Why I Care About What Other People Think
From the moment children are born, we’re teaching them to care.
Care about others, care about the Earth, care about their room, care about humanity, care for themselves. And we certainly ask them to care what we, their parents, think.
So, it often comes to me as a surprise when I hear adults say to one another, “Who cares what other people think?” Or, “You shouldn’t care so much.” Or, “Why do you care what he thinks?”
We spend a lifetime being taught to care, and now that doesn’t matter?
I’m not suggesting that we need to be overly worried about others’ opinions of us. However, I can say that there are some people about whom I care a great deal what they think of me. My wife, my children, my parents, and my siblings. I also care about what my friends, my colleagues, my pastor, and my extended family thinks of me.
The care-scale hierarchy diminishes as I consider everyone around me in my community. After all, certainly the opinion of strangers I meet shouldn’t matter much.
Yet, I still can’t help but wonder, “What kind of person am I if I don’t care?”
I realize it’s important not to measure myself by the standards of other people. But suppose that everyone I knew or even saw me thought poorly of me. That would make for a pretty depressing life. So on some level, in some way, it certainly matters what others think of us.
As a result, I try to uphold a standard where I care about myself and what other people think of me. That translates into being a parent that my kids can emulate. The way our kids feel about themselves is formed by the way we’re treating them now.
If children end up with low self-esteem as adults, it could be because they were belittled, name-called, cursed-at, or put down when they were young.
So, yes. I care about what others think of me now, and I care what others think of our children. Someday, I hope they care as much, too.