A great post from my friend Anthony Lemme below.
My commentary with an exercise to step into this State of Being, below that.
Do yourself and humanity a solid and let people have their experience of you.
Let them have their assessments, assumptions, judgments and opinions.
Especially the ridiculous or less than favorable ones.
Oftentimes, it’s a sign that you’re on the right track.
As much as it may hurt, piss you off or seem unfair and unreasonable, I promise you won’t die if someone doesn’t approve of you or is thinking or saying things about you that are inaccurate.
In fact, one of the greatest load-lightening practices one can undertake in life is to be OK with being misinterpreted, misunderstood or having a less than perfect approval rating.
For many of us this is quite challenging.
Especially in a world where being self-preoccupied, overly image-conscious and fixated on external approval and validation is often reinforced and rewarded.
Another invaluable load-lightning practice is to be curious rather than defensive or reactive.
If you’re having trouble with someone’s assessment of or commentary on you (or anything for that matter) and can’t seem to let it go, rather than getting your metaphorical panties in a bunch or knickers in a knot, try being curious.
And if you’re not wearing panties or knickers, metaphorical or real, congratulations, you’re ahead of the game!
But I digress.
Back to being curious…
Try moving your attention inward toward yourself before turning it outward toward others, making them wrong or turning them into an enemy.
What’s happening for me?
What am I feeling?
What’s my reaction to this really about?
What am I defending?
Is my actual safety or well-being being compromised or am I merely protecting my identity and image of myself?
Am I projecting or adding something onto this situation or person that’s not really there?
Is transference or countertransference occurring?
Is this something that, like it or not, comes with the territory of an activity I’m engaging in or a role I’m playing that I’m going to have to grow some thicker skin around?
What would have them say or think that?
Is there something I’m not seeing or getting about myself?
Is there any truth in it, even a small percentage, that might be useful to take in?
There may be no logical reason for someone to dislike or disparage you other than their own “fuckedupness” running amok (I say this playfully and with a lot love, as we all have our particular flavors of mischief-causing fuckedupness that runs amok at times).
And there might be a reason that makes total sense.
It might be a beautiful opportunity to cultivate more understanding and shared reality with another.
It might be an opportunity to create a new connection or deepen an existing one.
It might be an opportunity to be less attached to, sensitive about and protective of your image.
It might be an opportunity to see where you’re jammed up or where you’re too easily blown around by the winds of life.
It might be an opportunity to speak up, set some much needed boundaries or clean some house.
It’ll definitely be an opportunity to cultivate more awareness and improve resiliency.
At the end of the day, including resource depleting campaigns and efforts to influence and manipulate, we have next to no control over what others think and say about us.
Best to accept this, move forward and enjoy the gift of being alive rather than contracting and resisting.
It’ll free up a lot of energy that can be used for things much more beneficial and productive than being upset and looping in uncomfortable feelings, engaging in a victim narrative or taking a defensive posture when there’s no real need to.
That doesn’t mean you have to like it and it does mean you have to get over it, get over yourself and get on with your life and the tasks at hand.
For the sake of clarity, I’m not talking about extreme situations.
If someone is saying wildly untrue things about you that are legitimately compromising your safety, freedom, relationships, reputation or work in the world, by all means do what you need to do within the law to put an end to it or set the record straight.
Same goes if you’re seeing it happen to someone else.
That sort of thing is not OK and should never be tolerated.
Life is way too short and way too precious to spend worrying about or trying to manage the experience and behavior of others.
Let others be themselves and have their own experience of things.
If you’re a solid, kind, considerate person living a life of integrity and paying deep attention, staying open to feedback, cleaning up your messes and course correcting as you go, those around you and those who truly know and love you will know the truth.
And although everybody matters and should be considered, when all is said and done, our relationship with and experience of ourselves and those nearest and dearest are the ones that matter most.
End of random, unsolicited, long-winded public service announcement.
Anthony is spot on.
Here’s an exercise for people to work on this:
1. Write down 3 things you believe with high conviction that some of your friends will find controversial or vehemently disagree with.
2. Write a post on Facebook about one of these things.
3. Stand in the storm of outrage and meditate on Anthony’s post about not worrying about what other people think of you.
4.Watch how once the storm has passed everything is mostly the same. You may have lost some friends, but you’ll also have gained some. The net benefit will be that you attracted people you are truly aligned with and repelled people you aren’t. That’s a win.
5. You will most likely feel very liberated and feel a significant increase in your capacity for self-expression and find a new level of personal creativity that was shut off for fear of getting kicked out of the tribe.
6. As you ponder partaking in this exercise what is your resistance? What are your reasons for not doing this? What are you afraid will happen?
*And if you’re not built or ready to take this kind of risk (yet) that’s okay, too.