How to care for others, without caring too much about what they think about you.

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I love people. Going to parties, having 1:1 coffee dates and spending time in the company of people I cherish are things that I will always hold close to my heart. The only issue with genuinely and wholeheartedly caring about people is that you can’t help but also caring about what they think of you. It’s built into our DNA to seek love, approval and acceptance from the people around us, but this can become problematic when it causes us to slip into the “people-pleaser” mode. It’s a behaviour that can push us into living the lives that others want for us, rather than the lives that we truly want – – and it has probably been one of the biggest obstacles I have faced throughout my lifetime.

If you feel like other people’s expectations of you are subsequently resulting in you struggling to refine your goals so that they align with your own interests, rather than the interests of others, here’s a slice of advice from someone that knows how you feel.

Delete your social media apps and discipline yourself to keep them deleted for a while.

In spite of your inevitable intrigue to see what your friends are doing right now, over-consumption can lead to feelings of inadequacy and the sensation that you’re being judged and scrutinised. You need to set mental boundaries, for the sake of your mental health.

Sarah that used to sit next to you in your Shakespeare classes may watch your Instagram stories, but she’s not a real friend, nor someone who is there for you. So why show her a life reel with the subconscious aim of trying to please her?

At the end of the day, your closest friends and your family, the ones that care about you truly, have your best interests at heart. So, if you surround yourself solely with those that you love and trust, there’s no need to accept that promotion because it would look good to others, when you know, innately, that you’d resent the exhaustion you feel from working longer hours. Whichever friend or acquaintance’s opinion is plaguing your thoughts, distance yourself, mentally (at least) if not physically, and get real with your values.

It’s your life, so write your own story.

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