How much do you fret over what others think of you? Be honest, please. The proclivity to care what people think of you is human nature, sweet friends. But do others’ opinions affect your way of thinking about yourself? Do you go through a great deal in order to avoid disapproval? While we should not ignore or be completely indifferent to the impressions and presumptions of others, we ought not be excessively concerned either.

Believe it or not, many folks out there are not actually thinking about you at all. “They” notice and care a lot less than you think. You may become self-conscious for no reason whatsoever. Do not marinate in shame or embarrassment over mishaps or accidents.

How much mental energy do you spend worrying about what your neighbors are doing? Tormenting yourself over what others think of you makes you their prisoner. Please try to detach from those thoughts and ruminations. Take small steps toward your goals and learn to invest in yourself.

Comparing your life to hers will not make your life any better, will it? How much time do you spend yearning and pining for a different body, job, spouse, or life? Heck, my boss told me to start every presentation with a joke; the first slide was my paycheck. But truly, we tend to grow spiritually and emotionally when we feel accepted, not judged. Think of all those who may have assumptions about you: teachers, neighbors, bosses, friends, and even family. Do not form a view of yourself through their lens.

Please do not handcuff yourself to a life that lets others have power over you and your self-image. Take back the control and, trust me, you will feel empowered. Listen, as long as everything is exactly the way I want it, I’m totally flexible. Then again, picture working in a bubble-wrap factory. Imagine the self-control needed.  But seriously, you do not have to live up to others’ expectations much of the time. Incessantly doubting yourself is no way to live.

More often than not, people are not what you assume about them either. And no, jumping to conclusions is not actually exercise.  Others’ assessments of you cannot offer you the self-love you need. If your friends are challenging you to be a better person, go ahead and surround yourself with them. But recall that you are your most forceful weapon in this world.

Try to shift into neutral and keep his views of you in his own orbit and sphere. Envision a shield around yourself, and do not lose precious energy from people’s negativity. Do not allow others to constantly throw you off-center. What she says and does is a reflection of her, not of you.

Oh, and about all those “friends” who only live in your phone? Still jumping through hoops to get more “likes”? For mercy’s sake, pull the plug on trying to impress them. Stop texting first and see how many dead plants you’ve been watering. It’s been said: Most people want to see you do better.  But not better than them. Instead of counting your friends, make sure you can actually count on them.

Of course, you should decide whose opinion you actually value. Want advice? Take it from those who have already achieved what you can only hope to. Their wisdom can enrich and enhance your life. But do not lose yourself trying to please everyone else. Remind yourself that his opinion of you ain’t gonna pay your rent. Why let her hold the key to your happiness?

Let’s be honest. Being contrary or criticizing is a default position for some folks. Sometimes the more you get to know some people, the more you realize why Noah only let animals on the boat. Do not rely on them in order to feel confident about yourself. Build yourself up from the inside. Don’t forget that life, after all, is one long lesson. You may have too many flaws to be perfect, but I bet you have too many blessings to be ungrateful.

You alone get to choose what truly matters to you, sweet friends. Others’ opinions of you are their baggage.  So why do you insist on carrying it?

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at