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Obsession With Other People's Opinions

Opening a can of worms here, but I believe this discussion is necessary. I am wondering what other people's thoughts are regarding our current obsession with worrying what others think of us. It seems that in our modern society, we are caught up in worrying about what other people think of us. Why? I believe this is one of the greatest reasons for all of the psychological and mental health issues of today. Why must we constantly be "validated" by others to feel good about ourselves? I understand support and encouragement and realize it is both good and necessary for everyone. However, when all is said and done, I could really care less what people think of me. If you like me for who and what I am, great. If not, go soak your empty head in a toilet for all I care. Fat, skinny, obese, thin, tall, short - who cares and why should I care what others think of me? I joined MFP to lose weight and get healthy because I was tired of me not because someone else's opinion of me mattered. Am I alone here?
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Replies

  • Hiawassee88
    Hiawassee88 Posts: 24,779 Member
    @ninerbuff
    If someone has been a people pleaser all their life, it's difficult to set and hold boundaries. When you start standing up for yourself, it may give others a big pinch. You have to stay in your integrity and hold fast. Their reactions are not our problems. When you release yourself from their expectations, you're really free to be yourself.

    How others experience us takes up way too much head space. There has always been a pecking order in the chicken yard. That's never going to change. Cliques and cool kids. I'm glad I didn't have to grow up with any of that. It was a level playing field for everyone.

    Eagles throw all of the toys out of the nest when it's time for the kids to fly. You've nailed it down in terms of priority. We all have to find our balance in this world.
  • Tiernan1212
    Tiernan1212 Posts: 797 Member
    edited August 2022
    There's a balance between not caring at all and obsessing about other opinions. The ideal IMO is somewhere in the middle.
    I believe this is one of the greatest reasons for all of the psychological and mental health issues of today. Why must we constantly be "validated" by others to feel good about ourselves?

    The way I'm reading the above part of your post is that you are saying peoples opinions of us are the main reason for all of the psychological and mental health issues of today, is that correct? I completely disagree. Yes, they can be part of the reason for depression, anxiety, or any eating disorder. However, you cannot completely discount chemical reactions in the brain and hereditary genes that cause mental health issues. It's careless to chalk up all mental health issues to being caused simply by our reactions to what people think of us.

    *edited for formatting*
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 9,354 Member
    @johnlauramoore1

    Depending what time frame you're calling "modern" with respect to a "current obsession." I don't think it's new at all. @AnnPT77 mentioned "Keeping Up With the Joneses." That idea has been around a long time. Over a century. Possibly millennia if you consider the idea of Keeping Up With the Joneses is what a certain document was speaking to when at advised people not to covet their neighbor's house.

    It's a human condition to compare ourselves to others. As the divide between wealth and impoverishment has increased, financial comparisons happen all the time. I think it's one reason people spend in a way I think is foolish and buying things on credit that they can't really afford. I find it very similar to people comparing their abs to an unrealistic model for most humans.

    Maybe it's not always a bad thing. When there's a link between obesity and health risks, perhaps comparing oneself to those metrics can help us improve our lot in life irrespective of money. When people abide some cultural norms, like not wearing plaid pants with a striped shirt, it makes life a little better. I know a couple folks who wear mismatched socks on purpose. Just because it isn't a norm. Hurts nobody. I have a friend who accidentally wore mismatched SHOES to work one day. He was very embarrassed.

  • Gary_Drainville
    Gary_Drainville Posts: 9 Member
    Unfortunately we live in a world that revolves around conformity, we are fed what we should and shouldn't look like, how we should think, and how we should conduct ourselves. Falling outside the template that's been set out for us can have massive consequences on our mental health. I would argue that the many, not all, of the struggles with anxiety, self-harm, depression, and suicidal ideation is a result of societal conditions placed on us. This is especially true for our youth.
  • Gary_Drainville
    Gary_Drainville Posts: 9 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    Personally I don't give a crap about what others bad opinion of me is. I'm an optimist and always look to the positive aspect of things. If people don't like how I dress, how I look, my personality, etc., then it's THEIR PROBLEM. It's why I have very little stress in my life. I know where I stand with myself and the only critic I worry about is the one staring me back in the mirror.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

    If only more of us thought this way, what a world it would be!
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,968 Member
    I think we've always cared what other people think of us, for survival reasons. We're a social species, our niche is in groups of other people.

    Why does it seem like we need more validation these days? My hunch is it's a perfect storm of several things. It's easier to look for now, you can talk to thousands of people online in a single day. It's more visible when people are doing this. And people on average are more socially isolated now. We invented all this great technology that lets us withdraw. WFH is a thing. And a lot of other reasons.
  • Courtscan2
    Courtscan2 Posts: 496 Member
    I very much believe that other people's opinions of me are none of my business. I have two very young girls, 14 and 11, who are right at the age where they obsess over what their peers think of them, and I discuss this with them often. Live your life from your own perspective. Honestly, that gives me enough to worry about without worrying about everyone else's too.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,295 Member
    I don't think this is anything new. There has always been cliques and clubs and "high society", etc. and people who aspire to those things.

    In general, if no body actually cared about what others thought, there would be no social norms and people would just do whatever the hell they want.
  • neanderthin
    neanderthin Posts: 8,495 Member
    I think it's primal and tribal in the sense that no one wants to be left behind to fend for themselves, you know so we don't perish in the wilderness or get eaten by a predictor, it's part of who we are. When we're accepted into the clan we are protected by the clan.

    Modern times have moved the goal posts (social media and it's anonymity) but it's still very much instilled into our DNA. I believe the more life experience and knowledge one accumulates in a responsible manner the less likely we will be required to adhere to the social status quo. imo.
  • Hiawassee88
    Hiawassee88 Posts: 24,779 Member
    edited August 2022
    I don't want to be eaten by a predictor. In the wild, wild west, you'd better know how to take care of yourself under all circumstances. Our apex predators don't discriminate and we don't depend on clans for protection. At a young age, you learn how to stand on your own two feet. Come hell or high water, but my purpose here isn't to brag about my many virtues. 😁 Some clans can lead you over the cliff. No training. No resources and no support. We don't graze with the sheep, travel with the pack or run with the herd. That was also my first driving lesson. Get yourselves out from amongst them as soon as you can. You'll be safer on the roads and open highways, you don't want to be caught in a pile-up.

    Side note: Hunkpapa Sioux. Hunkpapa = at the entrance, at the head end of the circle, those who camp by themselves, and wanderers. A division of the Teton Sioux. Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Sioux.
    Moi.

    @johnlauramoore1 Hope you're still here. 😎
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 26,967 Member
    Cranky li'l ol' lady/

    Another thing that doesn't change over centuries: There are always people who think the world is heading toward ruin through bad attitudes of these contemporary folks, and that that wouldn't happen if the rest of the population were as enlightened and right-thinking/right-living as the curmudg . . . oops, person with the opinion.

    A more snarky formulation: Fussing over how other people look at the world is just another form of worry about what other people think. I think. 😉

    /cranky
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,647 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Cranky li'l ol' lady/

    Another thing that doesn't change over centuries: There are always people who think the world is heading toward ruin through bad attitudes of these contemporary folks, and that that wouldn't happen if the rest of the population were as enlightened and right-thinking/right-living as the curmudg . . . oops, person with the opinion.

    A more snarky formulation: Fussing over how other people look at the world is just another form of worry about what other people think. I think. 😉

    /cranky

    🤯