There is a notion that what others think of you is none of your business. This is a partial truth. To understand more, we can put things in context by viewing the bigger picture.
Let’s begin with considering a few things. We are all energy, and all connected. So what affects you, affects me. At the same time, we are still individuals creating our own destiny, our unique life path.
Actually, we’re embodied souls ─ and we are in the process of waking up to that fact. In turn, we can live more fully and help ourselves, others and the whole.
To put things more in perspective, here are three points relating to what others think of you.
Context Point 1: It’s natural to want approval.
Whether you desperately want to be approved of, or say you don’t care what others think of you, there still is an innate need for approval. This genuine drive for acceptance is ancestrally based to help us survive and be supported by our “pack.” Belonging is an essential human need.
As we grow up, approval comes from different sources. As a child, we wish to be in the good graces of our parents. By adolescence, it’s about fitting in with the peer group. When adulthood arrives, we want to make a living, perhaps have a family. We want to find a career and explore a place for us to fit in and be recognized.
If we mature into a spiritual adult, we turn to finding our calling, our mission. In other words, we seek a higher purpose beyond survival, fitting in and conforming to norms.
In sum, we want some kind of recognition all along the way, from our parents to our deeper sense of fulfillment and belonging to the universe. The progression here is to connect at broader and deeper levels.
Context Point 2: Dealing with what others are thinking about us.
“I love you.” “You’re a jerk.” Which one appeals to you? Clearly, we want to be liked, supported and approved of. And we don’t want to be disliked, opposed and rejected.
Let’s go a little deeper into this dichotomy of others liking/disliking us. Ironically, the harsher side ─ the difficult experiences ─ can be a source of learning and growth. We all have challenges with some people. What we do with those conflicts is what makes the difference.
In short, all that criticism and rejection from others can be grist for the mill. All that unpleasant stuff then can be composted to use for further growth, understanding and wisdom.
So the choice about others’ real or negatively imagined feedback about us is this: we can wallow in the mud or rise to the mountaintop and see things from a higher view.
Context Point 3: Be aware of negative imagination.
Our imagination can be a wonderful source of creativity and manifestation. Yet on the dark side, it can also weigh us down with negative thinking and errant projections.
As Mark Twain famously noted, “I have spent most of my life worrying about things that have never happened.”
Mind-reading others can be limited and off the mark. Dwelling on the negative, of others’ imagined negative thoughts of you, is a waste of time as Twain observed.
However, sometimes we do sense others’ vibrations. Many of us are quite empathic and can feel the negative vibes others are putting out.
Of course, the origin of those discordant energies still remains a mystery. Is the person actually judging your remarks, or are they having their own negative reaction about feeling a physical pain or anxiety about an upcoming meeting?
In truth, being around people who are negative at times ─ including ourselves ─ is part of life and learning.
Final Thoughts on What Others Think of Us
It’s natural to wonder what others think of us. It’s part of the way we are wired. It’s healthy to be sensitive to other people. Yet dwelling on what others may be “thinking” of us can be inhibiting. Worrying about others too much represses our own sense of aliveness and spontaneity.
In a nutshell, do relate to others. Feel the love and send it out. Use your own heart-centered awareness to become the best you, to serve yourself and others; to learn, grow and relate ─ not to react, shrink and obsess.
Know this: you can connect with others free of attachment. You can love without dependency or the need to control. You can convert negative energy to positive.
Be strong enough to believe and trust in yourself. Stand up for yourself.
Do listen to criticism, regardless of how it is communicated, to see if it can help in some way. But in the end it is your life, your story, your evolution that is up to you, not others to prescribe.
Dare to dream of a greater, better life. You can and you deserve it.
Each of us are on our own individual journey to wholeness, no matter what others may think of us.