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:

  1. We tend to be conscientious.  We like to follow the rules and do the “right” thing.
  2. We tend to be high in empathy, which makes us acutely aware of what everyone else is feeling.  
  3. 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 the seven best books about not caring what others think.  These 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.

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

This book by Aziz Gazipura is BIG.  First of all, it's big because it approaches Bible-length at 18+ hours of audio.  (Side note: I do a lot of my reading on Audible.)  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 & You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You've Got to Get What You Want

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. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

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 by Brene Brown is for you.


5. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz might come off as total woo-woo at first glance.  But once you get through the intro, which is going to sound too woo-woo to some, the main message of the book is actually very practical and straight-forward. The four agreements are simple:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Words
  2. Don't Take Anything Personally
  3. Don't Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

And the audio version delivery is just beautiful.  It's almost like listening to a self help poem. 🙂

6. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This might be a bit of an oddball to include here, because it's written by a business consultant - Greg McKeown - 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.

7. Freedom from Your Inner Critic: A Self-Therapy Approach

Ultimately the dreaded "other people" can only get to you if you believe their judgments - whether real or imaginary.  So if you really want to become more confident in your own truth, it requires going deep with your inner critic. My favorite approach for doing just that is Parts Work and one way to get started is by following the guidance given by Dr. Jay Earley in Freedom From Your Inner Critic

About the Author

Hi, I'm Anni! I'm a life and career coach for stressed out highly sensitive people. My mission is to help you discover your true self and create a life you ACTUALLY like.

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