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  1. #1
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Default The difference between worrying OR caring about what other people think

    If we go through life not worrying about what other people think of us, does that mean we don't care? How can one differentiate between the two?

    And if no one cared about what other people thought of them, would the world be a better or worse place? Many self-help literature contradicts itself when it says in one breath, "Be yourself, don't worry about other people think of you" - but in the next, "Care about those around you, be sensitive to them and basically 'do unto others as you would have done to you'."

    How can these two thoughts be reconciled?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Wild horses's Avatar
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    I think the difference is between caring about other people and caring about what they think of you. i think you can indeed care about others without caring about what they think of you. Now of course they are not really mutually exclusive because nine times out of ten if your actions come from a place of care for someone they will think highly of you as a result and so you don't need to worry or care about what they think of you, however, if you only do things because you care about what people think of you the motive is much less caring and is in fact born out of self - centered concern out of your self image. Sometimes if you truely care for someone you have to put their needs before the worry about what they think of you and do something that may even result in them hating you for a while
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    If we go through life not worrying about what other people think of us, does that mean we don't care? How can one differentiate between the two?

    And if no one cared about what other people thought of them, would the world be a better or worse place? Many self-help literature contradicts itself when it says in one breath, "Be yourself, don't worry about other people think of you" - but in the next, "Care about those around you, be sensitive to them and basically 'do unto others as you would have done to you'."

    How can these two thoughts be reconciled?
    That's a really interesting question!

    Worrying is an excessive concern for what others think. I also feel that worrying tends to look back to what was done, or to focus on what is to come in a negative way. But not on what is happening.

    There is a balance between self consciousness and consciousness of others. Excess in either direction leads to problems. You can see that in some descriptions of highly introverted people and highly extroverted people. I don't know how that really plays out, most people find balance.

    "Do unto others".. People want to be themselves. Nobody wants to be treated like the other person. It's funny when people give gifts they want, or do things for you they would like done for them. It's interesting because you learn about them, what they like, but it isn't what people want.

    So, there is friction among people. Everybody wants something different. Sometimes very different, sometimes similar. So, the question is, how can you give others what they want while maintaining your own integrity.

  4. #4
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    I don't worry or care about what people think of me, naturally there are people whose opinions I consider important such as family, that however does not conflict with caring about other people, why would it?

  5. #5
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    It seems to me, in a way, that letting people think whatever they need to think about me- is a form of caring in itself. I don’t need people to have good thoughts about me or be impressed by me if I’m not impressive to them. This might have something to do with me being e5, though- I see anything resembling one person feeling the need for someone else to feel/believe something specific as potentially very unkind. It’s incredibly frustrating to me, personally, to deal with someone who gets offended when I don’t have the opinion of them that they want me to have. So I make it a point to be okay with whatever anyone else’s opinion of me is, because it’s a freedom I’d like to be given myself (so in my case, ‘do unto others as you would have done to you’ doesn’t conflict with ‘don’t worry what other people think about you’ and ‘be sensitive to others’).

    It’s not like I have to agree with the negative opinions. There just really is something unkind, imo, of needing other people to think well of me. It seems controlling. I think there are too many people out there who need others to have good opinions of them so that they don’t have to do the work of having good opinions of themselves. Whenever someone surprises us by displaying lack of regard for our character, it puts us in the immediate position of questioning if there’s something wrong with us. Something in external reality reflects an image of us that we don’t like. Unless we’ve done the work of sorting through our own values and determining we’re being mindful enough- it can have a really negative affect. And a lot of people feel that it’s rude for others to put us in that position in the first place. A lot of people seem to think it’s work that we shouldn’t have to do. The character House comes to mind- he puts people in this position regularly. But I think there’s something weak about not letting others have the freedom of coming to their own conclusions because, in the end, we don’t have to accept them as true- it just takes work to build resilience to them. And I personally see it as ‘uncaring’ to expect others to have a positive opinion of us- simply for the sake of reflecting a positive image, so that we may feel good enough about ourselves that we can avoid introspection on the matter.

    There is an exception here, and that is if it’s someone I’ve gotten close to by choice, and a relationship of mutual support has been established. But even in these cases- if someone I’ve gotten close to has negative opinions of something I’m doing, since I choose people with values as similar to my own as possible to get close to, then I use that to keep myself in check. When conflict comes up and someone (I’m close to) presents negative opinions, I listen to what they say and decide that either (1) they’ve got a good point and I should modify something about my own behavior, or (2) they’re values are just too different from my own and- while it’s perhaps unfortunate that it’s their opinion- I should just let them perceive things the way they need to perceive them and I shouldn’t let it affect the way I live my own life. I usually have to form a boundary between myself and that person thereafter, but it’s important to me to let people have the freedom to come to whatever conclusions they need to. This is why I personally take such a long time to feel close enough to someone that I take their opinions to heart- because it takes a long time for the full spectrum of someone else’s values to be revealed, and I don’t like putting myself at the mercy of values that aren’t congruent with my own.

    Of course, at the same time, we all need a sort of support team of people who believe in us- think good things about us regularly. It falls under the definition of ‘insane’ (or maybe delusional, narcissistic, etc.) to have steadfast belief in the good things about ourselves if there isn’t a single person in external reality who also recognizes the positive attributes that we see about ourselves. But if the positive attributes we see about ourselves are truly there, then there are bound to be at least a couple of people crossing our path who can also see them. Even House has friends (yes, he’s fictional, and his ‘friends’ are somewhat idealistically written- able to see the benevolence in spite of all his misanthropy- but I think my point applies).
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasper View Post
    I don't worry or care about what people think of me, naturally there are people whose opinions I consider important such as family, that however does not conflict with caring about other people, why would it?
    I don't understand the not caring. I can understand excessive caring and pandering to others as being negatives. It would seem that any self expression would include others perceptions of that expression. So it would be in a kind of feedback loop. I don't know if that is the right word, feedback loop, but ithat is what comes to mind.

    It would tend to depend on where you focus on the question. People pushing on you, or you pulling from others.

  7. #7
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
    I don't understand the not caring. I can understand excessive caring and pandering to others as being negatives. It would seem that any self expression would include others perceptions of that expression. So it would be in a kind of feedback loop. I don't know if that is the right word, feedback loop, but ithat is what comes to mind.

    It would tend to depend on where you focus on the question. People pushing on you, or you pulling from others.
    I would try to explain my thoughts better but, well, Z buck *points to large post* kinda has it covered.

    It's about not needing to interfere with other people's opinions of me, and not letting their view of me effect my opinion of myself unless I think it should. Iunno, I like people liking me and expressing nice happy thoughts about me, of course, but on the other side I'm mostly ambivalent about people disliking me or having negative things to say. If there is constructive criticism I can take out of something then it becomes my information to review and the person who said it is largely irrelevant. It just becomes feedback.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasper View Post
    I would try to explain my thoughts better but, well, Z buck *points to large post* kinda has it covered.

    It's about not needing to interfere with other people's opinions of me, and not letting their view of me effect my opinion of myself unless I think it should. Iunno, I like people liking me and expressing nice happy thoughts about me, of course, but on the other side I'm mostly ambivalent about people disliking me or having negative things to say. If there is constructive criticism I can take out of something then it becomes my information to review and the person who said it is largely irrelevant. It just becomes feedback.
    The one with a lot of words? Okay, I don't really get it but get the funny feeling it'll take me forever so I am just going to let it go. I do have one thing... It doesn't seem to me that caring about others opinion is the same as wanting a positive opinion. That seems like separate issues to me.
    Care to me simply means to be attuned to.

  9. #9
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfy View Post
    The one with a lot of words? Okay, I don't really get it but get the funny feeling it'll take me forever so I am just going to let it go. I do have one thing... It doesn't seem to me that caring about others opinion is the same as wanting a positive opinion. That seems like separate issues to me.
    Care to me simply means to be attuned to.
    Yeah, it has lots of words =/

    For me care means more than just being attuned to, although I'm not even that really, it's more along the lines of allowing it to bother/influence/matter to you.

  10. #10
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    LOL. I'm totally okay with someone thinking my post has too many words, because I value the freedom to come up with such opinions myself and not have the other person take it personally. [edit:] I think it demonstrates more caring to give someone that freedom.

    (^^that there is a briefest summation possible of my earlier post.)
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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