by Matt Weik
It shakes me to my core how many people live with depression or anxiety. And while this article is not meant to treat or diagnose such disorders, there’s one thing that I feel everyone needs to learn and understand in order to be happier with your life. We live our lives endlessly wanting the approval of those around us. Our parents, our kids, our spouse, our friends, coworkers, whatever. We want them to like us, respect us, and approve of the things we do and say.
This constant need to be validated and have others approve of the things you do, in my opinion, is why so many people are unhappy. Their happiness is predicated off of someone else’s opinion. This is a huge problem.
How to Make Things Easy
Life gets super quiet when you stop worrying about what others think or say about you. Social media is one of the most toxic platforms anyone can be a part of. You open yourself up to be judged any time you make a post or comment. It’s scary to think that people are actually taking their own lives because of things people have said about them on the internet (regardless if it was accurate or not).
Instagram is one of the worst players. Unlike other platforms where text is the primary means of getting your thoughts and ideas out there, Instagram uses images which can be judged quickly without any context. This opens the door up for scrutiny and judgment.
Women post images in bikinis and have both good and bad comments posted. They also get DMs from things they post. They could have 500 comments on an image and of that number, 10 are negative comments. Which do you tend to focus on? The negative. You have another 490 that are saying how amazing you look, you’re pretty, you’re beautiful, you’re inspirational, etc. But those 10 comments that say you should eat more, you look too thin, you look too fat, you should stop eating, etc. are the ones evoking the most emotion from you.
When you stop worrying about what others think of you, you’ll be happier with your life. You’ll block out the noise and things will get quiet. What I try to tell people is that you should not care more about other’s opinions more than you care about the opinion you have of yourself. There will be haters coming out of the woodwork when you find success. They will want to tear you down because you make them look and feel inferior. So, they will say almost anything to frustrate you. They want you to go into hiding because it will stop making THEM feel worthless.
Look at the people who are making the most noise. Do you even know these people? If not, why would you care what they say? They don’t know you. They are forming an opinion of you from an image or something you said. Losing sleep over an irrational judgment by someone who has no context is dumb. If you can look in the mirror and tell yourself that what you are doing is the right thing and that it’s bringing people value, excuse my French, fuck what they think and say about you.
Here’s something you need to understand. When you have people hating on you, it’s because you have earned the awareness of your brand or of yourself. Once you have enough awareness, you become a threat to other people. Rather than those people working towards building themselves up, they focus on trying to tear everyone else down because they don’t want to put in the work.
You are a rare breed and people will attack those who work hard for everything they have. When the things you do and say create engagement, you need to expect certain people to come after you in the comments in a negative way. It’s funny though and I think you will appreciate this. 99% of the people who want to talk smack will walk past you every single day and not say a word. They want the protection of voicing their opinion over the internet, behind their computer screen, and bang away at their keyboard to make themselves feel better without being confronted with conflict that could end up with them needing to pick up their teeth.
You can’t allow any of that to deter you from doing good in the world and providing value to your audience. You could give away a million dollars to do something good in your community and you will still have a group of people who will say how dumb you are, they don’t need the money, you should have given the money here or there, etc. It’s going to happen. So, knowing that fact in advance will help you block out the noise and focus on the fact that you know you did the right thing and no one else can tell you otherwise because their opinion means nothing to you.
While it’s not going to be easy, you need to sit down and do a deep dive into who you are as a person. Are you happy with yourself and what you’re doing? Are you providing people with value? Or are you really the things people are saying about you? If their remarks towards you (in an attempt to slander your name) are true, you need to fix YOU first. If their remarks are false, you need to smile and move on.
As they say, “A lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinion of sheep.” Go out there and roar – make your voice heard.