How To Stop Caring What People Think Of You

By Leo Gura - August 11, 2014 | 103 Comments

Foundational mindsets to put a permanent end to people-pleasing.

Video Transcript

Show Full Transcript Minimize Transcript

Hey, this is Leo for In this video I’m talking about a critical topic. I’m going to tell you how to stop caring what other people think about you.

Why Do We Give So Much Power To Other People?

Why do we allow other people to have so much control over the way that we live our own lives? Have you ever wondered this? Have you ever wondered why you let people have so much power over you because you are doing it. If you’re a people pleaser, if you’re somebody who’s watching this video and this topic is something that resonating with you and you want to stop caring so much about what everyone is thinking about you then you should really sit down and take a deep look.

I’m going to help you to do this with this video. This is going to be a foundational video because I think this is a problem that almost all of us face. Some of us face it to such a degree that it’s literally crippling and destroying our lives.

This is a personal topic for me because this is something that I really had to struggle with for a long time, not just for a few years, but really for my whole life. This is almost like a theme, a motif of my entire life is struggling with this. Just over the last year I’ve made some really big progress. I’ve been making some good progress for the last maybe three years, but especially the last year I’ve made some really good progress as I’ve really taken my personal development to some advanced stages.

I have some mindsets that I think I can share with you to help you right now right at the end of this video to walk away with some big shifts. There are going to be some paradigm shifts so if you’re facing this problem then stick with me. I know a lot of people have been asking about this topic.

This is a topic that I really wanted to do justice to. I’ve already shot this video several times so this is probably my fifth time recording it. I’ve shot it in various places from Death Valley, etcetera. I’m re-recording it now because I want to make it really have punch.

My Experience

So my own struggles. Let me start by talking a little about those. I moved here, to the US when I was six years old. I moved here from Russia. That was an amazing time for me. It was really an amazing experience. There was so much here in the US that was not available in Russia at the time.

When I moved here it was in ninety-one which was about a year before the Soviet Union collapsed. I moved here and my family relocated and it was great except one problem in that transition was that I started going to school here and I didn’t know the language when I went to first grade so I had to really learn quickly. I struggled for a while in school trying to catch back up.

One of the things that really crippled me there was that it was really hard for me to fit into the culture of people here in the States in school. I always felt like I was the odd one out. I always felt a little bit weird, I always felt like I wasn’t normal, I always felt that I had to work extra hard to fit in with the culture that’s here.

That left some kind of deep impressions on me, some deep scars, nothing traumatic nothing shocking but still, when you’ve got a young mind and you’re faced with that kind of challenge you can use it to scar your own self and then you can develop this kind of complex where you feel like you’re always assessing how people think about you. Maybe you can relate with that. When you’re walking down the street you’re always in the back on your mind thinking about, “What’s that person thinking about me? How do I look in his eyes? How do I look in her eyes?”

When you’re having a conversation with a girlfriend or boyfriend you’re thinking about, “How are they going to interpret that? What do they think about me?” When you’re talking in front of a group of colleagues at work, in the back of your mind you’re always running that analysis. Always running that analysis about how you were perceived, how you come off.

This was me for a very long time. It might be hard to believe now because I’ve really worked on myself a lot. Shooting these videos just in and of itself has really helped me a lot. So there was that.

The White Knight

Even more than just this incident of coming here to the States and the culture shock that I had to deal with and trying to fit in, but the next thing that I really faced was that my dad was an interesting example. He was the type of person that simply did not give a shit what anybody thought about him. It’s really quite remarkable. It’s almost awe-inspiring.

There were good and bad components to that. There’s good and bad in that. The problem that happened with me is I was seeing that and I was interpreting that thing of not caring about what people think of you as bad. I was thinking that that was a bad thing.

Usually what tends to happen is your parents, your mom and your dad, they have certain values and kids will either align with those values and they’ll tend to go along with those and they’ll adopt those, or some of those values kids will do the opposite with. They will just rebel against them because they see them as being bad or something that they don’t want for themselves. That’s what happened with the case with my dad here and with trying to be a people pleaser.

In my own mind I rationalized it like this. If you are a people pleaser you probably can relate to this kind of line of thinking. In my mind I said, “I don’t want to be an asshole, I don’t want to be uncaring. I want to be the good guy. I want to be the white knight. I want to be the goody goody.

“I want to be empathetic, I want to care about people so I’m going to go out of my way and I’m going to be extra nice to people. I’m going to make sure that I do things well”. That’s kind of a philosophy that I set for myself very early on.

I kind of rebelled from that philosophy of fuck it! Who cares what people think. I’m just doing my own thing. Now it’s been many, many years and I’ve been kind of going full circle, coming back to originally what I shunned because there were a lot of problems with this people pleasing mentality that I adopted.

That’s what we’re going to do in this video. We’re going to really help cure you of your people pleasing tendencies. Let’s first take a look at why this is happening. What’s really going on here? Why are you trying to people please?

The Noble Do-Gooder

Here’s what I’ve kind of come to this conclusion. Here’s how it works. You’ve got an image of yourself, a self-image. In your mind you’ve got this mental picture of what you think you’re like. We all have this.

You as a people pleaser your self-image is very specific. Your self-image is that of this noble person. You’re good human being. You’re a caring human being. You’re not like some of those other human beings who just kind of stumble aimlessly through life not caring about others.

You don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. You want to do good. You want to do right in the world and you want to be perceived as a good, kindhearted human being, the kind of human being that you imagined yourself to be, your ideal self. You’ve got this ideal self and you want this image to be reflected in the external circumstances.

It’s not just enough that you have this image, but you want the validation of that image. You want evidence that your image is accurate. You want this evidence from your boss, you want it from your mom and your dad, you want it from your brother, your sister, your wife, your husband, your girlfriend or boyfriend, any of your friends, any of your customers or any of your clients, even a random stranger on the street that just glances at you.

You want all of those people to validate your noble self-image. You want to be approved of and you want to be loved. That’s basically what you want. Because of this, you are working very hard to maintain this image.

As you can probably already guess, when you’ve got all these random and various people in your life that you’re trying to please, that you want certain reactions from, that’s not an easy thing to get. That’s not an easy situation to architect.

No Disconfirming Evidence

What you’re doing is you’re running around and you’re literally trying to architect your life in a way that people are giving you the most approval possible so that your self-image is upheld and you can say, “Look, I am this noble person after all. She said so. He said so. They said so. This guy said so. It was written about me here. It was told about me there”.

You’re looking for that confirmation evidence. Any time you see evidence that is contradicting this self-image that really disturbs you. It sends you into over drive to work extra hard to correct that to make sure that you don’t get any disconfirming evidence.

You want both confirming and you want no disconfirming evidence. That’s what you’re always working towards. One of the ways that you work towards this is by telling yourself you want to be very empathetic. You really care about the feelings of other people.

The problem is that being empathetic, while it can be very nice, in your case it’s a trap. It’s a huge trap that you are drowning in like quicksand. Here’s a fundamental problem that you need to come to grips with. Although it’s nice to care about other people, nice to do good things for them, to be empathetic, to understand their feelings, you are a living breathing organism.

Over a trillion cells comprise you. Each of those cells is almost like a mini living organism by itself, struggling for its own survival. All those add up to create you. It’s very deep-set. You’re not even in control of how selfish you are. You are an incredibly selfish organism.

To deny this nature within you is a challenge, it’s a problem because when you deny that you are very, very selfish and when you tell yourself that you are this altruistic person, we try and live up to that. The problem is that’s rubbing against your very basic nature as a human being. When you put the feelings and the priorities and the agenda of everybody else in your life above your own then you’re really putting yourself in this adversarial relationship with your own nature because your own nature is going to fight back.

It’s not just going to take it. It will take it maybe for a little while, maybe it will take it for a few years, maybe it will take it for a decade, but it won’t take it indefinitely and so problems start to bubble up. You can’t suppress this stuff. Resentment starts to build up, anger builds up, all sorts of tensions build up in your relationships, you start feeling unfulfilled, you start feeling inauthentic, you start not being able to create and live the kind of life that you want which is ultimately why we’re talking about this.

The reason that this is a problem that you care too much what people think of you is because it’s preventing you from building your dream life. You can’t do it. I’m going to talk a little bit more about that in detail as we continue.

The Middle Way

At this point, and I want you to be very mindful of this, what your mind might be saying if you’re a people pleaser is something along these lines: “Leo, so what are you talking about here? You’re telling me that being empathetic and being caring is a bad thing now? When did this nonsense come about? This is good. You’re telling me that, what, I’m supposed to be an asshole now?”

That’s what your brain might say. That’s what my brain said for a long time. Here’s the thing, you’ve got to be nuanced here. Don’t let your brain bully you. Don’t let your brain engage in black and white thinking.

Right now what your brain is telling you is, “I can be a goody goody on one hand, or I can be an asshole on the other. I definitely don’t want to be an asshole so I’m going to be this goody goody. Yes, there are some downsides with that Leo. I understand not everything is perfect, there’s some pros and cons, but this is far preferable to being an asshole. I’m going to be this goody goody. I’m going to continue this struggle and suffer the way I have for my whole life”.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m going to give you a new alternative. The new alternative is what I call the middle way. If on this end of the spectrum we have self-sacrifice and altruism and on this end of the spectrum we have the careless asshole that’s a cold-hearted monster, then what do we have here?

Here we have an interesting thing. We have someone who is completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others, but yet he or she is grounded in his or her own values. Those values are good and those values are right and that’s the end of it. That’s the bottom line that this person is grounded internally by their own values. Whatever opinions are out there about this person don’t matter because there is a path that this person is walking and no one is going to take them off this path.

This does not mean that this person is a monster or an asshole. Also, it doesn’t mean that they are self-sacrificing themselves and suffering needlessly in order to appease others. It’s the brilliant and perfect path to take, this middle path. This is the path that you’re going to have to take if you want to create an extraordinary life, the kind of life where you’re doing big things.

You’re Dreams Get Sidelined

We already talked a little bit about why empathy is bad. The other thing that I’ll add on top of that is simply to say it’s not a sustainable strategy. You think that you’re doing the greatest good, but actually you’re not doing the greatest good when you’re denying your own nature, when you’re denying your own agenda, when you’re denying your own values. This really comes down to an issue of values.

A person who is a people pleaser, the core problem with this is that when you’re people pleasing all the time then your own values and your own dreams, those get put off to the side. When that happens, you’re not working towards them. You can’t.

You’re also not working on yourself. You’re not able to do the personal development that’s necessary in order to empower you to create those dreams. For most people those dreams could actually be the way that they help the world, the way that they help their family, the way that they help their friends, but you’re not able to do that because you’re not honoring your own agenda.

What you’re doing is you’re constantly concerned about what other people are thinking about you. You’re constantly sacrificing your own agenda for the sake of others who impose on you but you never have the courage to impose yourself on them. Really you don’t even want that because you judge that as being bad.

This whole strategy you have to start to understand that this is garbage. It just doesn’t work. You’ve been doing it your whole life you see it doesn’t work. You’re not accomplishing the things that you want to accomplish when you’re doing this because you’re too dependent on the opinions of others.

Here’s a paradigm shift. Here’s something that could really change you’re thinking about this situation. An opinion, what somebody is thinking about you, what is that? What is it? It’s a thought in somebody else’s head.

Literally ask yourself, this thought which you could say is a figment of somebody else’s imagination, you’re letting a figment of somebody else’s imagination control your life. Think about that. When you put is starkly like this it sounds pretty ridiculous. It’s ludicrous that you would do this.

It’s one thing to be influenced by the figment of the imagination of for example somebody that you really respect or somebody that’s really important to you like a spouse or a father or mother, but most people don’t even do it this way. What they do is they’re really concerned about the figments of imagination that are in a complete stranger’s mind. Maybe it’s a customer that you interact with once a year and you’re concerned about him.

Maybe it’s you speaking in front of a group of people giving a presentation. You don’t even know half the people in that audience but you’re so concerned about what they think about you, what they think about how you dress, how you speak, how your face looks, how your body looks, how much weight you have, how good they think your speaking is, how good they think your material is.

Or you’re on a date and you’re so worried that this person that you’ve only known for a couple of days is sitting there judging you or what they think about you, what’s going on in their mind. You’re letting this dictate how you’re life progresses. Can you realize how ridiculous that is?

You’re Giving All The Power To Someone Else

It’s really a travesty to allow this to happen because what you’re doing is you’re taking all the responsibility that you have to direct your own life, to make yourself happy and fulfilled in life and you’re giving that away to somebody. To a random critic, a random stranger in some random crowd, maybe even a close friend of yours, or a boss, or a colleague. No one should have that kind of power over you but yourself.

What’s the solution here? You need to start getting grounded in your own values, what you think is right, what you think you should be doing. Getting grounded in that and then just going along and really not caring about the opinions of other people, either bad ones which are critical opinions or good ones which is praise.

Both of those you shouldn’t really care about because somebody who is grounded in their own values, who knows what they have in life, who knows what they stand for in life, who knows what’s going to fulfill them and won’t, who knows what’s right and what’s wrong for them, who knows that do they need somebody to tell them “Yes, you’re doing a good job!” “No, you shouldn’t be doing that”. “Yes, I like how you dress or how you look”. “No, I don’t like your work”. “I don’t like your art”. “I don’t like this thing that you said here”.

Are they going to be concerned about any of those things? When you really know what you want, you just go straight for it. That’s a powerful way to live life. That’s how you create a powerful life. That’s how you be a creator.

If you’ve got all these people on the sidelines giving you their opinions, their critiques, their little snide remarks, their little praise and compliments, and you’re always constantly distracted looking one way and the other, how are you going to move forward? How are you going to build out that grand vision that you have for your life?

It’s just not going to happen. Every single one of those people, they have their agendas, they have their own values. They don’t know your vision, they don’t know your dreams, they don’t know what you want to do in life, they don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong for you, they don’t have your values.

They are in charge of enforcing their values. You should be in charge of enforcing your own. Don’t be the one that’s left out without any values. You need to enforce your own.

What About Feedback, Leo?

One objection that might come up about this point is you might say something like, “Leo, what about feedback? Don’t I need feedback? If I’m doing this work, if I’m making this art, if I’m making this music, if I’m doing something in a relationship, if I’m doing something for a customer or client, don’t I need to know if it’s good or bad, if it’s right or if it’s not? What if I’m building a business, don’t I need to know if it’s profitable or if it’s going to be successful? Feedback is important there right?”

The thing here is that you’re really worried that you won’t make it on your own. You’re really worried that you don’t have your own guiding system. That’s what we need to install in you is your own guidance system.

If you’ve got your own values by which to guide yourself then you can take feedback. There’s no reason why you can’t listen to people telling you things. It can be a good source of information.

The problem isn’t feedback. The problem with you is a lot more emotional. It’s a lot more irrational, very neurotic. You’re not really looking for feedback. What you’re looking for is validation and approval and you’re really trying to stay away from criticism or anything negative because you want to build up that self-image that you’ve got. You want to preserve that beautiful self-image of your ideal self.

If you could just have that validated by everybody out there and nobody contradicted it, everything would be perfect. That’s how you’re thinking. That’s not feedback.

That’s ego mania happening there, very subtle ego mania. Be careful about your ego telling you that you’re selfless. When your ego is telling you that you’re selfless that’s usually when you’re being the most selfish so really watch out for that.

You might also object and say, “If I don’t get proper feedback then I’m going to get off course.” You might say, “Leo, these people in my life they keep me on course. They keep me knowing that I’m doing the right thing otherwise maybe I’m doing something wrong and I won’t even realize it. What if my guidance system breaks?”

Sometimes it’s good to have people to hold you accountable, to do some insanity checks on your own decisions. That’s all well and good, but you don’t want that to become a way of life. This concern that you have that you’re going to become some sort of monster, some sort of asshole, you’re going to become some sort of failure in life if you don’t have all this criticism coming in, or you don’t have all this feedback coming in and you’re not constantly looking for opinions and approval of other people, this is nonsense.

Actually the best way to live a very successful life is by not looking at the opinions of others. When you look at the opinions of others that’s the most likely to make you more neurotic in your life. That’s the most likely way to fail. You’re going to be just going round in circles worrying about what everyone is thinking about you but not honoring your own agenda.

Praise And Criticism

I already mentioned that praise and criticism are both problems for you. This might be a point that you haven’t really realized and thought deeply enough about yet. Criticism is obvious.

If you’re an artist, a business person, you’re working somewhere, you’re in a relationship, it is obvious that criticism is something that is emotionally disturbing to you. You don’t like criticism. Who likes to be criticized about something? You can see how this will sabotage you.

If you’re doing your art and someone keeps telling you that your art sucks all the time – your parents tell you your art’s no good, your friends tell you your art’s no good, maybe you submit your art to a gallery and the dealer tells you your art’s no good, you do all this stuff and you’re getting all this negative feedback about it. All of a sudden it’s making you doubt yourself. “Can I even be an artist? Can I be successful? Should I be doing this or maybe I should stop being an artist altogether?”

Right there you’re starting to basically sabotage yourself because you’re listening to all this feedback that’s out there. How many artists were told that they would never make it? How many artists were told that their art sucks? How many artists were told that their art is worthless and won’t earn a penny only for that art to go on later in someone’s life or after they are dead to earn millions of dollars?

It’s dangerous to think and to take that criticism seriously. This might be obvious, you probably know this already that you shouldn’t be taking criticism too seriously because it’s going to run you into the ground. What about praise, you might ask yourself.

You might say, “Leo, what’s wrong about getting praise? What’s wrong with a nice compliment here or there?”

Technically speaking there’s nothing wrong with praise. The problem though for you is that you’re neurotic about it. You need it. You’re desperate for it. You desperately need it to prop up this beautiful ideal self-image that you’ve got which is a total fiction, but you need to prop it up so you need the praise, you need the compliments.

Maybe you’re that kind of artist that puts out some work but you’re not very confident in that work until someone comes up to you and says, “Man, that’s amazing!” Maybe you need it to sell. Maybe you need to sell some prints or some copies. Maybe you need to earn X amount of dollars to get that validation, that praise, that positive approval that “This art has been accepted and approved. Now I can go on and create more”.

You can’t rely on that because not always will you get the praise you want. If you’re neurotic about needing praise, if you’re desperate for it, if you’re thirsting for it all the time, then when someone doesn’t give you the praise that you think you deserve which happens so often, then what happens you get resentful, you get bitter, you start to doubt yourself, you start to question that person too. “Why didn’t they give me the praise I deserve? How could they be so insensitive? How could they be so cold and heartless? How could they be so judgmental?”

The Paradigm Shift

This just further undermines everything you’re trying to do into your life, makes it very difficult to build your dreams out. How are you going to build your dreams and your vision with all the work that’s required when the work and the time, that takes a while to happen?

During that time you might have a lot of naysayers. You might have a lot of people criticizing you, you might have a lot of people questioning your motives, making fun of you, ridiculing you, saying that you won’t make it, or maybe even they’ll tell you that you’re doing good, but they won’t give you that amazing praise that you think you deserve for your life or any other part of your life. All that stuff is going to drive you deeper into the ground. It’s going to get you stuck.

What’s the solution to this? How do we solve this problem? You need to come to a realization right now. This is where the paradigm shift comes in. We’ve talked a lot about this stuff, but here’s the realization.

You need to admit – this is the first step – admit to yourself right now that the current strategy that you’re using, this strategy of seeking approval for your self -image, that this is a shitty strategy and that it’s time to drop it. You need to admit that to yourself because most people pleasers won’t even get this far. They don’t like being people pleasers, but they never take this first step of really thinking it all through and saying, “Wait a minute, this is a strategy I’m using. It’s an overarching life strategy and it’s just not going to work. There’s no way it can work”.

When you think your strategy is correct and you think it’s going to work, then you’re going to keep doing it so you need to admit that it’s not going to work. Hopefully I’ve tried to convince you a little bit of it here and I’m going to continue to do that as we keep talking here.

You can do your own work and investigation to really convince yourself that this is true. I guarantee you that it’s a good move to make, to move away from this strategy. Of course you have some reservations.

Your brain doesn’t want to do it because… you have a lot of good reasons. Potential fears of what might happen to you, what might happen to your success in life that you currently already have and that you’re clinging to, you might wonder what will happen to your relationship, you might wonder what’s going to happen with you, you might tell yourself that you’re not being authentic if you’re not a people pleaser, all this various stuff comes up which is natural because your brain uses all those reasons and stories to keep you grounded in your present strategy.

You need to bust through that and you need to decide right now that the best course of action for you, the best strategy is to become completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others. This means that people will come and will praise you, you’ll take that praise but it won’t change your trajectory. You won’t need that praise, you won’t thirst after it.

Also, it means that if people come and they criticize you, they laugh at you, they make fun of you, they have a negative image of you whatever that means then that’s also okay. You’re not going to be triggered by it. The game that you’re playing right now – it is a game, this upholding of the ideal self-image – the problem is that it can’t be won. It can’t be won because what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to make every opinion out there exactly the way you want.

You Can’t Control Other People

You’re basically trying to control other people. You’re trying to control the imaginations of other people.

It’s nuts what you’re trying to do. It’s not going to work. It’s too much work to do it. One of the other reasons it’s not going to work is simply because opinions are very random in nature, very capricious.

What that means is that a lot of times what people think about you says very little about you and your art, or your work, or your looks, or your personality, or anything else about you. It says a lot more about that other person. Think about it.

Hasn’t that happened to you when you were in a bad mood yourself, something bad happened to you. Maybe you got a flat tyre earlier that morning on your way to work. Maybe you skipped out lunch and dinner and breakfast, you didn’t eat for a long time so now you’re a little cranky because you’re so hungry. Maybe you had a big breakup or a big fight with your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend.

Something like that happens to you and somebody else comes to you and asks you to maybe give you some feedback on the work that they did, or somebody else is in a conversation with you and they’re to get your opinion on something and then you chime in there and you’re negative, you’re hyper-critical, you say something off the cuff that’s insensitive, maybe criticize someone harshly or something like that. This is what happens with other people.

When you think that somebody’s criticizing your art, or is criticizing your looks, is making fun of you, or is giving you a sarcastic comment, there could be literally a million reasons for why they said what they said. It might not have anything to do with your art, or your looks or your value as a human being. It might simply be that that person had a breakup or a death in the family.

Maybe they don’t have a really good sense of art so their opinion isn’t worth as much as you think it is. Maybe they just skipped lunch and so now they give you a critique whereas if they didn’t skip lunch they would have given you a compliment. Very random. I want you to ask yourself, do you want to give your dreams and your vision that you have for your own life, do you want to put that in the hand of randomness? In the imaginations of other people that are out there, many of whom you don’t even know too well and a lot of them you don’t even respect that much, but you still take their opinions very, very seriously.

Ask yourself this question, “Can I live an extraordinary life if I’m dependent on random circumstances? Is that going to happen?” What you’re going to realize is it’s not going to happen. Your life right now is probably a lot less than it could have been if you hadn’t been working this people pleaser strategy for so long and so entrenched in it.

Are You Getting True Value From Any Of It?

Basically what we’re talking about here is that it’s okay for the following things to happen. It’s okay for someone to think that you’re an asshole. It’s okay. It’s okay for someone to think that your work is shit. That’s okay too.

It’s okay if somebody mocks you, if someone ridicules you, if someone makes fun of you, if someone makes you out to be a fool. That’s okay too. It’s okay if you don’t get that compliment that you think you deserve to get, or that you really wanted to get. All of this stuff you need to treat it as the wind blowing left one morning, right the next morning. You’ve got to treat it as though it doesn’t matter because here’s another deep realization you need to come into contact with.

There is nothing really that another human being can offer you of true value. This is a powerful realization that I had about five months ago that really helped me to get over this people pleasing thing. I started to realize that, wait a minute what is it really that somebody else, a human being is offering to me in terms of what’s really important? Are they really offering me fulfillment? How much fulfillment am I getting from this praise that I’m getting over here, this critical review that I’m getting here, this thumbs up that I get on my video, this nice comment that I get, this nice thank you letter that I get?

Don’t get me wrong, all that stuff is nice but if you’re a people pleaser you have to really tell yourself, “Wait a minute, what’s the value in all that stuff? Can another person give me something that’s truly valuable?” At first you might say, “Of course Leo, other people give us value all the time. Someone gave me some money, or someone gave me some sex or some love or a marriage, or….” all this stuff, but think about it a little bit deeper.

What you’re going to find is nobody can truly fulfill you. Sure they can give you some stuff, they can give you job opportunities and all that kind of stuff, and they can give you sex and love, but will that really fulfill you?

What you’re going to find is that this game that you’re playing of trying to uphold this self-image, you think that this upholding of this self-image somehow is going to fulfill you, but honestly it doesn’t really fulfill you does it? Even when it’s perfectly upheld it’s not that fulfilling. That praise that you got at work, that nice review you got in some magazine or under one of your YouTube videos, something like that, that can be nice but what happens?

A day or two passes, a week passes, a month passes you don’t even remember that you got it. You don’t remember what it feels like. It was just a nice little hit.

What’s a lot more fulfilling is to be on your own path in life, to be honoring your values, to be living to your dreams, to be living to your full potential in life, to be embodying your own values, to be fighting and championing those. That’s what’s really fulfilling. Creating your dream life, that’s what’s really fulfilling, not these little criticisms and praises that you get left and right.

It’s Okay To Be The Odd One Out

You don’t need to be upholding this self-image up there. Who cares if it gets a little bit of smudges on it once in a while? You need to accept that. Accept that your self-image will get tarnished and that people out there don’t need to be constantly validating it.

In fact, and I’ll get to this point a little bit even later in this video, that’s actually impossible. Those standards that you’re sending are simply guaranteed to fail. As a recap, you don’t need praise and you don’t need approval. Try to live into this in your mind.

You have to kind of trick yourself because this is unnatural for you. You’re a people pleaser so you think that you really need this approval, you really need this praise, you really need people to love you to think that you’re a good human being, but really it’s okay. You’re not going to die if people think that you’re a bad human being. You’re not going to die if somebody is criticizing you. You’re not going to die if a couple of people on this world think you’re an asshole which invariably they will.

It’s okay to challenge people, tell yourself this, it’s okay to do that. It’s okay to offend people. It’s okay to hold an unpopular opinion. It’s okay to not fit in all the time. It’s okay to be abnormal, to not be the average in society or your group of friends or the one that fits into your family.

It’s okay to be the odd one out and it’s okay for people to criticize you for that. It’s okay for people not to like you. It’s okay for people to think you’re stupid, or that your opinions are foolish, or that you’re flat out wrong, or that you’re an idiot.

In their mind, a people pleaser will tell himself, “Whoa, this stuff is horrible! I must avoid it at all costs!” Really if you go out and you actually experience more of this rejection, more of this criticism, you start to build up a tougher skin and you start to realize, “You know what, it just doesn’t matter that much. I’m going to be dead pretty soon anyways, there’s a lot more important stuff than a figment of the imagination in someone’s head over there”. That’s how you have to start to think.

You’re Going To Clash With People

If you’re going to be building a big life, you’re going to be going out there imposing yourself on the world, constructing something important, maybe challenging the status quo, you’re going to be clashing with people sometimes. As a people pleaser you don’t want to clash with people. You want everything to be nice and proper and prim. That’s not going to happen.

If you’re building a business, there’s going to be tension there. If you’re building a relationship there’s going to be tension. If you’re interacting with your friends there’s going to be tension. Tension comes from authenticity. When you’re authentic, the other person is authentic, there can be tension and that tension is also authentic tension. That’s actually okay.

That other person doesn’t mind it so much. Actually what that other person doesn’t like is you being fake. When you’re fake all the time just to avoid any sorts of conflict, it’s hard to be attractive not just in intimate relationships, but I mean anywhere. It’s hard to be attractive because you make yourself so bland. It’s like you take out anything that’s unique and special about you, you hide all that stuff behind your back so that nobody sees and then you present this pristine vanilla mask that you put on.

That kind of mask people aren’t engaged with it, they’re not excited about it, it’s not good for business, it’s not good for marketing, it’s not good for sales, it’s not good for your relationships or your love life and it’s really not good for your soul because when you do that your soul gets drained. You feel empty because all that stuff that’s unique about you that you put behind your back, that’s the stuff that makes you really fulfilled when you express it. Self-expression is really probably one of the biggest things that you’re sacrificing as a people pleaser.

When you’ve got a big vision and you’re going out there to build it, a lot of people won’t understand what your vision is about, especially at first. Your parents might not understand what you want to do for your career. They might not get it. They understand it they just don’t get it. They think it’s wrong.

Maybe your friends think that the personal development you’re doing is stupid. Maybe your partners at work or your colleagues think that some direction you have for the company or for some project is also wrong-headed in some way and they’re very critical of it, but you’ve got this vision. You’ve got your own values and you want to live those which means that you to have to put aside the opinions of those people who don’t see the vision yet.

This is one of the biggest struggles of being a visionary, is to deal with all the naysayers that are out there. You’ve got to develop some tough thick skin and you’ve got to do that even though you’re not going to have the feedback that you want. You’re not going to have the praise that you want up front. In fact you’re usually going to have criticism and maybe even ridicule. Think about that.

Which Would You Rather Have?

I think that’s ultimately my point here. You have to choose between whether you really want to uphold this nice shiny self-image that you’ve got, or you would rather build this beautiful dream life, do something powerful with your life. Which would you rather have because there’s definitely conflict between the two?

I think it’s time for you to choose this one over here. Your dreams, your extraordinary life, I want you to build that. Here’s how we’re going to practically do it. I’m going to give you an exercise. In fact I’m going to give you two exercises in this video because it’s important to actually put this into practice not just think about it.

The first exercise I’m going to get you going on right now. Here’s the one thing that you’re taking with you from this video. It’s this one single statement, “I am completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others”. Such a powerful statement.

It’s so powerful that I’m going to say it with you right here. I want you to say it with me three times in a row to let it sink into your mind. All right, ready? I’m going to guide you. “I am completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others”.

Again, say it with me. “I am completely independent of the good or bad opinions of others”.

Say it with me again, third and final time. “I am completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others”. Good.

This is a powerful statement. You don’t presently realize how powerful this statement is. Here’s my assignment for you. If you really want to get over this people pleasing thing then here’s what you’re going to do.

For the next ninety days straight, for five whole straight minutes you’re going to affirm to yourself with your eyes closed, “I am completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others”. You’re going to say that for five whole minutes, just repeat it over, and over, and over again and then doing that day after day, weekday and weekends, workdays and holidays for ninety days straight. If you do that, that’s going to be a very powerful impulse to reprogram the sub-conscious mind of yours which right now doesn’t believe this at all.

If you say this for ninety days straight, you’re going to be surprised at how simple something like this can be and yet still have a very powerful shift on your psyche so go ahead and do that. Don’t dismiss this as you’re going to be become some evil monster, or some asshole, or some cold-hearted person. This is not going to happen to you.

You Need A Little ‘Asshole’ In You

This might be a problem for somebody else. If I was talking to an audience of not people pleasers but psychopaths or murderers or assholes, if I was talking to people like that then I wouldn’t be giving this conversation to them. They need more empathy. They need a dose of empathy in order to get them back towards center.

You, you’re so off-center to this side here you don’t need more empathy. What you need is a little bit of cold-heartedness. Really it’s not cold-heartedness, it’s just not carry a fuck to put you on this middle path. That’s what you need. Don’t worry, you are not going to become evil, you’re not going to become monster, people are not going to hate you because you do this. In fact people will start to respect you because you find your spine in life and you get some sense of direction.

The final point that I want to leave you on is that you’ve also got to consider this, this game that you’re playing of trying to please everybody, even if you play this game perfectly, you do everything right, you’re the perfect human being for your parents, for your siblings, for your spouse, for your girlfriend, for your boyfriend, for your coworkers, for your friends, for your boss, you’re just the perfect human being for that random stranger that’s walking down the street you do everything the way they want, there are still going to be haters. There’re still going to be people that criticize you, there are still going to be people that think bad of you. I want you to really realize how much of a losing game you’re playing.

In your mind you might be telling yourself, “If I just did a little bit better, maybe if I was a little bit better with my parents, or with my relationship and my marriage, or with my job, then all of my problems would be solved. I would have this glowing self-image, it would be validated and pristine and then everything would be great”. That day is never going to come.

In fact the more you’re doing good stuff in life, the more assertive you are, which you need to be in order to accomplish big things in life, then the more attention you’re going to draw. You’re going to draw attention from people. Maybe you get a little bit of fame in your job, in your social circle, and as you’re drawing more attention just by the law of averages at least one person in a hundred is going to hate you.

They will just for any random reason hate how you look, hate how you sound, hate your ideas, hate your philosophy, hate everything about you, criticize your work, hate your work, hate your family, hate your friends. One in a hundred will think that about you so the more successful you become in life, the more of a tougher skin you’re going to need because you’re going to have lots of people who are going to be criticizing you in various of ways. That’s okay because you have to let go. You have to just release your clench.

Right now you’re got this pristine self-image that you’re just clenching so hard. You’ve got to just let it go. It’s like a fairytale that you don’t need anymore. It’s like that security blanket that you had as a little kid that made you feel safe and good. After you grow up a little bit you don’t need it anymore you can just leave it to the side and be a grown up. That’s what I’m encouraging for you here.

The Final Exercise

The final exercise, how do you stay up with this, how do you follow up and implement this stuff? Here’s what you should do. I want you to start going against the grain of what you’re used to, against the grain of people pleasing. I want you to become very mindful and conscious of all the little areas in your life where you are being fake, being inauthentic, sacrificing yourself for other people. It can be something extremely simple like maybe you get an email from your boss and instead of serving your kids dinner you feel like you have to sit down and instantly reply to your boss because you feel if you reply to your boss within thirty minutes of getting his email you’re going to look a little bit better in his eyes.

Maybe it’s a simple little thing like that where you’re being fake whereas if you were more authentic and grounded in your own values you might say, “Wait a minute, I should really finish with the kids here then I’ll answer the email later, or even the next morning”. Little things like that.

I want you to become very mindful of those and I want you to almost purposefully screw around with the system a little bit. Push people’s buttons a little bit. You need that. You’re a people pleaser so your pendulum’s swung all the way to this end you need to start swinging it back this way.

It’s okay if you even go a little bit towards the asshole and the cold-hearted zone right here because you’ll find your way back to the center. You’ve got to kind of trust yourself on this. Right now you need to apply some force in the opposite direction.

Here’s a very easy way to do this. Everyone has a Starbucks near them. We all have one near us everywhere in the world so you have no excuses. Here’s the exercise. I want you to do this at least once in your life.

Go to a Starbucks, preferably during a busy time when they have ten or twenty people in there. People are lined up ordering their coffees, maybe it’s the middle of lunch or something like that. Get in line, stand there, make sure there are some people behind you in the queue and then as you’re moving ahead when you get to place your order and you’re standing there as you’re about to walk up to the cashier, you just stand there and you start observing the menu as though you don’t know what you want to order.

You stand there and you stand for as long as you can but for at least a couple of minutes where you just stand there, your feet are totally planted the cashier is looking at you asking you to come forward to place your order, but you stand here like you don’t give a fuck and you mumble to yourself wondering what you’re going to order. You do that even though you know that there are ten, twenty, thirty people behind you that are eager to get their orders in otherwise maybe they’re going to be late to work. You stand there and you take that pressure.

That’s what I mean by going against the grain. You kind of go against the grain of society right here when you’re doing this. You take that pressure. People are going to be giving you weird looks, maybe someone’s going to tell you that you’re being rude, that you’re being careless, good.

You need that because you want to be this goody goody. You want to uphold this pristine self-image. You need some people to tarnish it for you and you need to tell yourself, “You know what, it’s okay if a couple of people in this world think that I’m an asshole. It’s even okay if I think I’m an asshole sometimes. It’s okay. It’s a better way to live”.

Wrap Up

All right, this is Leo, I’m signing off. I know this is a long video but this is something that was very near and dear in my heart and I know a lot of you have been asking about this so here you go. This is how to stop caring what other people think. If you apply some of this stuff I know you’ll get good results.

For me this has actually been one of the most fulfilling personal developments that I’ve got in the last year or two, it’s really releasing a lot of it. A lot of it I had to do because I’m YouTube so I get a fair share of criticism and negative comments. I get a lot of positive comments which is great but even those I have to also kind of wean myself off of that so I try to be more independent form the praise and the criticism. I think it’s good for everybody even if you’re not shooting YouTube videos it will be handy in your life too.

All right, this is Leo, I’m signing off. Go ahead post your comments down below I’d love to hear from you. Also, like this video, click the like button for me right now. The more people like this the more free content I can keep releasing. Also, share it with a friend if you would, throw it on Facebook.

Finally come and sign to my newsletter it’s right here It’s a free newsletter. You can sign up, I’m releasing new videos just like this every single week. I plan exclusive stuff for my subscribers coming up soon, a lot of exciting stuff that can’t be done through YouTube. It’s going to be on my website.

Really the reason you want to sign up besides all the bonuses and nice stuff is that I’m really passionate about helping you to create a passionate life. I want to give you the mindset that you need. A lot of advanced methods, deep stuff that I don’t find a lot of books, the stuff that I have to really dig deep to find. A lot of this comes from my own experiences, some of the clients that I work with.

I’ve been on this personal development journey for at least five years now, really strong, really thinking about it and this stuff has made big improvements in my own life, I’ve seen it make improvements in the lives of my clients. There’s so much more to discuss about how to become more authentic, more independent, more on track with your own goals, with your own values. How do you get all the pieces into place? This is just one piece. We want to get all the pieces into place because there are a lot of factors that are keeping you from having that successful, fulfilling life and I’m really excited about sharing all those with you so sign up and you’ll be on track with that every single week with updates.

Tip Jar
Tip Jar
Like this video?
Leave a tip
Come join the Forum! Meet like-minded people & transform your life.
Rafal says:

Thank you for this video! Extremely informative and true.
I was in the half way in order to understand this problem and this video helped me to redo this topic to the end.
Further I have to say that your presentations are great for this reason that you say in simple language well understood by the non english-native people like me.

Todd says:

Where are you at now with this, Rafal?

Stan says:

This is the most important thing I have ever listened to. Seriously, this is a life changer for me. I am committed to the exercises in this video. Thanks for the awesome video, Leo. This series is invaluable.

Bob says:

Another insiteful and excellent, thought provoking video (not to make Leo feel good about himself of course!). Like always, I appreciate the effort and advice/wisdom and there is so much to think about and review. There will be other comments as I review this again but for now, I would like to add to a part (around 14:30) that centers on the middle way. when Leo talks of honouring values, I feel it is important that people that can do this don;t accept their values at that moment as absolute and final. To be truely progressive is to think of these as a starting point that will ,no doubt, change as this new stance is taken and as this new perspective unfolds. One does not want to necessarily believe that what I think today will be what I hold on to from this point onward. These values have to be malleable and one has to accept letting go and adopting new ones as they become known. If not, it becomes a mind trick and can really turn one into an “asshole” if you’re not careful.

Leo Gura says:

Yes, values can change, although once you really do the work to discover them, they will be fairly constant for the rest of your life.

marta says:

my experience is that as i get settled as in I feel I got my set of values for this life – stuff like clarity, dignity and friendship – theres a wind blowing strong to stir it all up again and i find myself asking – so what is dignity actually? is friendship something that has to last forever? who am i to judge situations and decide if there was dignity or humiliation?
so i really wish for this situation of being done with the work to find my truth, but im starting to wonder if it is possible at all to be done with it. a friend of mine once told me the only constant in life is change. what is your experience on that?

Carla says:

Thanks a lot for this video, Leo. You are the best ever! Please keep it up !

Mara says:

Thank you. Your videos help me live more serene

John Byrne says:

Thank you

Phil says:

Thanks Leo, you summed up my bad life habit. I’ll certainly be practising the exercises.

reader says:

Thanks for the video! I agree that one shouldn’t be a people pleaser, but how about family? It is all OK what you said about strangers…but what about your partner. Certainly one should please their partner in order to maintain the relationship. If I behave like I dont care, they will understand that love is over. Will there be any video about this topic but in a family setting?

Leo Gura says:

If family you still have to have boundaries. But yes, more tact and care is required.

marc says:

The title you made there ” How to stop caring what people think of you” just mean simply for me ‘self expression’… and with this concept you can do anything confidently by words or actions. Keep it up Leo… i am very enlightened. Thanks .. you really dig that very important thing in my life.. you’re a genius !

Leo Gura says:

Yes, self-expression is a big part of it.

Dot says:

Thank you. Great video.

Raz says:

I really liked this video. The points you make are really interesting, and quite accurate.
I will try the exercise, for sure
thank you for your work!

Jennifer says:

I have a morning ritual of listening to your videos while I get ready for work everyone morning and I’ve loved them all but this was especially interesting because it was something I had not realized was holding me back. I swear sometimes it feels like you know me and you’re talking directly to me, but I’m so grateful I came across your videos. They’ve opened my eyes and kickstarted my development.

Leo Gura says:

Watching daily is a good way to drill this content into your brain.

Saeed says:

This was very good and helpful, thank you


Hi Leo,

“I am completely/totally independent of the good or bad opinions of others,” and this affirmation I have been doing for almost a month when I listened on to your video topic on becoming more confident. At first, I felt or saw that it has no effect at all, but then, as you said that we have to be committed on doing the exercise and not miss a single day, so I still continued on with it.

Once, I got an affirmation or praised by a friend that really made me happy, but then all of a sudden, an echo just hit my ears saying, “I am totally independent of the good or bad opinions of others,” ha ha ha…that blew me up… and had a realization that I am still awed by praises, though thanks to praises but I should not be carried away with words that will only matter for a day or two, much worse if I received criticism.

You are right, being OK and being cool to praises and criticisms should be the right thing to do, what’s important is knowing that you are grounded on your own values and that you can be fulfilled by yourself alone, moreso if you have good psychology.

Thanks Leo for this video and hope you keep sending more of your videos. I wish that you might want to speak on the topic of the the basic need of an individual..the need to be loved and to love…what is your take on this?

More power!

Leo Gura says:

Great! Good job on sticking with the affirmation. That’s how results are created.

kain says:

the worst part is when every one thinks about you in a different way. “which one are you”…..

Leo Gura says:

You’re none of them. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s little box. You are undefinable.

Rizwan Iqbal says:

Thank you for this video. I really needed that and I don’t think it could have come at a better time in my life (approaching my 20s). For too long I have lived a life of pleasing others to the point that a few people actually said it to my face. I realise that I need to get rid of this mentality and you have done a great job in giving solid advice. Thanks again.

Angella says:

Thanks a lot for your insight. I totally related to this kind of behavior but I am so much better now. You are doing an amazing job in all your videos. I do want to ask you though you say in this video that if your ego tells you that you are selfless, that means you are a selfish person. How can a person who has a people pleasing personality be selfish? I would be happy if you replay to me.

Leo Gura says:

People-pleasers are extremely selfish. All they care about is looking good and getting approval.

Raul says:

Yeah, I kind of have the same problem. I love my brothers and I know they love me but the thing is, they want me to act on a certain way. And it really pisses me off, because there was a time were I tried to act how they wanted me to but it was never enough, and now I’m actually trying to be more authentic with them but, whenever I do it I always feel as if they shut me out. =/

Shabbir Agha says:

Dear Leo,
You are absolutely correct if you are a pleasing person; then you are not leaving your life. In life you need to live with out thinking of what others will think about you rather do what your heart desire. I wish I could have seen this video 30 years back. Thank man your are a grate guru.
Shabbir Agha;

Ala says:

Well…I hope you go to heaven straight away..well I hope your soul ends up in Eden..even if you don’t believe in one!!!

Quirk says:

Thank you Leo. People-pleasing is crippling and I’ve realized that I’ve actually started off not giving a crap as a child and gotten more and more into this pathological way of thinking. (I wonder why? how?) I know these core principles because of the personal development that I’ve been working on but having it said straight to me and drilled into my mind that this is a losing game is so important.

For some reason, this game can be fun even though logically it can never be won. I think there’s a wonky part of me which feels that the ability to manipulate the thoughts of others about myself if I get good enough at it is sort of fun and powerful. Kind of messed up? The validation of being good at this game is amusing but probably horrible for growth.

But really, I am a people-pleaser as I can tell by how uncomfortable that Starbucks assignment made me just by imagining it. I think I should do it one day though, I imagine it to be fun after the initial discomfort of that description you gave. It would be fun in a liberating I-don’t-give-two-shits way.

I’m a usual lurker and I know you probably don’t care /too/ much about compliments and praise (because you shouldn’t). Thank you! You’ve brought a lurker out to make a comment and express regardless of potential praise or hate.

Sheena says:

This is so helpful. Thank you so much, Leo. I am learning a lot from your Youtube videos.

Doctor Parks says:

The middle area described, is the line between between being aggressive and assertive. Meaning you respect other’s rights but prevent others from infringing on your’s. People pleasers allow others to abuse them in order to maintain the relationship, sometimes at all costs. A$$holes often abuse others by infringing on their rights. Life is short and there is no time for discordant relationships that add the most stress to your life, even if that relationship is with a parent, spouse, sibling or child. You need to understand that you can be happy in life without any one person in it. When you do this, others will lose their power of control over you and you can start being yourself and taking care of your own needs. If the person decides,then, to stay in your life, that means they really care about your well being. If not, then they only were there to see what they could get from you.
Criticism is not all bad. It can help you grow and improve. Not all critics are trying to tear you down but maybe see a blindspot you have. You have to set your ego aside and objectively analyze it to see if there are any merits to it.If not, reject it. If so, then use it to improve yourself. If you are on a quest to self actualize, you first need a vision of what you are trying to achieve with yourself, and then, you should be constantly analyzing your own criticisms and maybe other’s, seek out helpful knowledge like this video, and have the courage and make the effort to keep changing and growing in a positive direction your entire life.

Alayne says:

Leo, what an amazing clip! Thank you! YOU are Amazing and have very much touched me what your words!

Saima says:

Thank you

Sadia says:

thank you for this really helped me alot ..

Monique says:

Once again, phenomenal information. Well done! This caused a major shift in me. Now when I walk into a public place I’m consciously thinking “I don’t even want to know what you think of me”. I’m so glad to be free of such an arbitrary thing! Maybe a more accurate title would be How to Start Ignoring What People Think of You because there will be those one or two people we do respect their opinion.

I’m so doing the 90-day challenge, but I do have a problem with the second exercise. While I totally agree that it’s OK to upset people, I don’t think it’s OK to walk into a Starbucks and upset people on purpose. When we start stepping on people’s rights in the name of personal development, we become part of the problem, not the solution. That’s why it’s called Disturbing the Peace. Learning situations come up naturally, we don’t have to create them.

Scott Witter says:

Great video! This one really hit a nerve with me. In a good way. Thanks for sharing and putting 100% into this topic. I must reach within and find my inner a-hole… lol. (actually I do). Thanks gain. Can you recommend any further reading on people pleasing?

Vignesh says:

Leo you were spot on! This is deep down I personally needed and you hit my spine right straight. Thanks for this amazing share. Loved your starbucks example.
Thanks again. Phenomenal depth.

Christine says:

Hi Leo & community,

I am so grateful for this video and only wish that I knew about it earlier in my life. I struggle with (not) knowing my authentic self due to my people pleasing syndrome and I am sick of it! So thank you for doing what you’re doing.

However there is one thing that I would like to add:

As a people pleaser, there is a lot of anger that has festered inside of my soul throughout the years of bottling up my desires to please others. It is key during our transition to not allow this anger to explode. I would like to give an example: I was crossing 5th Avenue in New York on a typical crowded day when a biker blew through the red light, nearly crashed into me and then called me a bitch while riding away. My anger exploded and I yelled back to him “You ran through the red light, A$$HOLE!” To then notice him slowly turning his bike around and coming straight for me. I had no clue what he was about to do but when he hocked a loogie at my face, I was almost relieved that he didn’t punch it instead.

So while we are making 30 angry people wait in a Starbucks line, let’s be very careful not to blurt out “FACK YOU!” at the person who tells us to move our a$$es. Because people out there are crazy and you don’t want to put yourself in a dangerous situation. As Leo said, “I AM COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF THE GOOD OR THE BAD OPINIONS OF OTHERS”. It takes time. See you in 90 days.

Leo Gura says:

Hahaha, quite the incident! Oh… you New Yorkers are angels

ReaderQ says:

Another suggestion I would give to stop over-valuing other’s opinions is to laugh in the face of criticism. I realize that when I laugh at someone’s snarky remark or when someone puts me down on for any reason, the joke’s on the person. I realize that I have probably offended people accidentally when I do this (it’s not intentional, sometimes I just find criticism to be funny) it’s definitely helpful in my experience.

Or I guess you can laugh after your boss walks away.

Leo Gura says:

Yes! That’s a great tactic! I laugh at all the stupid trolls on Youtube who talk shit about me.

Irina says:

))) love you!

Bob Par says:

I have to think about this more, but I must say, your presentation style is really different and effective. The pregnant pauses are sort of captivating. I realize you don’t give a shit what i think being that you’re not a people pleaser…. wait a minute, why is there a comment section? Are you letting the trolls screw with your life plan. Be careful. Ok, ok, just kidding. Was serious about your form. Very cool.

ReaderQ says:

Dear Leo,

I stood up for myself today. It felt absolutely awesome. You are at least partially the reason why I stood up to emotional abuse. Once is better than none. Thank you.

John says:

Thanks so much

John says:

I really appreciate your simple presentation style. I am embarrassed by what an ass kissing people people pleaser I had become. This video was transformative for me. The line was drawn, never to be crossed again.

lclaire says:


I can’t thank you enough for this gift and will begin reciting my 90-day mantra tomorrow!

When a coworker, boss, friend or student criticizes my work, hurts me emotionally, or doesn’t include me in an activity/project/social event, it feels worse than anything in the world.

Just this morning, I gave away my power and allowed myself to feel bad for not getting an invite to a friend’s home for Thanksgiving. I turned to my husband and said, “Why don’t they like me?” He said (all zen and stuff), “What other people think of you is not your business. Don’t let them live rent free in your head.”

My head started spinning and smoke came out of my ears. I said, “WTF does that mean anyway? I hate that quote and it makes no sense. Of course pp care what others think about them!”

After having a wonderful together, we came home and I googled the quote. Your seminar series came up. Now, that’s what I call the law of attraction! Would be hard pressed to find anything else as spot-on and transformative.

Mahalo for reaching out to the masses!

Brian Bink says:

I had to ask myself am I a people pleaser? Well I did some work around this subject in the past by not helping others, rocking the boat and found it helpful, it is about leaving your comfort zone like you described until you stop caring what other people think and also learning to say no which was groundbreaking for me. This truly puts us on the path to independence and personal freedom. Although helping others is important in life, doing it automatically before considering your own needs is people pleasing at it’s core. Thanks for this video.

Tiago Binz says:

Leo, I’ve been working very hard for these last months to stop being a people pleaser. I’ve made a big progress, but there’s something you said on this video that I don’t thing I understand. You said that there’s nothing really valuable that another human being could give me. But humans exchange infromations, right? They build knowledge together. I’d guess that at least 40% of what I know nowdays came from stuff that other people provided me with. Books, deep conversations, speechs and videos like yours. It’s very true that our emotional well-being shouldn’t rely on other people’s opinions, but I’d say that the experiences of other people can have a lot of value to our lifes…

Leo Gura says:

Information itself doesn’t really add much value to your state of happiness. When you sit in meditation, ask yourself if you need more information, or if everything is complete inside you already. Of what real value is that information to you?

Seeking knowledge can be a very real trap.

Paul Newcomb says:

But what if you need more information about how to properly meditate in order to reach a point where you can honestly say there’s no information you need while sitting in meditation? My problem seems to be that I don’t have enough clarity to recognize which information is actually valuable.

Ankit Patel says:

Hi Leo,

I happened to know about you on you tube while searching something on self help !

Saw this video in your site later !! Such an amazing impact over my thoughts thereafter !!

Something changed in me at thought level for sure. I was an extreme case of people pleaser and had a very protected self image.

First thing what I noticed in me is “Absence of Fear” right after I went to job next day.

That gave me immense peace of mind, turbulence was subsided.

My energy, which was consumed to worry all the time before is diverted to perform my job better. I don’t care what people think about me now, I do my best. Period.

I dropped a concept of nurturing my self image on mercy of other’s feedback.

After 30 years of my life I am feeling truly Happy about my life !! (BTW I am 31)

I am grateful that you are born and had this video for me

Bless you !! Lot of Love !!

Ankit Patel

steve says:

Leo, This has To be One Of your Best Vids…very Outstanding…Leo, I Am The Ultimate People Pleaser!…And Perfectionest! Whooo! HOOOO!…
Im 52 years Old and Very Weary…

I Can make Friends Very easy…But….I have Literally Shunned Any Friendship For Years because Of the list of People That “Want” From me as It is….
( Friends have Always Been Money Out of My pocket and And Major Drain On My Soul) Period.

I Probably Will Never Change That View at This Time….But I truly Loved The Vid and How Much You Hit Me ” Right in The Breadbasket” as They Would say…Back In The Day….
Im Going to Listen to This Over and Over…..And Do Your Exercises….

And NO!….. Im Not Trying To Be Your Friend.!……..HA!!…Leo, You Said To Push The Needle!!???….Right!???…………

Thanks So Much, Leo….. Steve

Anna says:

Leo, thank you so very much again. This video is sopowerful. I used to be one of those who depended on who thinks what. Not anymore, because I realized that it was ruining my life, destroying my health. This video confirmed that I am on a right track by not caring about what whoever says about me. Well, almost whoever. Leo, I am not sure if it is fair to be an asshole for innocent people as an example at Starbucks. Other than that, thank you for this video. By the Way, I was thinking about who you are, such a powerful one. So, it was nice to know that you are from Russia. Me too. I am proud of having something in common with you, Soviet Union. Thanks again. Best, Anna.

Dean says:

Hi Leo, I’d sincerely like to thank you for creating this video. Watching at midnight, and hearing that paradigm shift you mentioned about 1/3 of the way through (about being controlled by a figment of someone’s imagination) just left me staring at a wall for two minutes with my mouth wide open because of that sudden realisation that occurred.
One question though – how do you ignore people that intend to make you ignore/change your values? (More specifically, haters, as they’re known on the Internet, although the ones I’m facing are ignorant and fabricate evidence for their claims, and I’m very evidence-based) This video was really powerful, but it didn’t quite shake off the criticism that I’m getting spinning around my head. (I’m a sensitive guy). I’ve just been shrugging it off by saying GWRTHWYNEBIAD! (OBJECTION! in Welsh) loudly in my head but they keep coming back.
P.S. The E-mail box is too small to fit my address on, so to let you know, it ends with a ‘.com’, not ‘’ or ‘.cymru’.

Dal a ti!

Todd says:

I wish I had posted up the day I started my 20 minutes of meditation. But i THINK I’ve been doing it at least 30 days now.
So, I’ll know for sure when my 90 days of this are up; because unlike meditation, I don’t plan on doing this exercise ad nauseum.
One different take on the second exercise you had us do, which also involves going to a Starbucks by the way. Simply lie down on the floor, on your back, for ten seconds–preferably at a busy time.
That will get your opinionator radar going at a real clip!

Leo Gura says:

Oooo… that’s a good one! Me likey

ReaderQ says:

I did this on the NYC subway! It wasn’t too busy at the time but there were humans there.

Todd says:

Ok, made it this far. I did lose my streak on meditation yesterday. But I did get to 30 days.
Started back up on meditation today.

Todd says:

Lost the streak at around six days but back on it…Day 2 today

Lara says:

Hi Leo,
I’m so glad I found this video. I am a people pleaser and it has always bothered me. However, I didn’t know which way to take to stop being so influenced by what others think about me.
An year ago I moved to another country to learn English and even though I’m conscious of the improvement I’ve made since I came, I still care too much about how I may sound to others.
The thing is, most of the time when I need to have a conversation with native speakers or even with people who speak better than me, my mind goes blank and I’m not able to express myself well. I know that happens because of my lack of confidence and I wanna change this scenario.
I’ll try out the shift you mention on the video and keep working on my self improvement.
Thanks a lot for sharing this powerful video.

Josie says:

Hi! This video is great for starters.

I would really really love to see a video about how to stop being so sensitive.
Or how to stop being so easily offended.
Or how to stop being so defensive.
I see this problem in myself, and so many people!
When you get a chance!
Thanks Leo!

Dennis K says:

Hi, Leo:

Thanks for this great video. Quick questions, any books you recommend that will go further on this topic? I really like to go deeper.


Anna M says:

Hey Leo, I’ve just discovered your videos a couple of days ago and have been hooked ever since. I’ve been in a funk for a couple of years, not doing what I was meant to do and started to believe myself to be a “victim”.. that is how I found your videos on youtube. Currently, I’m reading several self help books and talking to a life coach as well. But your videos really address everything, everything about enlightenment, the ego, relationship codependency, truth… watching your videos feels like a good friend is talking to me, saying all the things I need to hear. What surprised me in this video was that you came to the States when you were 6, from Russia.. and I thought maybe I was imagining it- but I was wondering if you were Russian..I came to the states in ’93 from Russia as well, and the whole blending in and adapting with my family thing was a lot to overcome. Thanks so much for sharing and putting out all this love into the world.

Alvin says:

Thanks Leo, great video. I like to share personal development videos with my kids so they can learn this at early age, but I can’t share some of your videos because of the language used. Do you have kid’s friendly videos?

Konstantin says:

(sorry for my bad English)
I am 24 years old and I started working as a lawyer 2 years ago. Being a not a social person, it is very hard for me to do speeches in courts which is a huge part of my job. Recently it became so hard that sometimes I just cannot speak. Each court trial became a real torture for me. And also I believe that I do not have a strong fear of pubic speeches. It is some kind of other fear.

After watching this video, I realized that probably I have a huge need in other people (boss, judge, clients, etc.) approval of inner image of myself as a confident and not-worrying lawyer (which I am not). So this pathologically strong need to get approval from other people of my image of myself led me to extreme stress and anxiety in each situation when I need to say all those “law things”, especially in court.

I think I feel that this affirmation “I am completely independed from good or bad opinions of others” must help me. I also started doing daily meditation. From yesterday I started doing this affirmation also. And I repeat it not just 5 minutes daily, but before/during a situation when I am stressed and anxious because of other’s opinions. I really rely on this practice and I hope it will help me.

joe says:

Hey Leo
Your videos are amazing and Im actually loving pushing myself and trying out your ideas and techniques. do you reckon you could make some More videos on social skills like improving your sense of Humour and being more witty.

gpreddy says:

Hi Leo,

I have watched so many videos before I stopped at yours. Its really helpful.
I am having Anxiety and Stress issues which are intern effected every part of my life( work, Life, Health). I was/am people pleaser and being good and doing good was my moto.(Atleast Feeling inside like that) In that process I lost myself somewhere which I did not even notice and stressed and useless and I observed it really does not matter for me on how good I am. The outside world is same almost. After watching your video I clearly understand that my people pleaser habit is the main reason for my stress and anxiety problems. I am fortunate to get your session on this topic and will watch it till I get it to heart.


JT says:

You are the man brother. Amazing work. My quality of life has improved dramatically and I have issues.

TAURUS guided by LEO

ray ray says:

Leo, u r so right on. After years of being abused I have realised that I always want to keep the fucken peace
To make nice and keep nice. No one will
get their ass kicked then. It just doesn’t work and is very tiring.

Coco says:

Hi Leo,

This is the first video that I got me addicted to watching all your videos.
I was a people pleaser for a very long time… even now I am still working on it but feeling much better after your advice. I had developed severe anxiety and depression when people around me stopped praising me, I felt so worthless and like I just wasn’t good enough to do anything. I started to neglect myself and my thoughts to try go with the flow of everything. But that didn’t work out well because I had developed a very bad and abandoned relationship with myself. Now after watching your videos, I finally understand how stupid I was to let other peoples’ opinions control my life. I now spend every day paying attention to my inner self and my values, and it has really helped me move forward in my life.
I will be independent of any good or bad opinions of others!

Ps. This is also the first time I’ve ever had the courage to comment on a video online, but I really wanted to express my gratitude. Thank you Leo

WM says:

Leo, you have explained something to me that I’ve never quite understood. You see, I don’t much like pious people, and I have often wondered what it is about them that I don’t like. After all, many of them are very “nice” and do lots of good deeds. In this video, you’ve managed to identify what it is I don’t like – there’s a lack of authenticity about them. Pious people suppress their authentic selves in order to try and emulate a religious ideal that really isn’t them at all. As a result, they are all vanilla sameness – all their “un-nice” quirky character traits vanish, and they turn into self-sacrificing, altruistic do-gooders with no character flaws. BORING! Where’s the individuality? Where’s the annoying personality traits that make them unique? You have managed to explain to me why I find people who live their lives according to religious ideals to be unattractive – the suppression of all their “bad” bits makes them all seem the same – they come across as dull and fake.

Mojtaba Bahadorifar says:

Hi Leo. This video is very helpful and gives me a lot of consciousness. I want to start exercises that you said here. Thank you.

Pedr says:

Holly crap
That’s the shit I’m talking about
I have always been in the middle independent to the good or bad options of others
but in the last couple of years I have been through a few deep personal things and many people have asked me to defend myself and it is impossible to defend innocence so I gave up and played their games to their rules witch forced me to become a people pleaser
And that shit sucks
I lost my independence and myself and have been struggling to get it back until now
I’m not a do gooder or an asshole
I am me and you are legend

Julie says:

Thank you. I have been aware of my issue and thought I was dealing with it. However, some of the items you discussed were very difficult to hear. Also, as you touched on delaying an email reply or the Starbuck’s assignment, I actually had heart palpitations. After watching this video I watched “How to be Myself”. This is very good and helpful information – (is it just your opinion? LOL) Again, I thank you probably need to re-watch everyday for the next 90….

Sabrina says:

Thank you Leo. It was great video. I think that clause: ” I am completely independent of the good or bad opinions of others” is AMAZING!

Vailrose says:

Leo…. your amazing… I’m truly filled with gratitude that you logically and gently not only made me laugh at times but confirmed my thoughts that the gustiness I need is “ok” to demonstrate. Looking forward to being my authentic self and getting rid of the old people pleaser me!!
I think the attitude of “their guilty until proven innocent” with my perception of what others think of me is my new philosophy. Looking forward to many more of your topics!

Heather says:

Oh. My. Mind blown. This is exactly my issue. Glad to know there is a solution and some freedom from this burden. Thank you!

Ambarka says:

Leo, thank you for being here.

Chaya says:

Wow Leo.
Been watching some of your videos lately and you really hit the nail on the head.
So helpful, insightful and informative. Please don’t take this as a compliment but rather a reason to keep doing what you do.
You are helping so many people lead better more fulfilling lives.

And thank you for not charging!! It is so nice to have a website I can go to for help in bettering myself and my life without having to pay thousands of dollars for it.

Dave says:

OMG, Thanks Leo for this Video, I am 53 and this issue has been with me as long as I can remember. Thanks for your work here and willingness to share your knowledge with others. I have signed up with you and working away on my issues.
If you ever visit Victoria BC Canada, the door will be open for you here !

April says:

Part of me feels like I am very similar to the pre-actualized Leo. Actually we’re nearly the same age, so that contributes to the similarities too. But the “wanting to be goody goody”, oh heck yes. It’s burned me SO bad, to the point where now, I noticed I actually have a very negative outlook on people. I allowed them to use me and I got super angry that when you leave people to their own devices and to use you as they wish, they will not be careful with you and they will not try to be nice to you, even if that’s what you’d do for them. I came from a super small town, so this was a hard lesson for me to learn.

This info helps me greatly, because I need to come around full circle to, from goody-goody in my teens and early 20’s (actually voted class nicest person before graduating high school. haha), to resolving the anger I have now for letting people tear away at me. If I put up the proper boundaries and establish my own values and direction, I won’t be such a victim for the negative agendas of others. It’s true I need to build a stronger core and operate from that-navigate my life from the inside out, rather than outside; which yeah, now that you mention it, is pretty freaking stupid. lol

This is very great stuff. Nearly everything on this site helps me huge leaps and bounds. And I’m drawn to absorbing as much of it as I can to take up work again on myself. I’ve gone from a mess to stable in my 20’s, but now that I’m stable, it’s a perfect time to kick it up a notch again and peel back some more layers of ineffectiveness in my mind.

James says:

Thank you Leo for taking the time and energy to make this video. It’s awesome and I’m thankful I found you and your videos. This is the third time I’ve watched the video and have been practicing the first exercise for a few days now and already feel a change taking place.

Bless you,

Laurens says:

You are Dreams Get Sidelined?

Michael Skvortsov says:

I consider myself to be closer to the middle path than being “people-pleaser” “in shining armor”, but still, I find myself being afraid of what people think of me, not because of me worrying about my self image, but because I am afraid of what others might do to me, even though there’s rationally little chance of getting even a slight physical damage.
Today my grandmother passed away and as my father was telling me about this on the phone I didn’t get as much sadness and grieve about this as I got anxious and nervous and irritated, because now I’m going to be forced to attend a funeral which I really don’t want to (I think it goes against my values, because I’m not even visiting my best friend’s grave, but I still warmly remember him and consider it to be enough). Also, my mother and, in a lesser way, my father are toxic people in my life. Yet even though I’m trying as best as I can to cut them from my life I still feel the criticism of any such action (sometimes I even consider it to be my mother judging me in my own head). I feel obliged to follow our cultural traditions but I feel strong resentment towards that feeling of obligation. I want to break out of this neurotic cycle but I really don’t know how to do it. I just hope that with time and effort this concept of not caring what people think of me will sink into my subconsciousness and I will break through this barrier.

P.S. Leo, I love watching your and Shinzen Young’s videos. Thank you for being who you are

Nicole says:

Hey Leo,
First of all, I love your videos and I’d really appreciate some insight right now. I’m a very analytical person, and I find that I’ll have a period where I am fairly conscious, and then I’ll kind of subconsciously slip back to being unconscious because I am finding no solution to the issues that are rising when I think about how I am comparing myself to others constantly, and it’s painful to look at; it’s as though I cannot bring my thought to the surface and then let it go, instead I dwell and I try to think of a solution of how to stop myself from doing it because I know it does me no good, and I don’t want to keep dwelling on it, so it seems easiest to just drop it completely, though I know that’s not the right direction to be what is?

Simona says:

Great video Leo, I started watching all of them.I want to develop myself more. I would be interested to know what can i do to become more assertive?Like what would be the first steps.Thank you!

Minh says:

Thanks but you talk too much and give solutions, answers, keys, exercises everywhere and it’s hard to follow everything everywhere every video. I’m always worry that I’d miss something I need to do here and there even after taking note.

SO PLEASE /inspire/ /enlighten/ /tell me what to do at once/

Jim says:

Hi Leo,
My favorite video. I’m 61 and have been this way my whole life. Always trying to please my dad, as a kid, but never could. Carried it on to trying to please everyone when I became an adult. Very bad way to live. Thanks Leo for this freeing video.

Antonio says:

Hey Leo

Just a little remark.
I thought affirmations should be stated in the positive and shouldn’t have no negations.
Isn’t independent (in ‘I am completely independent of the good or the bad opinions of others’) a negation of dependant thus by definiton not good ?
I think your mind could maybe take it as actually being dependant, we don’t want that, do we ?

Afonso Matos says:

Aren’t your insights valuable? How can no human beings give you anything valuable? What about the authors of books that have changed my life, what about you uploading these videos? I can’t grasp the idea that no human being can you anything truly valuable.

Andrea says:

Hi Leo, Very helpful video! After listening to it 3 times I had an interesting insight. My self image is not that of a people pleaser. So by replacing people pleaser with my self image in your talk, I got it, it finally hit home for me! It made total sense. And thus I never realised how important it is to be grounded in your own values until now. Many thanks!

octavia smith says:

I want to thank you Leo for all of your many , many videos!!! you are indeed a blessing in my life.

Princess chenge says:

Why tf did u sign ur name after like ure an important person lol

Heidi says:

Thanks a lot Leo. You have a brilliant mind! I wish I could meet you in person.

marmalade says:

Thank you for this video is has helped me with this issue my whole life.

DiDi says:

This video is really great like all of others your works! But I have a problem with this theme cause I think that when we stop thinking of others we become a really self-lovers…people that stay like that at Starbucks and start choosing what they want only near the cashbox are very disturbing to each one in the society.

Stian says:

Hey m8, if you dont know already, you cant like your videos directly from your website, and if you would like more likes, or subscribers, you might put an like button here aswell. Cheers, thanks for sharing your videos

Hi Leo I watched ur video and did ur affirmations daily and it helped me stop people pleasing completely but then I stopped doing the affirmations at some point when I became More and more occupied and had not less time then I started slipping back into people pleasing and after a whole became a full people pleaser once again. I restarted the affirmations and watched the video again and again but this time it seems to have no impact on me anymore the affirmations do not help I do not know of it is because my mind got used to the affirmation and it lost Its meaning but it does not works anymore no matter how many times I do it. I need help please what can I do? Nothing seems to be working anymore

Princess chenge says:

Fuck you leo Ive told you before there are no Starbucks in Nigeria Change that shit

Princess chenge says:

Leo Ive been doing this for how many weeks getting to like 4 weeks and I sill havent seen any tiny change Im still like the first day I started What should I do Can u recommend something else Can u change my chants cuz I think this one my brain hasnt gotten used to it and it doesnt have any effect again because I have done this beforehand and it worked I just fell of the bandwagon

Mike says:

Great informative video mate!

Leave a Comment
What color are lemons?*