Did you know that highly sensitive people are particularly vulnerable to caring waaay too much about what other people think?
There are three reasons for this:
- We tend to be conscientious. We like to follow the rules and do the “right” thing.
- We tend to be high in empathy, which makes us acutely aware of what everyone else is feeling.
- We tend to shy away from conflict, criticism, and judgment, because they are highly stimulating, and therefore, get us all worked up.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with possessing these characteristics. They make us caring and compassionate people.
But sometimes our caring can go a bit too far, qualifying as excessive worrying or people pleasing. We might care SO much that we sacrifice our own well-being in the process.
One way to check yourself and reinforce an anti – people pleasing mindset is to repeatedly expose yourself to books and articles that support maintaining a healthy level of self interest.
So for all my fellow people pleasers and excessive worriers, I wanted to share this list of books that have really helped me focus on my own life and what I think instead of driving myself bonkers obsessing about what other people think of me.
On a side note, I want to mention that instead of reading most of the books listed below the traditional way, I listened to them on Audible. To be honest, I was initially really hesitant about joining Audible, because it’s subscription based. For most subscription services I have tried in the past, I ended up feeling like I didn’t use them enough to warrant the price. But I have actually come to be all googly-eyed over Audible for two reasons.
First, I have realized that I can find a lot more time to listen than I can find to read. I still like to read the old-fashioned way too whenever I have a chance, but as a Mom of three, all the hours I spend cleaning the house, cooking, doing laundry, running errands, and driving people to places add up to a pretty significant chunk of potential audio book listening time. So not only am I able to add a lot more books to my life than I would be otherwise, but I’ve also had zero problems getting through at least one to two books a month, which is all it really takes to cover the subscription cost.
Second, and quite unexpectedly, I’ve realized that there is a special benefit to listening rather than reading. Somehow the author seems more real and alive when you actually hear him or her. And I find that their voice becomes more “sticky” to the point that it has great potential to drown out my inner critic. So a chunk of my negative self doubt-y mind chatter gets replaced by the author’s voice telling me to not give a f*ck. Does this sound weird? Maybe, but I’ll take whatever works. 😉
Ok, side speal over. Here are the seven best books about not caring what others think.
The Best Books About Not Caring What Others Think
#1 Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself by Aziz Gazipura – This book is BIG. First of all, it’s big because it approaches Bible-length at 18+ hours of audio. But it’s also one BIG helpful idea after another. Not once during the 18+ hours did I wish that it would be over already, because it was just that helpful. This is simply a must-read if you are a people pleaser wanting to get rid of the guilt tripping that is holding you back.
#2, #3 The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do and You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want by Sarah Knight – Not Nice is great, but requires a commitment. These two by Sarah Knight, on the other hand, are great and also a breeze. She has an awesome message, which she delivers like a true entertainer. You will laugh your way through these two. And best of all, unlike some of the other books in this genre that make it their mission to teach introverts how to act more like extraverts, Sarah Knight gets that not all of us want to learn how to butterfly our way through social events. Some of us want to learn how to spread our wings and soar away from the social events. As fast as we can. All the way to Freedomville. 😉
#4 How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety by Ellen Hendriksen – If you care to the point that it qualifies as anxiety and it’s majorly holding you back from what you want to accomplish in life, then this book is for you. The author is not only a clinical psychologist, but also an HSP who has struggled with social anxiety herself, so she offers the kind of compassion and understanding that only someone who has TRULY been there is capable of.
#5 Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown – If you’ve ever felt like the misfit. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong. If you’ve ever felt like you need to twist yourself this way and that to fit in. Then this one’s for you.
#6 The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by don Miguel Ruiz – This book might come off as total woo-woo at first glance. But once I got through the intro, which is woo-woo, I loved listening to this book. The main message of the book is actually very straight-forward and the four agreements are simple:
Be Impeccable With Your Words
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Don’t Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
And the delivery is just beautiful. It’s almost like listening to a self help poem. 🙂
#7 Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown – This might be a bit of an oddball to include here, because it’s written by a business consultant and many of the examples have to do with business management. However, I found that the lessons are very much applicable to life in general. If you suffer from the “I need to be everything for everyone” disorder, this book will talk you out of it and help you hone in your focus on what really matters.
Anyhoo, I hope this list is helpful! Let me know what you think in the comments below. 🙂