7 reasons why we care about others’ opinions
Sometimes our thoughts and actions are means to evoke a response rather than an expression of self-value. This is because people tend to care a lot about what others think. To the extent that it affects their mental and physical health. These are 7 reasons why we care about others’ opinions.
The formation of identity
In the 1976 volume The Identities of Persons, philosopher Amelie Rorty writes:
”Humans are just the sort of organisms that interpret and modify their agency through their conception of themselves. ”
This conception of ourselves starts with the formation of our identity. A never-ending process that can last a lifetime.
When you have an accurate idea of your identity this can increase your self-esteem. Therefore, reduce the chances of depression and anxiety. However, there are still many reasons why we care about others’ opinions.
In general, when people do what they think they should be doing, they feel happy.
It’s only when you just turning to immediate audiences to help you decide what to do or define who you are that can be dangerous. This can create feelings of self-doubt, self-consciousness, and other negative thoughts.
1.Looking for validation
The need for approval has been conditioned in us from the day we were born. It is the need to be evaluated positively and considered good and worthwhile.
Social approval of others gives us a sense of higher self-esteem. It’s their acceptance that matters to our self-worth and value.
A great example of that need for validation is wearing designer brands, living in a particular neighborhood, or driving a certain car.
This dependence on what others think can dictate many aspects of your life. For example, the holidays you go to or the clubs you belong to. It’s the need to prove a point and appear in a certain way. An attempt to impress others in order to win their approval.
2.Fear of rejection
You might not be looking for other peoples’ approval but you are definitely not looking for their disapproval either.
The fact that we might not be accepted by society can be scary. This is why we tend to start living according to others’ expectations and norms.
It’s that fear of being rejected by others. Especially when that rejection comes from a group you identify with. That group can be any category you consider yourself part of. From an ethnic group to a football team.
How many times did you share an idea with others and the moment they rejected it you gave up on it?
This is when you place a higher value on other people’s opinions. Their opinion means more to you than your own idea.
3.Being judges in the lives of others
We ourselves try to be judges in the lives of others. This is a very common human trait. Everyone has set a notion of ideas and rules for themselves. A personal point of view deriving from their own subjective experiences and social environment. We tend to judge others that do not live according to the same notion of ideas and rules.
Everything that is not acceptable by our own standards is framed as a negative.
Since we have been accustomed to having an opinion on others, we assume that others might be doing the same to us.
While time spent in reflection can be great for personal growth and self-awareness, it is important to be mindful. So it doesn’t turn into a ”critical inner voice” that leads to a vicious cycle of destructive rumination.
Rumination can make us feel self-critical, self-doubting, and constantly worried.
”This critical inner voice” can undermine our goals and feed us endless criticism. This is when we find ourselves over-analyzing a response or trying to decode the meaning behind an emoji.
Remember that it is impossible to understand what other people think. Their thoughts are based on their subjective experiences and judgment. Positive criticism is drawn from our positive experiences and the negative from our negative experiences.
The ”truth” is not only black and white but a thousand more colours.
5.The need to please others
The need to please is more of a need to belong. Part of this is the reason we wear different masks for different social occasions. Just as we manufacture an image on our social media, we tend to do the same in the real world.
It’s the need to be liked that allows others to have power over how we feel about ourselves. This becomes problematic when our self-worth is contingent upon whether we win someone’s approval or not.
When we are children we are totally dependent on our parents. This is where we learn who we are and what is expected of us based on interactions with others. This is when we first develop the need to please others.
Part of knowing ourselves though is acknowledging our limitations and vulnerabilities. Understanding that our values can not line up with other peoples all the time and that is okay. Tolerating being dismissed or criticized is a sign of maturity. Just part of the process of being.
6.Co-dependency and addiction
Co-dependency is one of the reasons we care about others’ opinions. Co-dependent used to be a term used to describe partners in drug or alcohol dependency. A person living with, or in a relationship with an addicted person.
This type of co-dependent behavior is usually learned by following other family members’ example.
Co-dependents usually have low self-esteem and look outside of themselves for approval and acceptance.
Essential aspects of developing an authentic identity are self-care and self-love. Putting yourself first. Not as a selfish choice rather a necessity.
You must save yourself first before you try to save others.
7. Looking out rather within
When the inside is self-evident we no longer need to look outside for validation. This is one of the most apparent reasons we care about others’ opinions.
Self-approval comes out of self-acceptance. When you accept who you are and approve of it you no longer feel the need to seek validation from others.
Let’s assume there is an inside and outside. The inside is our subjective experience of ourselves, while the outside is a product of our worldview. We are in charge of this dynamic. Balancing self and other perception.
When we seek approval from others this balance shifts towards the external. Causing us to lose sight of the self – inside. Our sense of self stays focused on the external and confused. Our behavior is a means to prove something to others rather than our authentic self.
For suggestions, corrections, or any other inquiries please fill in this contact form or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org