To live your best life, you have to be true to yourself. All too often, we fall into the trap of living the life someone else wanted for us, even though it’s not what we would have chosen. Whether it be our parents, peer group, or society as a whole, there’s always someone watching and trying to bend your behavior to fit a specific mold.
Some have pushed past that and discovered the secret to living authentically on their own terms. While scrolling through my favorite sub on Reddit, R/askreddit, I found a wonderful question asking these folks to share their secrets. How can you be yourself 100% without worrying about what others think?
The answers range from experience to mindset shifts but can help you uncover the courage to live authentically.
Sometimes wisdom comes with age. Young folks often worry far more about what others think, while older people stop caring and do what they want.
“It’s taken 4 decades, but it’s good to finally be here,” answered one user. “I’ve reached this point in my 30s, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” replied another.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t help young folks who feel pressured to follow the life script, but it’s good to know that self-doubt melts away with age.
Understanding the Root of the Problem
One user laid out a harsh truth in stating that others’ opinions don’t truly matter, it’s only how we feel about them that matters.
“If someone has an opinion of you, but you don’t know about it, it has zero effect on you, right? If it’s positive, it doesn’t make you feel good, if it’s negative, it doesn’t make you feel bad. It’s only when you become aware of that opinion that suddenly you have an issue,” they explained.
“So then,” they added, “it’s actually YOUR feelings about how people feel about you that you struggle with, not actually how other people feel about you.”
The Desire for People to Like the Real You
Would your friends still be your friends if they knew the real you? Isn’t it exhausting to put on a show for them all the time?
One Redditor said they’d rather be like them for them than for something they pretend to be. “I would rather be myself and know that everyone who likes me actually likes me, not some fake image that I have to keep up forever,” they replied.
The user went on to say, “I lack the ability to live a lie. It takes less work for me to just be disliked by people that I have nothing in common with than to change myself to be more likable.”
Overall, being yourself is easier than creating a fake persona.
Realizing People Don’t Think About Us
“You’re only the star in your own story,” said one user. “No one else is thinking about and judging you as much as YOU are thinking about and judging you.”
Another said that realizing people aren’t thinking about us makes it easier to be true to ourselves. “It’s actually easy once we accept how little other people think of us at all—they’re too focused on their own insecurities to obsess about ours,” they said.
Not Your Business
“What other people think of me is none of my business,” responded one user, quoting something they’ve seen floating around the internet.
Others said the platitude sounds good in theory, but it’s difficult not to internalize other people’s judgments.
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Wanting to Attract the Right People
“If you are not sincere, other people who are not sincere will gravitate toward you,” stated one user, adding that it’s easy to find people who will reward you for the front you put on.
They explained that if you want to surround yourself with genuine people, you must be willing to put in the effort. “It takes effort to get deep into your personal truth. I think most folks prefer plodding along without putting that much effort in.”
In closing, the user described their love for themselves, implying that genuine connections based on the real you are far better than surface-level connections based on falsehoods.
Consider What Others Are Really Thinking
We often obsess about our biggest insecurities, so we assume that others do as well. Sometimes it takes a mindset shift to consider what other people think logically.
One user said they were insecure about their weight, thinking everyone they met would judge them for it. But then they took a second to think about how they react to other people. They realized they don’t judge others for the first noticeable things they saw, so why would people judge them?
“Yes, the first thing people saw about me was that I was overweight,” they said, adding, “but from my own experience if I saw someone that had something noticeable about them, for example, a mole on their face, I’d go from noticing it to not caring about that mole.” The user shifted their mindset to assume everyone did the same rather than believing everyone obsessed about the noticeable feature.
The Real Me is Better
Why be fake when the real you is so much better? Although showing your true self can be scary, many people will appreciate it and like you even more for it.
“I realized more people actually liked real me better than fake me; and that they preferred me communicating in a way that was direct and honest (but, of course, still tactful and empathic) rather than trying mind games to attempt to figure out what they wanted to hear,” replied one user.
Quitting Social Media
Although social media is excellent for keeping us connected, it can negatively affect our mental health and wellness. The warped images and highlight reals make us feel like we’re being judged for not keeping up.
“I would get so concerned with how people saw me online that it trickled down to reality,” admitted one Redditor. They added that trying to keep up appearances made them lose themselves. “How I dressed, what I did, etc. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Maybe I never knew. I’m 25F and was on socials since I was a kid.”
On a happy note, the user said they’d deleted nearly all their social media accounts, and their answer implied it made them feel much better about who they really are.
People Gonna Judge
No matter what you do, people are going to judge you. Wouldn’t you rather live life on your own terms than follow the crowd if you’re going to be judged regardless?
“People are going to judge you, make fun of you, dislike you. It doesn’t matter. It’s going to happen anyway,” responded one user. “But you should at least be the person YOU are happy with,” they added.
Being True To Yourself is Key to Living a Great Life
One of the main goals of Partners in Fire is to help people live extraordinary lives of their own design. A considerable limitation of that is the fear of what others think. Hopefully, you can take some of the advice offered by Reddit users to heart and start doing what makes you happy.
It’s time to stop caring what others think and build the life of your dreams!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.