women in life transition

Should we care what others think?

We are all subject to other people’s opinions, it’s something that is freely offered, whether we ask for it or not. Of course we do the same, our judgement of others comes often without any effort at all, it’s almost like we have no control. We see something but in reality we aren’t really seeing it, we are interpreting it through the lens of our own past experiences, tastes and preferences. I guess this is part of being human and it’s how we survive, making sense of what we see through what we already know.

In her book “The top five regrets of the dying” Bronnie Ware lists the following:

  • Regret 1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

  • Regret 2: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard

  • Regret 3: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

  • Regret 4: I wish I had stayed in touch with friends

  • Regret 5: I wish I had let myself be happier

Regret 1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Is it not sad to come to the end our lives to realise that we had taken on the opinions of others and allowed them to direct the course of our life? Is it not a waste of a life to not be true to ourselves?

Ok of course we live in a world where we must live in harmony with others and our environment. It would be totally reckless to not consider the impact of our actions on others, unfortunately this can be most damaging, as we can see on our environment at the moment. We can not go along speaking without thinking of how it might land on others. Too often I hear people say “I will speak my truth” or be insistent on their views being heard. And of course this is what we should be free to do, however being mindful of our speech and actions requires us to sit back and think about how important it is for us to do so. If we just throw the words out because we need to express it, then we must be willing to take the consequences that follow, whether they are good or bad. This is Karma in practice, or if you prefer, cause and effect, our actions have a consequence it’s really that simple.

I’m not saying we should care what others think, it is more about considering why you are saying something, what might happen if you say it and of course, is it worth it? This is mindful speech and action.

So back to the main theme, should we care what others think?

In this case I’m more interested in talking about how we receive other peoples comments and opinions on us. How does it play out in our life and how much space do we give to other people in our mind?

When we should not care about what others say

There are people who we seek advice from, there are those we trust to help guide us in life, if we are lucky we should all have these people in our life. But here’s the problem for those of us who have chosen a different path, perhaps a little unconventional, others will not get us. Or more than that, we may even be challenging their insecurities by going against the grain. When we turn up with a different perspective on life, when we say “no I don’t do things that way”, then we are open to a whole host of opinions.

I guess the main point here is, if you dare to be different, if you dare to go your own way, then be prepared for a lot of opinions, whether you want them or not. I love Brene Browns work because it speaks to me and people like me. She says it as it is, this quote of hers is what inspired me to write this short post:

If you are not in the arena also getting your butt kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.

In my life I’ve found that the ones that so freely offer their advice (otherwise known as opinion) are usually those that never step out of their own comfort zone. They are the one’s that sit safely in their life who do not want to be shaken by those of us who dare to be vulnerable, who dare to let go of security in the name of living and who dare to not be tied by the expectations of others. These people are the ones that should be ignored, or perhaps not ignored because they too have lessons to teach us.

And before I go, I’d like to highlight how Mindfulness ties into this by sharing this paragraph from Bronnie Ware’s book The top five regrets of the dying. It’s taken from a conversation with a dying patient called Stella, as she recalls an experience when she just took a risk to follow the unknown:

“Unhealthy patterns surfaced in my mind, results from my past conditioning and society telling me I couldn’t live this way. Fear starting rearing it’s ugly head as I wondered how on Earth it was all going to come together, yet again. Bringing myself back to the present moment was the only thing that had saved me before and was the only thing that could save me now”

If you ever doubt yourself again, perhaps remember to bring yourself to the present moment and don’t worry so much about what others think.

Mindfulness can help you uncover past conditioning that maybe limiting you from reaching your full potential. You can join one of our upcoming eight week programs or sign up for our unique Women in Life Transition program coming soon.