What Other People Think

“What other people think is not your business. If you start to make that business your business, you will be offended for the rest of your life.” – Deepak Chopra

Many of us have likely heard variations of this quote. Sometimes they are attributed, other times unknown. I’m particularly fond of Deepak’s version because it mentions being offended. There is really no value in concerning ourselves with the thoughts of others, because is there even a way to know for certain? In general, we will either form damaging judgments about the other person or about ourselves. How dare she think those things about me? Why doesn’t he like me? I’m not good enough. I must have really botched that interview because no one has called. What did I say or do wrong?

How are any of these thoughts serving us? They don’t. Not ever. And yet we still find our lower brain chattering endlessly when an opportunity arises. Recognize this for what it is and check your thoughts!  You have control in this area alone.

Yes, there are techniques in persuasion that are designed to generate emotion. Advertisers are masters at getting us to make purchases based on how we feel about a product. A solid business plan and creative presentation may well get your venture funded. However, convincing other people to like or accept you as an amazing human being is simply not a decision that is up to you. It truly is none of your business.

I have a dear friend who has been very successful in life and particularly in her professional career. And yet her insecurities would be on full display for me when she would obsess in confidence about what the opinions of others. What do you think he thinks of my presentation? What do you think she thinks of my outfit? Did you see the way she looked me up and down in that meeting? Do you think I look okay? 

She was successful in spite of these insecurities or perhaps in part because of them. She was so consumed with other people’s opinions that they were constantly in the forefront of her thoughts, which likely drove her even harder to strive for absolute perfection in everything that she did. Now the quest for perfectionism can be detrimental in itself and that’s definitely a topic for another day. I always wondered how happy she could be with the incessant worry about what other people thought of her. I wondered if she would ever be free from those concerns. It truly is fascinating how our brains work!

I am certainly not immune from those thoughts myself, and it is primarily in the area of self judgment that slips me up when it does come around. I have seen friends allow themselves to remain stuck, unable to move forward with their own ventures for fear of what others will think or say about the content they produce. Perhaps there was one thought spoken aloud on one occasion and all they can focus on is not having to hear those wounding words again.

Here’s the thing. Not everyone likes peaches.

I heard this analogy recently and it truly resonates. You can be the ripest, juiciest, most perfect peach on the planet. You will always find someone who simply doesn’t like peaches. That’s not the peach’s fault. It’s simply the person’s preference. There’s not a damn thing that peach can do to convince someone who has never liked peaches (and never will) to change their taste. Recognizing this concept and truly and understanding it can go a long way toward freeing you of the perceived need to be loved and accepted unconditionally by everyone. Because that, my friends, is a battle you will lose every single time. 26313727883_5ff405147a

You are going to have zingers thrown your way with words from others who are happy to tell you exactly what they’re thinking if you ever demonstrate enough vulnerability to put yourself and your passions out there for the world to see. The alternative is to either hide or convince those people that they need to like peaches. Neither of those options should be acceptable if you truly want to move forward. And so I recommend you practice with your own brain, catching the pointless chatter that tries to convince you that it freaking matters what other people think of who you are as a human, what you do, how you dress, and how you show up in the world.

You tell yourself that you are perfectly imperfect human that you were designed to be. You are good enough, smart enough, capable and confident enough. You are enough.

This started with a quote and so will end with another:

“The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think.” – David Icke

 

photo credit: landscapeek Holy moly me oh my, you’re the apple of my eye via photopin (license)

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