I see a lot of stuff about how we shouldn’t care what other people think.
Most of it is on catchy little pictures that people post on Facebook and Instagram. There’s almost always a sunset involved. Maybe the phrase “do you” or a quote about lions and sheep.
I get the impetus for these kinds of ideas.
We live in a world where we are easily driven by what other people think and what other people have to say. Caring what the general person of day-to-day America thinks about you is straight up suicidal because we live in a society that seems to take a gleeful pleasure in breaking people down and making them feel terrible about themselves. We love seeing people roasted and destroyed over their eyebrows and shoes and choice of life partner.
Allowing yourself to invest in what everyone else thinks is self-destructive.
That being said, there is also a certain level of insanity or sheer arrogance in trying to live without the input of those around us. There are people out there who really don’t care what anyone thinks. You can find them in prison or existing on the fringes of society. Their lives are littered with broken relationships and people they have taken advantage of. They have diagnoses like “psychopath”.
It’s not a healthy way to be either.
So where is the line here?
How do we determine who we should listen to and who we should ignore?
I am not sure there is a perfect way to determine this, or a perfect set of guidelines we can use to make this choice. A lot of it may come down to what we are looking for and who we want to be. In general, I try to have people in my life who I respect and trust and to give them the benefit of the doubt when they offer me advice or criticism. If I automatically bristle at someone’s advice, I have to ask myself if it is pride jumping up or if I simply don’t respect what they have to say. If I do not respect their opinion I need to explore just why this is.
The big task is to not get too invested in what the wrong people think, while listening to what the right people have to offer.
I am not sure I do very well at any of this.
Who are the people you listen to?
What earned them this place of privilege in your life?
Are they the best suited for the job?
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I write, podcast and make videos about living in freedom through mindfulness, intentionality, compassion, and equanimity.
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