How to Stop Caring What Others Think – and Begin Doing What You Want

We live in this hyper-connected and instant gratification-driven world where it can be pretty easy to cave into the pressure to be everything to just about everyone. If we’re not doing, being, seeing, being seen, creating, thriving, or living our best life at every single moment, we start to wonder when we became so dull. The pull to fill up our calendar with a week full of happy hours, travel you can’t afford, yet another workout class, and that third date that you really don’t want to go on becomes almost irresistible.

Yeah, do more. That’ll make you feel better.

Before you start rearranging your schedule to include even more commitments, let’s talk about the other ways you can feel like your best self without all the burnout that comes with being too busy.

The Art of Not Giving a Damn

Learning how not to give a damn is not always easy, especially if you’re a recovering people-pleaser like myself. It’s possible your mind is continuously wracked with the thoughts of what you should be doing, and you begin to feel insanely guilty and anxiety-ridden if you don’t actually accomplish those tasks. Or maybe you feel like you’re totally antisocial if you choose to stay home on a Friday night instead of going out and spending money you don’t really want to spend on dinner and drinks. Or it’s possible you hold everyone else’s responsibility on your shoulders and feel like it’s your job to fix each and every challenging situation someone else is navigating. Spoiler alert: it’s not.

I promise you, if you’ve ever felt this way, there’s another way to live. When appropriately used and practiced with respect, not giving a damn can produce some significant life changes. Check out just a few of the shifts you can expect to see:

  • More time for what you love
  • Less unnecessary drama
  • More money in your bank account
  • Decreased anxious feelings
  • More comfortable to show up 100 percent when you really want to

Sounds great, right?

How to Stop Giving a Damn

Honestly, learning how not to give a damn is indeed an art. A delicate balance between showing up for others but by showing up for yourself first. Understanding what your priorities are in life and not feeling sorry about honoring them, even if someone might get upset with you. Like anything that changes your life, it doesn’t necessarily come easy at first. It takes work, dedication, uncomfortable conversations, and a lot of reflection.

If you’d like to quit giving a damn and stop being the person who always gets asked to do favors or who is expected to bend over backward to make other people happy, you’re in the right place. Here are some of the tips I used to stop giving a damn about everything and everyone. Now, my damn is solely reserved for those who really, really deserve it.

#1 Understand What It Is That You Really Want

Getting in touch with who you are and what you want is an essential part of this process because without knowing what it is you value, how can you learn what to let go of? To help figure this out, I encourage you to answer the following questions:

  1. When do you feel happiest?
  2. Think about a time you’ve felt delighted. What did you value most at that moment?
  3. What’s something you wish you had more time for?

Hopefully, these answers will help you to uncover what it is you’d like to prioritize in your life. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers, just what works for you and what you want to make more of a priority.

#2 Say No Unapologetically

Learning to love this little two-letter word is your ticket to not giving a damn. Here are some important points to remember when declining invitations or requests from others:

  • Saying No does not make you a rude or mean person (unless you’re an asshole about it).
  • Keep your explanation for declining short and to the point, you don’t need a paragraph-length excuse to express why you don’t want to do something.
  • Have a few one-liners rehearsed so turning down an invitation doesn’t feel as awkward or uncomfortable. We’re all adults here; we can handle hearing “no” every now and then.

Over time, you’ll see that saying No becomes easier. With all of this new time on your hands, you’ll be able to fill up your calendar with things that truly matter to you. You know, those things you value? The people you want to pour more into. The events that you want to show up to as your best self — less stressed and more present.

#3 Remember That You Don’t Have the Responsibility to Make Everyone Feel Better

Sounds harsh, I know.

As a recovering people-pleaser, this idea was a massive revelation for me. Learning that I genuinely didn’t have the power to make everyone happy all the time was such a relief.

Are you someone that jumps to help others without them asking for your support every time you see them fail? Maybe you’re always telling others how to do things because you feel like you know best? or perhaps you think it’s your responsibility to make everything better because you hold everyone’s emotions on your shoulders? Maybe it’s time for you to reconsider just how much you’re unknowingly pouring into others — and begin to question why you do this in the first place.

It’s also time to drop the belief that you have the power to fix everything and everyone because honestly, you don’t. No one does, and it’s unrealistic to continue to let this belief fuel your every decision. Learning to not give a damn requires you to shift this perspective from “I have to do everything for everyone” to “I support others more effectively when I let them learn on their own, and they ask for my help as needed.” This doesn’t mean you stop caring entirely, but that you are giving yourself the control to choose where you want to spend your energy—which we sometimes forget, is completely up to us on how we want to spend it and not based on what others ask or how they feel.

As you might have already figured out, this practice unlocks a lot of potential opportunities, but it also requires you to stop giving a damn about what other people think of you. If you continue to be a good person, pour into to those who deserve your love, and make time for what lights you up, it’s important to let go of what everyone else thinks or feels about you.

Honestly, it’s none of your business anyway.