Updated: May 23, 2020
One of the most freeing things I've experienced since learning to think mindfully, is the release I've felt from a heavy, self imposed burden I was carrying around....the importance of other people's opinions. I used to think I had some control over what other people thought of me. Or at the very least, that I could (and should) act in a way where most people would have nice things to say about me.
I see now, how futile and disempowering those efforts were because here is how it really works....
Let's say I do something. I do this thing from where I stand. The life I've lived until now, and some expectation of the live I hope to live from here on. Its a thing I felt I should do and now I've done it.
You observe this thing I do. Maybe it affects you and maybe it doesn't. Maybe you have strong feelings about what I've done or none at all. You're feeling (or not feeling) these feelings because of the life you've lived up until this point and the perspective(s) on life you've formed as you went. You also have an idea of where you would like to go from here, and maybe as it relates to that, you have strong or moderate or ambivalent feelings about what I've done.
Do you see how many variables are at play?
How can we possibly claim any kind of control over how others perceive what we do and say? And when we wake up to how impossible that task is, why oh WHY would we ever place more importance on someone else's opinion of us than of on our own?!
WE CAN'T & WE SHOULDN'T.
But the desire to do so is real and primal.
We want to fit in.
We want to be loved.
We mistakenly think that experiencing that love and belonging has anything to do with us acting in a way that 'earns it'.
But I'm here to let you off that hook my friend. You are worthy of love and belonging exactly as you are. Act in a way you feel is true to your values. Act in a way that you are proud of and that is life giving to you. You will attract a group of friends who see you for that and who vibe with your values. You may also repel a group of people who don't vibe with your values and don't understand your motives.
THAT IS OK.
The goal here is to be real and mindful with yourself. To take action and live from a place of integrity and authenticity to your best self. As Bréne Brown writes so beautifully, you must first feel belonging to and within yourself. And when you feel at home there (ie. you care more about your own opinions about life and yourself than what others may or may not be saying about you), you will feel at home everywhere.
Releasing control over what other people think about you empowers you to live more authentically & freely. The beautiful by-product of this effort is the relaxed understanding you will begin to feel for others, the actions they take and the complex road they have travelled that has brought them to you.
WIN | WIN