I remember a time where I used to be trapped by people’s opinions. All it would take is one nasty comment on social media or one piece of negative feedback and it was game over.
Somehow, over the last few years, that problem has disappeared. I frankly don’t care about opinions and live mostly in ignorant bliss a lot of the time, so that I won’t be weighed down again by trying to meet other people’s impossible standards. People are probably judging me but there’s nothing I can do about it. So why spend time thinking about it?
Once you stop worrying about people’s opinions, you experience what I call life without borders. Your inner world is infinite rather than being divided up into countries that have borders you can’t cross.
Here’s how I stopped giving a damn about opinions. I hope it helps you experience what your mind can be like when it’s limitless.
Stop Giving a F*ck
In the context of everything, whatever the opinion or problem is, it doesn’t matter. If you were dying tomorrow, would it matter? Of course not.
There are way more important things to worry about than opinions you can’t use Jedi mind tricks to control. You’re doing the best you can. F*ck the naysayers, and people who are hating life, and do you any which way you want. I wish someone told me years ago that the BS I worry about is so pathetic and life-limiting.
Don’t Read the Comments Section
The second step is this: don’t read the comments on your work. Or if you’re a Picasso wannabe, not like me, don’t listen to the critics in the front row at the art gallery.
I used to worry about the comments section of my blog posts. Reading the comments would often make me vomit. People can be cruel and sometimes they forget to filter what they say. If you’re having a bad day, guess what? The comments section will probably make you feel worse.
You don’t have to read the opinions. You can ignore the feedback. You can even set your own standards for the feedback you pay attention to.
For example, if other writers want to give me negative feedback on my writing, I’ll most likely ignore it if I check their own blog and find they’ve only ever written 4.35 blog posts and spent the rest of their life being a professional critic to anybody that shows up on the internet with something to say or a story to share.
You’ve got to have been in the battle arena for long enough for me to really pay attention to your feedback. I know that might sound cocky, but seriously, there are one too many professional critics who pretend to know so much when they’ve really never even done the thing they’re critiquing.
Give your attention to the opinions that matter or ignore them all if you like. It’s your life amigo. You get to act out every scene in the play.
Take Everything With a Pinch of Salt
Outrage is the voice of the internet.
I watched a video of Billie Eilish making a funny face at an award ceremony. People were outraged.
The opposite way to live your life is to take everything lightly. Don’t be so easily thrown off your game. Perspective is a great teacher and an awesome way to calm down your emotions.
A lot of what we read is designed to make us react. What if most of what you read contained huge amounts of fiction? Would you still react the same way?
Having to react and maintain a reputation is bloody hard work that sucks away the precious energy you could use to be creative and put work out into the world that makes a difference.
The pinch-of-salt-approach-to-life is one where you take all the noise lightly and focus on your game.
Practice, focus, worry about yourself, be patient, control your mind.
“They probably won’t see it”
It can be hard being a content creator.
One thought has set me free and allowed me to publish more than 2000+ long-form blog posts on the internet since 2014 is this:
Most of what you say will never be seen by the people whose opinions worry you.
Your parents are probably not going to read it; your dictator boss is probably too busy firing someone to notice; that old dude in the office who never has anything nice to say probably won’t see the video you made about him — and if he does it might just change his life or make him question everything (a blessing disguised in a yellow raincoat).
Whoever you think is judging you is probably worried about their own problems.
You’re Not That Important
I tell myself that every time thoughts of being as good as Keanu Reeves come to mind. Here is one of my repetitive thoughts as an example:
“I’m not that important; it’s not like I’m Keanu in one of his popular humble moments that changes the internet forever.”
Learning to get over yourself can be incredibly helpful. Love yourself, but don’t be obsessed with yourself and your own existence.
If you’re giving a damn about every little thing, it might just be because you accidentally think you’re really important and special. You’re not, and that thought will set you free and allow you to overcome opinions.
You’re Doing the Best You Bloody Well Can
I know opinions might feel like a dagger to the heart, but the truth is you’re doing the bloody best you can! You’re trying. You’re showing up. You’re learning as much as you can. Worry about your effort, not about the opinions.
There are days where my writing reads like a sh*t sandwich at 3 am on a Wednesday night. But I’m trying. JK Rowling didn’t give me the Oprah blessing at one of her book signings. I wasn’t born to do this; you might not have been either. So what?
Keep going. Screw all the opinions. If you’re doing your best and people are still hurling opinions at you over the fence and down the path that leads directly to your ego, it’s okay. Let them throw obscure objects at you. Just don’t be wounded by those objects and let them knock the life out of you.
The feeling of not giving a damn gives your life limitless opportunity. I’ve had to learn along the way that what I do may stop me from getting certain jobs, cause people I admire to hate me, create false first impressions, and harm a few fragile minds along the way.
It’s better to put your work out into the world than spend your entire life wondering how you’ll be perceived. Perceptions change as your work does.
Get better and you’ll find the critic’s opinions turn into comments of praise and appreciation.
If I didn’t stop giving a damn about opinions, I’d never have found my life’s work that is writing. You deserve to do the work you love doing and not have opinions hold you back any longer.
This article first appeared on Medium.