How many times have you stopped doing something that your heart aspires to do because of what others may think?
We are all victims of this. Including myself.
As I am writing, there are still some things that I am very passionate about and have been a big part of my life that I keep secret.
I am sure you can all relate to one thing or another that you hold back from talking about or even writing about – just in case there is that ‘one’ person who will think less of you.
One of our most enduring social paradoxes is the idea that what others think of us actually matters. It has become one of our greatest obstacles to self-acceptance.
Freedom comes when we stop caring about what others think of us.
Children with dreams become adults with vision
We do all of this unconsciously.
Once upon a time, as a child, whatever we most wanted to give to the world then – we were told we couldn’t do that or we would not be accepted in society if we did.
This doesn’t necessarily need to come from a parent. It could have been a teacher, friends or maybe even a commercial or movie that had a huge impact on who we are today.
Let me ask you some questions.
When you were a child, what did you most love to do?
If you could have a magic wand and the world would instantly be the way you want it to be, how would it be different?
If you were to stand in your absolute truth, what would you be doing?
What would you do differently if you weren’t concerned about what others thought of you?
What insights do the answers to these questions give you?
Embrace the freedom of not caring
When you do not seek or need approval, you are at your most powerful. True freedom comes from not worrying about what other people say about you.
David Icke talks about it all the time. He says, ‘the greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think.’
When you truly don’t care about the opinions of others, you have reached a wonderfully awesome level of freedom.
Otherwise, you are living your life controlled by other people.
What others think of us is not our concern
In the book The Four Agreements, author Don Miguel Ruiz talks about how we must not take anything personally.
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. Their own dream.
When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be a victim of needless suffering.
Time to ponder over these questions:
What are some of the ways you have taken things personally?
Do you believe the opinions of others are more important than your own?
Do you take it personally if someone disagrees with you?
It takes courage to stand in your truth
We are so bound to these beliefs that we must do or say the right thing in any situation.
For example, outdated relationships. The ones where we constantly ask ourselves, ‘What would they think of me if I left?’
I can’t tell you how many individuals I speak to on a regular basis who remain in an unhealthy and unhappy relationship all because of what their family would think and say about them.
Another example is those who want to treat or invest money in themselves – only to withdraw in case their partner chews their head off for having such aspirations.
We could go on for pages with examples.
This applies to all areas of life, work, career, relationship, religion – absolutely everything that we do.
Life is too short to worry about what others think
Imagine that you have been told you have five years left to live.
In terms of your work and life, what is it that you most want to accomplish in your remaining years?
Now, imagine yourself on your deathbed, filled with regret, with a painful sense of having missed your life’s calling. What is it that you most regret not accomplishing?
Imagine yourself on your deathbed again. This time, imagine that you feel at peace with the world and ready to pass on. Your friends and family surround you. You feel as though you have completed what you came here to do in this life.
What do you consider to have been your most important accomplishment?
More than anything, what do you want the message of your life to have been when all is said and done?
How could you best exemplify this?
Reclaim your life
You see, if we allow the fear of failure, rejection or opinions to dominate us, we are not living our lives to the fullest. We are living our life through others. We have given our power away.
However, with a little practice, we can become more conscious, aware and catch ourselves when we are about to take something personally.
It is important that we stay in our centre and radiate life. Every individual must be a joy to themselves, first and foremost.
Next time you observe your attention lingering on others, try telling yourself, ‘this is not about me, it is about them’.
Then, step by step, see the transformations that take place in your life.