Are You Weighed Down With What Others Are Thinking About You?

“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.” ~ David Foster Wallace …

This is helpful advice for all of us to take to heart, for as much as we all would like to claim that we are not in the least bit concerned about what others think about us, we all do to some extent, and it is an utter waste of our potential. We know in our hearts and minds that what others think or say really does not hold any weight for all practical purposes, and will only impact us in so much as we allow it to, yet we are still inclined to overlook these feelings–perhaps out of fear, or because as humans we crave acceptance and approval.

Those individuals who criticize me, and try to bring me down, generally do so in an attempt to lessen the pain and the deficiencies that they are experiencing. They become so worried about the lack in their own lives–lack of happiness, power, approval, wealth, friendship, or anything of the sort–that they actually spend very little time “concerning” themselves with mine. So why should I place any value on their thoughts of me?

Our lives are filled with individuals who love us dearly and truly care about us. These are the people who show genuine concern for our well-being and whose opinions truly matter; the ones who will encourage us when we are down and be there for us when we are in need. As with so much of life, discernment is key. It is a wonderful gift, a skill to be honed and strengthened through regular practice. Know who your true friends are–filter out the noise of the detractors and surround yourself with those who build you up and help you fly high. Above all, always make sure to show genuine concern for others in your life.

Be genuine in your love and concern for others.

Questions to consider:

Are you the kind of person who cares about others, or the kind who only cares about yourself? Does it always show? How can you make the person you see in the mirror and the person others see more congruent?

Are you ever worried what others will say? If so, why?

Why do we let the thoughts and words of others bother us? Who is worth listening to in your life? Who is not?

For further thought:

It is the phenomenon sometimes called “alienation from self.” In its advanced stages, we no longer answer the telephone, because someone might want something; that we could say no without drowning in self-reproach is an idea alien to this game. Every encounter demands too much, tears the nerves, drains the will, and the specter of something as small as an unanswered letter arouses such disproportionate guilt that answering it becomes out of the question. To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves–there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.

Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

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