Learning Not to Care Too Much About What Others Think

Caring too much about what someone thinks or has to say about me or a decision I made? Guilty. More than a couple dozen times, actually. When it comes to what you’re studying, what you plan to do after you get your degree, or what career you wish to pursue, people will sometimes be quite vocal about their opinions – both positive and negative. It’s hard not to care what others think when you’re still uncertain about the future or to not get too upset when someone you care about doesn’t support a decision you’ve made. In the end, what you choose to do, first and foremost, concerns you and to pursue something you’re passionate about without doubts and hesitation sometimes involves learning to block out what others have to say.

I’ve had many, many friends whose desired career paths were vastly different from what their parents had in store. For them, it was always a debate of “do what I want” versus “do what my parents want”. Although it’s easy to say that they should just do whatever they want to do regardless of what their parents think, the blatant truth is that we do care what some people have to say, especially when these are people we care about. After all, they’ve been in our shoes before and they have more life experience, right? However, one of these friends left behind her dreams to study fine arts after her parents made it clear that they didn’t believe it was a serious field of study. She ended up unhappy, confused about what she wanted to do with her life, and in a very uncomfortable position.

But that is not to say to never care at all. Of course, it is always important and a good idea to hear what others have to say, especially when they have your best interest in mind. They may bring up sides of a situation that you had never considered, present various scenarios, and offer advice along the way. Deciding on things like where you would like to go to grad school or whether you want to go to grad school at all can be draining and serious times of hesitancy, and getting others inputs on your plans can help you better organize your thoughts.

Ultimately, however, these are your decisions to make. Even the most valued opinions should not be the ones to determine what is right or wrong for you. If you give them too much of a say, then they can become more of a roadblock in the pursuit of your passions than anything else. In these cases, it’s about learning to not care so much that they only cause more confusion and self-doubt.

And what the rest have to say? Those whose opinions, instead of helping clear the way, only discourage you? Or serve to voice a certain lack of belief in you and what you want to achieve? Take them with a grain of salt. I’ve had someone, who I didn’t realize had anything to say about what I planned to do in the future, belittle my choice of study before. In this case, I knew what they were saying was disheartening and given the power, would only make me lose confidence in myself and my ability to make decisions about my studies. So I smiled, nodded politely, and opted to not let it weigh on me.

At a time where it’s hard not to care too much about what others think regarding many things in life, the choices you make about school, about jobs, should make you proud. There may always be some uncertainty and questioning, but it shouldn’t come from what someone else had to say. These are your studies and this is your journey – you have the right to not care about what anyone else thinks and to never let their opinions change your desires, goals, and confidence in your plans.

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