Mental Wellbeing

11 Big Things I Stopped Caring About

blue mug with inspirational quote

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What might happen if you stopped caring so much about things?

Do you find yourself caring too much about what others think?

Are you constantly seeking approval and validation?

Do you worry about things you cannot change?

If so, you are definitely not alone!

In the last couple of years, I stopped caring so much about a number of things that used to bother me a lot.

Now, the title of the post is ‘BIG’ things.  This is because the things on this list can FEEL like big things.  I now realise that they aren’t that big at all.

I’m not saying you should stop caring about everything of course, simply the things that don’t serve you.

I’m still a work in progress and I do have days where some of the things on this list bother me.  Some more than others.

For help with recognising and challenging your negative thought patterns, check out my Thinking Traps Workbook.  The workbook also contains two handy worksheets to help you tackle your inner critic.


11 big things I stopped caring about

Related post:  Stop Worrying – 5 Top Tips That Really Work

Here are the things I stopped caring about quite so much along with some tools I use which I hope you will find helpful.

1.  What Others Think Of Me

This has been a difficult one for me.  I think it’s difficult for a lot of us.

After all, the need to belong is deep-rooted within us.

Researchers think this goes back to pre-historic times, where belonging to a group was important to our survival.

We were much more likely to survive if we had other humans around than if we were on our own.  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs also demonstrates that the need to belong is vital for us to grow.

It can, however, become what drives us.  I was always worrying how people saw me, how I was coming across and feeling like an idiot if I felt I’d said or done the wrong thing.

Here’s what I’ve learned – nobody really cares!  Sorry to be blunt, but everyone is far too wrapped up in their own worlds to really care that much about you!  Since I’ve stopped caring so much what people think of me, I’ve definitely felt a sense of peace.

Think ‘Barry Manilow’!

The thing that brought this home to me most was reading about this experiment involving a Barry Manilow T-shirt.

The researchers gathered a group of students in a room, telling them they would be taking a test.  One of the students was to arrive late for the test wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Barry Manilow emblazoned on the front!
The researchers set up the room so that the seats were facing the entrance.  A couple of minutes after the late arrival of the Barry Manilow attired student, they were escorted out of the room and were told that they were too late to start the test.
The Barry Manilow t-shirt wearer was asked to estimate the proportion of the students they think had noticed the t-shirt.  This estimate was then compared with how many students had actually noticed. 
man in tshirt with words out cast on it
Photo by Taylor on Unsplash
The individual would consistently over-estimate, thinking the proportion was around a half, when, in reality, it was about a fifth.
So, if you think everyone is looking at you, think Barry Manilow!  

2.  What I Look Like

This, of course, links to my first point.   Now I know that nobody really notices me or even if they have, not in any great detail, I feel much more relaxed about heading out to the shops with no make-up and my hair in a ponytail!  I really have stopped caring about this one!

A couple of years ago there was a ‘no make up selfie’ challenge doing the rounds.  At first, I was scared of taking part, but then I noticed how young, fresh and natural everyone else looked so decided to join in!  We all looked beautiful, just as we were.

Think about it.  How much do you notice the hair, make-up and clothes of others?  Can you remember exactly what the last person you spoke to out in the world was wearing?  Every detail?  I bet you can’t.

I still love dressing up, putting my make-up on and doing my hair, but I’m much more relaxed about not doing it every single day now.

3.  Rejection


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

This again links to that need we have to belong.  Up until recently I really cared what others thought of me and one small rejection would have me hiding under the duvet crying!

Promoting my blog in the early days was hard.  Particularly reaching out to other bloggers, for example asking for them to collaborate with me.  If I didn’t hear back straight away thoughts such as ‘they must think I’m really annoying’ or ‘they think my work is rubbish, why would they want to collaborate with me’ would run through my head.

I now know it’s probably more likely because they are busy that they haven’t got round to replying to me.  Or they’ve received 50 similar emails and are working their way through them!

Check out the amazing Jia Jiang who deliberately tried to be rejected every day for 100 days!  The results are inspiring.

4.  Making Mistakes

I used to beat myself up terribly over every little mistake I made.  Then I learned that making mistakes is part of what makes us human.

Researching for this post on inspirational people who never gave up, despite making mistakes and getting rejected over and over again, really brought this home to me.

[tweetshare tweet=”I haven’t failed — I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work – Thomas Edison” username=”alisonw30″]

If we don’t make mistakes, how can we learn?  Since I stopped caring so much about making mistakes I feel like I’ve learned lots of things.

Related post:  17 Helpful Ways To Stop Beating Yourself Up

5.  Thinking Others Are Always Right

I’ve realised that the other person isn’t always right.

My opinion matters.

I’d always assumed that how others behave and what they are saying is correct.   If they disagreed with me, I would assume they knew better.  So I wouldn’t speak up and put my point across.

I’ve realised that this isn’t necessarily the case and that people do want to listen to what I have to say.  Not everyone of course and that’s OK.  From the feedback I get though, I know people find what I have to say helpful.  I’ve stopped caring so much about pleasing others and assuming their way is the right one.

6.  Promotion

two people shaking hands

Image by Adam Radosavljevic from Pixabay

For years, this was my ‘be-all and end-all’.  I thought that once I got to the top of my game I would be happy and fulfilled.  I spent years striving for promotion but instead finding rejection (and you’ve read how I felt about that!)

Finally, I did get promotion to the next level up.  Although I am happy and fulfilled some of the time, being ‘higher up’ in the corporate hierarchy definitely isn’t the answer to everything.  After a period of extreme stress and taking some time away from work, I reassessed what’s important in life.

I’ve now stopped caring about promotion.  Instead, I’m finding the fulfilment and happiness I crave in other areas of my life.  Work is no longer my be-all and end-all.

7.  Being Perfect

When I started this blog, I wanted everything to be ‘perfect’ before I hit that publish button.  I spent hours and hours getting everything just right.

I finally launched after months of work.  And what happened?  Did visitors overwhelm me in the first hour?  Erm, nope!

I now know that I only need to be one tiny step ahead.  I don’t need to know everything and it doesn’t have to be perfect before I publish a post or indeed before I start anything in life.

I’d rather start, go with ‘good enough’, knowing that I can always come back to things and work on them again.

If you are waiting till everything is perfect, my advice would be that it will never be – so just start where you are.

8.  Saying The ‘Wrong’ Thing

[tweetshare tweet=”I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou” username=”alisonw30″]

I used to beat myself up massively if I stumbled over a word or said something which made no sense.

Then I saw the Maya Angelou quote and it made me realise that people will forget the actual words you say.  Your intent behind them and how you make others feel is much more important.

I also worry sometimes about inadvertently upsetting someone by saying the wrong thing, for example when someone is grieving.

I’ve learned sometimes saying nothing is absolutely fine.  In fact, silence is another thing I’ve learned to not care about so much!  If I upset someone, then I can of course apologise, all is not lost.

I’ve stopped caring and I simply keep going now if I stumble on my words.  I’ve also noticed that others do this sometimes too and that I am much more forgiving of them than I am myself!

9.  What I Can’t Control

It helps to write down half a dozen things which are worrying me. Two of them, say, disappear; about two of them nothing can be done, so it’s no use worrying; and two perhaps can be settled. – Winston Churchill

I would spend hours worrying about how other people were behaving or that something external would happen to de-rail my carefully laid plans.

It was exhausting!

This one is definitely still a work in progress for me, but if I’m worrying about something I now try and ask myself how much actual control I have.  If it’s none, I will try and let it go.  If I do have some, then I will try and make a plan.

I’ve also recognised that although I can’t control the events that happen around me and how other people behave, what I do have total control over is how I react.

Related post:  15 Things That You Cannot Change However Hard You Try

10.  Events In The News

pile of newspapers

Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

This one links to the last point.

Ask yourself what you actually have control over?

Watching the news can lead to all kinds of ‘what if’ anxieties for many of us.  What if the virus spreads?  What if the terrorists turn up in my town?  All those ‘what ifs’….

I try to limit my exposure to the news nowadays.

Yes, it’s important to keep up to date with what’s going on the world but I do feel the 24-hour rolling news does sometimes have a tendency to blow things out of proportion.  And I’ve realised I don’t have control over this stuff so I want to worry about it less.

11.  What Won’t Matter In A Month

I’ve heard myself saying to others recently ‘don’t worry, it will all work out’.  I say this because in the majority of cases I have found this to be true.

Sometimes in the thick of it, things can loom large and appear overwhelming and all-consuming.

I’ve had problems in the past that I’ve been grappling with which have felt like this.  When I look back on them with the benefit of time and hindsight, they aren’t so large.  Things worked out OK, even if it was painful.

I now try and ask myself whether things will matter so much in a week, a month or a year from now to try and give myself some perspective on a situation.

Tools I’ve Used To Stop Caring

Here are some tools I’ve used which are helping me to get a sense of perspective and stop caring so much about the unimportant things and things I can’t control.

  • Journaling – in particular looking back over my journal and noticing how things I was really concerned about always work out.  With time and space, I can see they really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
  • Learning about personal growth and reading books on the topic.  Also listening to numerous inspiring podcasts.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Mindfulness and meditation.   This helps me to catch my thoughts and feelings in the moment and challenge them.
  • ‘Zooming out’ – taking 5 minutes to close my eyes, focus on my breath and the space I’m in.  I then imagine all the people in my town, going about their business.  Then the country.  Then the world.  This seems to bring me some perspective.
  • Asking myself ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’
  • Surrounding myself with positive and like-minded people.
  • Finding my ‘cheerleaders’.  People who will give me positive feedback and want me to succeed.
  • Giving up booze, improving my diet and exercise levels and generally looking after myself.

Related Posts:  Mindful Journaling: 15 Fantastic Benefits And How To Get Started

11 Proven Strategies For A Positive Mental Attitude

Things I Do Still Care About

Some things that I do still care about (that maybe I shouldn’t) are:

  • Unjustified criticism (or even justified, it depends on how the feedback is given)
  • Feeling guilty if I leave somewhere early or if I have to say no to a friend or family member
  • Annoyance towards myself if I feel I haven’t ‘stood up for myself’ in a situation

As I say, I’m a work in progress!  I’m grateful for any tips.

What do you care about too much?  Have you stopped caring so much about some of the things I’ve listed?  Or anything else?  Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. Lori

    Hi Alison! This is a fantastic, and very thorough, list. I’m not perfect about giving up on any of these, either, but I find the older I get the less I tend to worry about things in general. I used to really beat myself up over every little thing, but I give myself much more grace now. Meditation and yoga, as well as surrounding myself with support, have been really helpful to me.

    1. Alison

      Thanks Lori, I’m finding the same thing, as I get older I care less about things. Maybe by the time I’m 80 I really won’t give a hoot!

  2. Geraldine

    Ahhh I am sad to say I still care about some of these things you mentioned haha but good for you Alison! It’s really hard to stop completely caring… I’m on my way to not caring and I’ve been a lot better about it but it still creeps up on me sometimes when I’m not aware. It’s such a challenge not caring about being perfect or making mistakes or getting rejected. Those are so toxic though and can hold us back a lot. It’s a struggle but I swear I’ll get over it one day too!! 🙂

    1. Alison

      Hi Geraldine, they can still sneak up on me at times too don’t worry, in particular the rejection one. I think the key thing is noticing that it’s happening 🙂

  3. Jen

    Yes!! I love this so much!! You really addressed a bunch of things I WANT to work on. Mainly my appearance, and being bothered by the news. it gives me so much anxiety!

    1. Alison

      It’s definitely doable Jen, I would recommend taking it slow and not being hard on yourself 🙂

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