As human beings, we have the tendency to want to “belong”, so we constantly seek the approval of others. According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, social needs are the third most important needs after basic needs and security needs. Social needs include the need to belong to a group, society and to have friends among others.

However, if you are not careful about your social needs, you might end up doing things to please others at your own expense. When you are constantly seeking the approval of others and asking “what will so and so think if I do this”, you have little time to think about what you want. As such, are likely to end up with a lot of frustration and unhappiness.

Here are 5 tips to help you stop worrying about others and start thinking about yourself:

1. Learn to tolerate criticism

Criticism has always been there since the beginning of time and perhaps this will be the case for all eternity. That is why you should learn to tolerate a little criticism. Criticism is not something to be feared but rather to be embraced. It helps you grow and become a better person. Therefore, you should embrace criticism with an open mind, but do what you feel is right

2. Love yourself

Wake up to the fact that you are the most important person in your life. Friends are important, yes, but they should never come at the expense of your happiness. They might be there through thick and thin, but the surest bet of the person who will always be there is yourself. So love yourself.

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3. Stop trying to keep up with others

This is a no brainer. When you are constantly trying to keep up with others and doing things because others are doing it without asking whether it adds value to your life, you lose your sense of self. You lose your originality and you become a clone of other people. Such conformity may result in feelings of frustration, emptiness and even insanity. This is why you should resist the urge to conform.

4. Understand that opinions are just that- “opinions”

Opinions are not facts, they only serve to show a person’s interpretation of reality. Therefore, you should never let how other people interpret their realities be the way you interpret your own. Listen to what others say and their advice, but do not let it dictate your actions. Your decisions should be your own and nobody else’s.

5. Ask yourself “so what if I’m wrong”

At the end of your life when you are on your deathbed, you will regret the things you didn’t do more than those you did do. Life is short and you don’t want to live another person’s life.

You might make wrong decisions every now and then, but so what? At least you will have lived life your way. Every person has his own share of failure, but you should not let the fear of failure stop you from making your own choices.

These 5 tips should help you stop thinking about what others say about you and start thinking about what you think. Great leaders did not achieve their status by living other people’s lives, neither did they do it by fearing criticism. So do not worry much about what others say and think, the important thing is to follow your heart.

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