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Don’t Care What Others Think

by Eddie Baran

My entire life I’ve battled with crushingly low self-esteem. This showed up as my being very shy. It wasn’t too long ago that I was so shy, in fact, that sometimes I wouldn’t go to the store even if there were no food in the house.

“I really need to go to the store,” I’d say to myself. “I’m hungry and I’ve nothing to eat.”

But that would soon be countered with “Yeah, but, what are people going to think of me?”

This fearful thought would often win over the practical one. Yes, it sounds kind of insane, and maybe it is, but these are the musings of a shy person afraid of his own shadow.

Shyness happens for a number of reasons. For me, caring what others (strangers or friends) thought, their opinions of me, obsessing over their judgments, was enough for me to stay home in my shell.

So imagine how I felt when I started gymnastics for the first time at age 35. I was awkward, weak, clumsy – a totally goofy spazz. But there comes a time in your life when you just gotta do what you gotta do. Negative thoughts be damned, you’re going to do whatever it takes. You put all your worries and anxieties aside and just go.

I wanted so badly to learn gymnastics that for a long time I put up with the embarrassment and humiliation. I was the only beginner in the class and looked it. Whereas the other adults were former gymnasts just having fun, doing amazing things with their bodies, I was basically a baby learning to walk.

Of course, it took me a while to realize that nobody actually even cared. I shouldn’t flatter myself thinking that all eyes were on me because they weren’t. Nobody paid attention. And if they did think badly of me, that’s their choice. I stopped caring about what they thought because I had much bigger fish to fry, i.e. learning gymnastics. I stopped being embarrassed, not because I became an amazing gymnast – not by a long shot – but because the desire for me to learn way overshadowed any insecurities I had. I only cared what I thought about myself and doing what had to be done. I put the negative nonsense to the side and focused on the positive.

Some of my so-called “friends” even laughed at me for pursuing such a silly dream. It bothered me at first, but then I just disregarded them and their opinions. What matters is that you care what YOU think about yourself. Heed ONLY the positive supportive thoughts of your mind. There’s a negative part of your mind that’ll bash you to no end. Hear what it says, observe it, but don’t believe it.

Likewise there are positive people in your life, and negative ones. Surround yourself with the positive people, and throw the trash to the curb where it belongs.

If you care what others think, whether you consider yourself shy or not, then you need to examine what’s really important: Your dreams, goals and desires, or others’ judgments (real or imaginary) of you.

Someone once said to me, “Caring what others think is a huge waste of time.” It’s true. I cringe at all the opportunities I missed because I cared about the opinions of others.

I always remind myself what Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”  


We wish to thank Eddie for this submission to our Lessons From Self Esteem ebook.

Eddie Baran is a fitness coach and author who is known for his unique and innovative methods of modeling exercise from gymnasts and animals. He can be reached at





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