From Don’t Care to Don’t mind – Part of the journey of stress and self esteem together

depression and anger

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” Wayne Dyer

When I was growing up and learning banter within my friendship and associate groups an often used sarcastic response to criticism was “you clearly mistake me for someone who cares what you think!” Witty, cutting, cruel and quite insightful, that phrase returned to my mind when I was contemplating the title of this blog.

People spend a lot of energy and time dealing with stress. This is appropriate. It is an evolved fear based response that in this day and age of fast response technology and continuous change is close to getting out of hand. Managing it and developing a different relationship with it is a good use of energy. Where I sometimes differ from my peers is where that energy is concentrated.  There is too much effort spent dealing with the stress in the moment. The immediate issue that is presenting as stressful is seen as the issue that needs resolving. This is fire fighting and can occupy our time and our life until the day we die.

What if you could start to deal with the bigger picture? What if you could reposition your relationship with stress itself? Then you will be starting to make a long term, definable and life changing difference to your life.

Caring what others think

One of the biggest overall stressors that exists in my life is my need for the approval of others. It has driven me and my life for far too long. It has had its benefits. A successful 21 year career in sales was largely influenced by this key driver in me. It also has it’s downsides in terms of turning pressure and targets and challenges in to stress and leaving my loved ones thinking that my peers and my boss mattered more than they did.

Linked in with this is my self esteem. More to the point, my need for validation in the world and buying into the lie that the house I have, the car I drive and the job title I have is part of my happiness and my own self worth.

This combination of the need for validation and respect coupled with my fear and worry about what others think of me is a toxic combination that leads to over work, driving myself into the ground and pendulum swing relationships the quality of which is dependent upon how well my job, career or business is doing at the time.

The personal development work I help my clients with I apply to myself. It’s one of my values and beliefs. As a result of consistently challenging myself to reposition my relationship with seeking approval of others and needing the world to validate me I have started to change noticeably and in other more subtle ways. In short I am growing up (it’s only taken me 45 years so far).

My journey has run something like this. 40 years of caring deeply what other people thought of me characterised by either working too hard or kicking back and appearing not to care. Neither of which is healthy. Let’s be honest here, when I utter the words “I don’t care” or use the phrase this blog quoted earlier I do care.

Have you ever noticed that when people are uttering the words “I don’t care” there is almost always an emotional charge associated with what they are talking about and the way they are saying it. In other words they do care. They care what we think so much that they have a need to tell us they don’t. That’s called being human.

That’s why the title of this article is “From Don’t care to Don’t mind.” That phrase characterises part of my journey of personal development and charts my relationship with self esteem and stress. When I say “I don’t care” I do.  These days my happy and comfortable resting place is that “I don’t mind what others think of me,” thus the quote at the beginning.

This means that when people praise me I accept it but do not buy into it. I know whether I have done well or not. That may seem a little harsh but the moment I start caring about the praise I will also start to care about the criticism.

For me, and to the dismay of my wife, the physical manifestation of this change in me was that I grew, what by the standards of many, was a puny attempt at facial hair. My little goatee beard. The physical difference was quite significant. The emotional difference is profound because I don’t mind what others think of me.

I’ll end this with another quote form Steve Jobs that is relevant.

“Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Julian Hall & Paul Backen deliver transformational emotional resilience programmes from their East & West Midlands bases and all over the country.  If you have issues dealing with stress, self esteem or anger management click here to learn more about the courses they deliver.

To find out more call 07850614042 and ask for Julian 07950344658 and ask for Paula.

If you want to know more about the anger management, stress management, and emotional resilience courses run in Derby & Birmingham call the above numbers or click here





  1. I really enjoyed this article. You have made an important distinction between “not caring” and “not minding.” Getting rid of “not caring” is extremely hard to do, especially for people in the healing arts whose caring is deeply etched into their being. But moving to “not minding,” while still a challenge, is a much easier movement to make.

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