Do you worry about what other people think about your work? About the way you do your hair? The car you drive? Whether your joke was funny? Humans constantly search for approval and if we don’t have it, then we think we are nobody. There is a saying that humans can go longer without food and water than approval (aka attention from others). We are funny, funny creatures.
Letting go of what other people think in recent years has given me a personal freedom that is immeasurable. I seriously feel like I have superhero powers!
Btw, if I were a superhero, I would be Kung-Fu Panda.
Before I elaborate, let’s be real here. I still care to some degree what other people think. We all do. If not, I would be running around the street naked. Think about it – whether you want people to like you or hate you, everything you do is based on what others will think and who you are in this world.
I used to care A LOT what other people thought of me. It ruled my life. I let it define who I was.
It was to the point where if someone tried to sell me something, I would feel bad and purchase it, even if I had zero need for it. Or I would lie and say, “I’ll think about it,” without any intention of ever going back. I would say yes to going on dates or make stupid excuses because I felt bad turning people down. I lost confidence if someone made fun of the way I did something. If someone didn’t like my photography, I thought I sucked. Caring what other people think seriously ruled my life.
Then it hit me. Whether it is positive or negative, is there any truth to what other people think? If someone says, “You’re ugly,” is that true? All it is is a thought coming from a person’s brain based on their own story. Something meaningless. The only thing that makes it true is if I agree with it. Same goes if it’s a positive statement. If someone says, “You’re beautiful,” that is also meaningless. You can appreciate the compliment but it doesn’t define who you are. Only you can decide that. Everyone has his or her own view. The only person’s I really care about is my own.
Now, when people ask me something, I am able to give much more direct answers, so much that sometimes people are shocked at the answer. People are so used to excuses that when they hear such honest directness, it sounds weird. I’m sitting next to one of my best friends right now and she said, “Hey, do you want to join this book club?.” I said, “No, I can’t commit to it right now,” and then I caught myself and said, “Actually, I meant, I don’t want to commit to it right now.” Because the truth is that if I really wanted to, I could join the book club. If it was something I was truly interested in, I would make time for it. But it’s not. So the answer is no, I don’t want to. Of course she knows me well and is never offended. But sometimes people do get offended and you know what? I think it’s funny.
Another thing I have done is eliminate the word “try” from my vocabulary. When someone says, “I’ll try to make it,” they are lying. They feel bad for saying no. Your friend is having a party. Will you be going? The answer is a simple yes or no. Commit to it.
If you are being authentic and YOU, not everyone is going to like you and that’s ok. It’s actually the best thing in this world because not only do you get to be YOU, you make room for those amazing people who do love you…for YOU.