How to Stop Caring What People Think of You and Be Free to Be Yourself

Posted by Marcus Oakey

If you’re worried what people think of you, I want you to know…It’s alright to be weird…

…Or strange…

Or awkward… or creepy.

They’re just labels.

And the thing about labels is you don’t have to wear them. 

You can take them off.

And you can also write your own.

Labels get handed out to us by anybody who is watching, or taking an interest, in what we’re doing.

Sometimes our labellers are people we know and other times they are people we’ve never met.

Either way, getting a label is a part of life. 

AND it means you’re being judged. 

Whilst it’s satisfying to be judged with good labels…

…You actually get very little control over what type of label gets slapped on you.  

However, you do get to control how LONG you want to wear that label for.

You can choose to take it off any time.

Or not pick up in the first place.

And that’s important because sooner or later you’re going to be on the receiving end of a negative label.

After all, anyone is free to dish them out whenever they like.  

And how they judge you is going to be affected by what sort of mood they’re in…

…their history, personal beliefs and how much PAIN they’re already carrying around with them.

Which means it’s a great idea not to tie your sense of happiness and self worth to someone else’s negative attitude… 

…because judging allows them to you pull you into their pain.

It’s no surprise that some of the biggest fears we all have are:

  • Meeting new people
  • Talking to groups 
  • Mingling in busy rooms
  • Speaking in public
  • And doing anything remotely spontaneous 

Why?

Each of these situations puts you in a position where you can be judged…

…and labelled.

There is no escaping judgment.

All you can do is make peace with it.

Because even if you try and avoid it, 

you’ll be judged as the weird quiet person, who hides away.

The truth is:

You can’t make people instantly love you 100% of the time.

But.. with a little charm you can win most people round.

Provide you’re upbeat and happy to be your uniquely weird–self.

In order to be yourself you have to make peace with every label, judgement and slur that could be hurled in your direction.

Starting with the hard ones.

The labels that cause you to feel shame

…and the sting of humiliation that comes with it. 

Shame is triggered whenever somebody points out our apparently wrong or foolish, rule-breaking behaviour.

It’s a threat of further disgrace.

(But really, disgrace can only happen when you break the LAW…not the rules).

So doing something spontaneous only really triggers signals that society is unsure.

It happens when society doesn’t understand you in that moment

Because it doesn’t have any existing reference points to compare to.

In other words, you fall outside someones narrow view of the world.

Now the thing about spontaneity and taking risks in life is that you’re doing things that aren’t Normal.

You’re doing things that are creative and exciting and do stand out.

And when society sees things it can’t understand it just slaps a label on the experience to make sense of it.

Calling you names like weird, strange or any other judgement you can think of.

The discomfort of shame only lasts as long as we hold onto the label.

Don’t accept the label.

Put it down.

It’s alright to say:

“‘I’m sorry but you’re wrong”

“I disagree”

Even if you’re saying that just to yourself.

Now, if you have no choice, do the next best thing.

OWN the judgement.

Wear it like a badge.

“Yeah? Big deal! I’m weird. So what?”

Once you accept a label it has no power over you.

And you can move on with your life.

The next time you feel like you’re going to pick up a label you don’t want…

Take a second to remind yourself of the label you do want

And then pre-emptively award it to yourself for being You.

So if you’re about to take a risk and do something spontaneous

Make sure you label your actions –FIRST

…before anyone else can beat you to the punch.

Then you’ll become invincible.

Putdowns, insults and labels will bounce right off you.

Because doing is all the proof you need.

And when you’re free from the fear of social shame you’re free to just be…YOU.

Your whole life switches from trying to impress others to simply… 

…Expressing yourself.

Life becomes a celebration.

You can tell jokes without worrying whether anyone will laugh.

Connecting with people becomes easy.

And you’re suddenly free to walk up and start a conversation with anyone, anywhere.

But here’s a secret:

Our worst accusers, judges and labellers are….

OURSELVES

Self shaming is the end of level boss you must defeat.

I’m talking about the ‘Goro’. The ‘M. Bison’ and the ‘Bowser’ all rolled into one.

I’m talking about that little voice in you head that says things like:

“Stop embarrassing yourself”

“That was stupid”

“You’re not good enough”

And a thousand other remarks that own mind gives us when there’s no audience to do the job.

So….You need to control the voice in your head Because it’s holding you back.

Remind it to tell you good things about yourself.

Like:

“I can do this”

“I’m awesome”

And

“I love you”

Any time you feel you might call yourself a name

Remind yourself that you’re perfect just the way you are.

Hanging from a tree?

–I can do this!

Skating indoors?

–I’m awesome!

Staring at people through a window, awkwardly?

–I love you!

Because then…

You’re going to be a rebel.

And artist.

A poet.

A creative powerhouse.

And a force for good in the world.

You’re gong to slip though the net that keeps most people trapped and sad.

Scared to make a wrong move.

Instead, you’re going to be free just to be yourself.

Spontaneous at all times.

That’s a pretty big deal.

Because the world needs more awesome people…

Who can play by their own rules,

Live life on their own terms,

And be completely free of having any labels at all.

And those people are very special

Because they’re people just like You.