The more you say “I don’t care what people think” The less I believe you.

I’ve seen an increase in the number of ¬†“I don’t give a s___ what people think of me” posts out on the blogosphere lately. I remember this being a popular phrase when I was in high school so I was a little upset when I saw that ‘adults’ (or adult-age-people) were posting it.

A few issues with the “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me” statement.

  • At it’s core this is a statement about communication: it’s saying “I don’t care what I’m communicating to everyone around me.”
  • It’s not true. If it were true you wouldn’t say it, because you wouldn’t care whether anyone thought you cared. Me thinks Joan Jett doth protest to much.
  • It’s a selfish and arrogant thing to say. Think about the implications; “No one can give me any advice that can improve me.” or “No one’s opinion deserves my consideration.”
  • There are people who truly don’t care and they are called sociopaths. These people have a mental malady that makes them chronically selfish which usually makes life more difficult for them in the long run.
  • Caring what other people think isn’t the same thing as allowing them to determine everything about you. It doesn’t mean you’re dependent on that person to determine who you are. It just means you want to know if they understand you; if they get you. And yes sometimes it can mean that their opinion means a lot to you, but not always.
  • Yes you can care too much what everyone thinks, but ironically you’re probably someone who cares too much if you’re the kind of person who regularly uses this phrase.
  • Often times “Not Caring” actually means counter-dependence – it means that all you want to do is the opposite of what others want you to do – which is still dependence, just inverted.
  • If you’re a christian, believe it or not, even Jesus cared about what other people thought about him; In Mark 8 he asks his disciples “Who do you say that I am?” Not so that he could adjust to what they wanted him to be, but rather because he wanted to make sure they were getting it. He cared what they thought for their sake, not his.

To say that you care what people think about you doesn’t mean that you’re malleable or that you’re always self-conscious. It means that you’re conscious¬†of what you’re communicating to others. It doesn’t mean that you’re willing to adjust the message. It does mean that you’re willing to adjust the means of communication. It doesn’t mean you’re a conformist. It does mean that you’re willing to appropriate the tools necessary to get your message across to everyone.

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