Courtney Zaugg works with City of Noblesville in Economic Development and led an Economic Literacy program for girls ages 9-11.

“I do not care what others think about me.”

Woman's reflection

In our family, we repeat this phrase to ourselves and one another like a mantra. In today’s global society, the pressures to always be “better, faster, smarter, and thinner” have turned into pressures to be the “best, fastest, smartest, and thinnest.” Getting caught up in what others think about oneself has spawned a detrimental thought-process, specifically inducing girls into believing that they are not good enough. And in the professional world, the pressure for women everywhere is to out-perform their peers. 
As a teenager, I easily got caught up in what my peers, teachers, coaches, friends, and parents thought about me. Was I living up to their expectations? Did my peers like me? Did they think I was “cool?” Were my parents/teachers/coaches proud of me? Trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations was exhausting, and I was losing myself in the process. My parents always reinforced staying true to myself and my moral compass. But when that path is clouded with negativity, it’s hard to see the road. Unfortunately, that pressure doesn’t go away when you become an adult. If you can get to the point where you can stop worrying so much what others think of you, you learn to adapt and can choose to deflect the negativity.
“I do not care what others think about me.”

To be clear, this has been a process for me. For some people, the trait is inherent. For others, like me, this confidence has grown over time. But the freedom and genuine happiness that comes with rejecting peer pressure and forging your own path is priceless. It gets easier as you develop the “confidence habit.”  Don’t be mistaken—there are good days and bad days. There will be a constant flow of people trying to alter your self-worth, but YOU choose how to react to the situation.
If I could tell my adolescent-self just one thing, it would be this: “Do not care what others think about you.” Doing what you know is right and following your gut will be so much more rewarding than fitting in with the “cool kids” or being in the “best” clubs. Listening to other people more than yourself is problematic for many reasons. If you are choosing to blindly follow the lead of others, you risk your integrity, your ingenuity, your distinctiveness, and your confidence. Most importantly, you are risking your voice and your happiness. No one can be truly happy if they base their happiness on other people. The only path to your happiness and your true self is found within. 
“We do not care what others think about us.”