choices and your social status, you’ll be able to find a whole new freedom and sense of happiness. You’ll also be left with true friends who really care about you.
5) You’re not always seeking external validation.
“What do think about this?”
“How do I look?”
“Is that the right choice?”
Think about it. If you constantly hear yourself saying things like this, you’re seeking validation from others, and you might be doing it a whole lot more than you should.
This shows that you don’t have much confidence in your ability to make good choices.
So when you can put an end to this behavior, it’s a sign that you’ve started to be more confident in yourself.
You’re able to validate yourself and have faith that the choices you’re making are the right ones for you.
6) You’re happy to be your own person.
It’s a clear sign you’ve stopped caring what people think of your life decisions when you’re happy to be your own person.
By this, I mean that you can express your individuality instead of trying to hide or suppress it.
There’s an old saying that “the nail that sticks out the farthest gets hammered back in the hardest”.
While that might smack of totalitarianism, I think it’s true for most societies around the world. In general, people want to fit into groups rather than stand out.
But if you’re being true to yourself, you have to accept that you may just stand out sometimes. You might have an opinion that goes against the majority or an emotional reaction that’s yours alone.
If you can confidently express yourself even if you know you’ll be seen as different and even weird, it shows you’ve stopped caring about what everyone thinks.
7) You’re not afraid to make mistakes.
In the past, you may have avoided taking risks or stepping out of your comfort zone because you were worried about failure.
Specifically, you probably worried about how failing would make you look or what it would do to your reputation.
Look, no one actually wants to fail. But the reality is that it’s bound to happen sometimes, whether you want it to or not.
We’re only human, right?
So if you can’t avoid failure, you can at least reframe it. Rather than looking at each failure as an indication that you’re no good or that you’ve really let people down, you can look at failures as learning experiences.
This is what children do. They try things and fail, but they try and try again, letting what went wrong last time inform the next time. Eventually, they get it right.
So if you’re no longer afraid of failure but instead you embrace it, you’re past worrying about what others think.
Other people might criticize the decisions you’ve made, like the education you got or didn’t get, the career path you’ve taken, and even your relationships.
But these seven signs you’ve stopped caring what people think of your life decisions show that you’ve moved on.
You clearly value yourself more – your happiness, confidence, and mental health – than you once did. It’s incredible to know that you no longer feel the need to live up to the weighty expectations that other people have for you.
So be proud and enjoy your newfound freedom because you truly deserve it!
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.