Know the difference.
It seems to be a popular attitude to have these days to "not care what people think" about you. Sure, it's freeing, but I've seen people go about this the wrong way countless times.
Does it really matter what people think? Of course it does.
It matters what your friends think of you. They're your friends because they like you (hopefully). If they thought negatively of you, you'd lose them.
It matters what your significant other thinks of you. How they see you is the whole reason they're with you.
It matters what your co-workers think of you. Do you hold a position that requires teamwork? A position where someone has the authority to replace you if they wish? A position that requires you to obtain, or keep, clients?
It matters what your boss or clients think of you. If you're employed and your boss doesn't trust you or think you're cut from a good moral cloth, your employment will be short-lived. If you're self-employed and your business requires others to patronize it (what business doesn't?), and you don't have a good reputation, you cannot expect to last very long.
If you injected an "I don't care what you think" attitude into any of the above situations, my guess is your thoughts would change very quickly. On the other hand, it doesn't matter what people think, either.
It doesn't matter if someone thinks you can't accomplish something.
It doesn't matter if someone thinks you shouldn't pursue your dreams.
It doesn't matter if someone thinks your rights should be oppressed because of what they believe.
It doesn't matter if someone thinks you're not good enough.
It doesn't matter if someone thinks that girl or guy is out of your league.
And it doesn't matter if some random stranger on the internet makes you feel bad about yourself (I'm looking at you, trolls who comment on my articles).
Holding a generally apathetic attitude needs to be focused in the right direction. First, it can drive people away from you more than bring them closer. Secondly, it makes people around you feel unwanted and unimportant.
You're just focusing on yourself and don't care what anyone thinks or how they feel.
When it comes to those important in your life, if you don't care what they think of your personality and act accordingly, you could lose a friend, a loved one, or an income.
However, when it comes to your abilities, your goals, your dreams, or your passions, never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. If you have anyone around you that makes you feel like you can't have anything you want, you need to cut them out of your life.
Ultimately, we must care for others. But in the end, we must also live for ourselves.
James Michael Sama is an award-winning Boston based blogger on the topics of dating and relationships, having amassed over 30 million readers in just a year and a half. He writes and speaks on the topics of chivalry, romance, and happiness throughout the country and has been featured repeatedly in news segments, talk shows, and mainstream radio.
This article was originally published at jamesmsama.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.