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人の目なんて。 気にしてられないと思えるようになる。

You can't concern yourself with what other people think.

I saw this on a TV show where the hosts were talking about coming out in public if you are gay. They had both come out of the closet and were saying what a positive thing this is to do. I'm pretty sure I translated it accurately. However, I have some questions on the intricacies of the grammar.



would mean: "can't concern" "can't be concerned"



means: "come to think that/ come to terms with"

so put together it literally means:

be able to come to the point where you aren't concerned with what other people think.

Is this right?

To further clarify, here is a link to the original clip. The part I quoted is from 3:00-3:20

The speaker actually says something extra between と and 思える but I can't make it out. If anyone would care to tell me, I'd appreciate it.


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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

That is one sentence, and られない here is a colloquial contraction of いられない. Therefore, the sentence before the contraction is:


Let’s consider the first half and the last half separately.

人の目なんて気にしていられない。 I can no longer care what people think of me.

As you correctly interpreted, 人の目を気にする means “to care what people think of (the subject).”

なんて signifies that the speaker considers the thing or the person preceding it as unimportant. In the English translation above, I did not include any words which directly correspond to なんて, but I hope that the nuance is clear. If I have to include this part explicitly, I would go with “I can no longer care about nonsense like what people think of me.”

The phrase ~ていられない means “cannot ~ any longer.”

~と思えるようになる。 I reach the point where I can think that ~.

This is as Axioplase explained. 思える has a few usages, but I think that in this case, it is clear from the other parts of the sentence that 思える is simply the potential form (可能動詞) of 思う, meaning “can think.”

So the whole sentence means…

人の目なんて気にしていられないと思えるようになる。 I reach the point where I can think that I can no longer care what people think of me.

Ok, I admit that this translation is incomprehensible. A more natural translation may be:

I come to succeed in convincing myself that I can no longer care what people think of me.

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Thank you Mr. Ito! I actually like your first translation better. here are two other attempts people gave me, I'd like to post them for the benefit of others studying: You come not to concern about what other people think of it. 周りの人がそれをどう思うか気にしなくなる。 You cannot afford to ... 気にしている余裕はない。 気にしていられない理由によって表現が変わるかも知れません。 –  yadokari Oct 7 '11 at 3:01
I just don't care what people think about me. とか I don't mind how odd I look / if people think I look weird. ってことだと思います。 –  yadokari Oct 7 '11 at 3:02

Let me try to break it down:

  1. 人の目なんて : Lit: Things like people's eyes. (How people look at you)

  2. 気にする: to mind/care/concern about

    • 気にしている: (ongoing state)

    • 気にしていられない: (negated potential ongoing state) (Cannot be caring about ~)

  3. ~と思える: to appear/seem ~

  4. ~ようになる: to (gradually) reach the point where ~

Literal combination yields:

"[person] has reached the point where it seems that [person] cannot be caring about things like people's eyes".

Or naturally parsed as:

"I/You have come to the point where it seems that I/you cannot be concerned with how others look at me/you"

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I see your point on と思える meaning to seem/appear, however as a set phrase with ようになる i think it means "come to think that". I looked the whole phrase up on alc and was given four examples:1.) (人)は自分には人を動かす力があると思えるようになる help someone to feel like a mover and shaker(主語のおかげで) 2.)〔that以下〕だと思えるようになる come to think that 3.)ささいな不安など大したことではないと思えるようになる put small worries into standpoint [viewpoint, perspective, point of view](主語によって) 4.)今我慢していることを好きだと思えるようになる learn to love what one is resisting –  yadokari Oct 6 '11 at 3:56


思えるようになる -> to come to being able to think

気にしてられない -> negative of (passive of 気にする) -> negative of (to stand out) -> not stand out

Result: reach the point were you can think people don't look at you like a freak.

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thanks for your input. I am not familiar with 気にしてる meaning "standing out " though... i think flaw and I were closer to the correct meaning. Unless you are extrapolating, the freak meaning is from outside context, no? –  yadokari Oct 6 '11 at 4:24
@yadokari 気にする: to pay attention to. 気にされる or 気にしていられる: to be in a situation where people pay attention to oneself -> to stand out. For the freak part, yes, I'm extrapolating, but not that much, considering how gay seem to me to be accepted here… –  Axioplase Oct 6 '11 at 9:29
This is incorrect. られ in 気にしてられない is not passive but potential. 気にしてられない is a colloquial contraction for 気にしていられない, and I do not think that られ in the phrase いられる can ever mean passive. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 6 '11 at 12:14
@TsuyoshiIto How about 思える? Does it mean "to seem" or is it the potential form of 思う meaning "be able to think that ~". Or is the potential form of 思う equivalent to 思える? –  Flaw Oct 6 '11 at 23:39
@Flaw: I am not sure why you ask me, but it seems to me that 思える in the question is simply the potential form of 思う, meaning the same thing as 思うことができる. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 6 '11 at 23:47

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