What others think?

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What others think?

Worried about what others think?

Many of us spend a great deal of time worried about what others may think and we actually alter our behavior in order to get approval (validation, appreciation, love etc..).

We might even expect our children, friends and spouses to act certain ways so that others approve of them, as well. Most people feel a tremendous amount of pressure to fit in and be accepted but the cost of obtaining approval may be sacrificing oneself or trying to get those you love to sacrifice themselves. Even if approval is forthcoming, who exactly is being approved of, if you are not being yourself?

During my son Travis' last year of middle school, Travis and I walked in the conference room for the mid-year meeting, to find all his teachers, the school social worker, the principal and vice principal all sitting around a big table. Each one of them pointing out where Travis was not doing well and trying to put pressure on him (and me) so that he would apply himself and meet their expectations. The implication was that if he didn't apply himself in middle school, he would fail in high school, and then in life. I knew that they all really believed this. When the vice principal spoke, she said that Travis was missing his first period each day and that if he did this in high school, he would fail. She tried to make Travis commit to getting to his first period in high school on time. Instead, Travis said, "How do I know how I am going to feel next year?" His response shocked everyone at the table. I am sure that they were all very good at getting kids to do and say what they wanted. It's not hard to manipulate a kid through making him worry and even fearful that he might be ruining his whole life. Several of them attempted to get Travis to change his statement. Finally, I said, "Travis just gave you the most honest answer he could give you. It doesn't support anyone if he says something just to make you feel better." This encounter was a game changer. From that day on, the school stopped trying to change Travis. Instead, they began to ask Travis about what he wanted, and in many ways, they bent over backwards to make it happen. Since Travis doesn't worry about what other people think of him, nor is he trying to get his emotional needs met, he is free to live as himself. He is now a nineteen year old entrepreneur with his own business.

When we worry about what people think of us, we develop a pattern of seeing ourselves through the eyes of others; as if from a third party perspective. There can be insight by doing this from time to time, but when making a daily habit of it, we actually disconnect from ourselves; as a result, accessing our own needs, desires and dreams becomes increasingly difficult.

You exert a great deal more energy not to be yourself, than to just be your authentic self.

Deep inside, we all desire the freedom to be our true selves. What we often miss is the reality that we are the only ones binding ourselves in limitations; thus, we are the only ones to free ourselves.

If you live your life through the eyes of others, you will never really live your own life. Who you really are is a sacred gift in this world. Of all the billions of people who have ever lived, or will ever live, there is only one you. Your only job in life is to be yourself. If you are not going to be you, then Who Will Be You?

Ask Yourself:
How much energy do I spend worrying about what others think?
What would I do differently, if I stopped worrying about what others think?
What freedoms might I give my children, friends and partner, if I stopped worrying about what others think of them?

Be Yourself - There is Nothing Else You Ever Need Do!

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