I would love to be one of those people who really doesn’t care what others think.
Take my sister, for example. It never ceases to amaze me how two siblings, from the exact same parents, can be so totally different. She is three years older than me and, for the most part, has never cared what others think. (I’m sure she has her moments, but I’m speaking generally.) She seems to have been born with a strong sense of self, a core knowing of who she is.
I, on the other hand, have been the ‘softie’ of the family. Permeable boundaries, super sensitive, feeling what others felt – whether I wanted to or not.
Our familial roles can cement early in life, and we often play the part well into adulthood, unquestioningly accepting it as who we ‘are’.
All this is on my mind as we sisters, in a rare double appearance, recently attended a large family gathering. In fly-on-the-wall mode, I watched our respective interactions with family members. I felt the little girl inside me surface: afraid of hurting or offending others, viewing them as authority figures, and worrying about how they perceived her. My sister, on the other hand, seemed completely unperturbed by anything around her.
This makes me wonder: is it really possible to stop caring what other people think of us, if we’ve cared for most of our lives?
My answer to that is Yes. We are capable of any change and transformation we desire. But when we’ve trained our system to respond a certain way for so long, it may require more than a mental decision to just ‘stop caring’.
On a subtle level I feel many little wires and threads connecting me to others. This has affected my ability in the past to make clear, self-authoritative life decisions. And while the thought of severing these ties gives me great freedom, it’s also unfamiliar. What does it feel like to make decisions completely independent of the thoughts and opinions of others?
It feels like trusting myself.
Of course. It has nothing to do with other people. It’s all about my relationship with myself. When I’m good with myself, when I’m clear with myself, when I’m solid with myself…what others think doesn’t even factor in. There is no need to seek external validation or distraction. My energy is directed within. And it feels good. Genuinely, authentically good.
But do I want to disconnect completely? I am wired to feel, and though this might include others’ pain or discomfort, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That is empathy, a quality I consider very important.
This is the art of fine-tuning my feelers: knowing which connections strengthen and serve me (and others), and which drain and fragment.
So perhaps this isn’t so much an issue of caring what people think, as becoming more aware of who and what I attune to. This requires being clear on my own truth. The discovery of that truth is a priority. When I really know it, it doesn’t waver in the presence of others’ truths.
So how do I do this?
By stopping. Getting still. Breathing. Moving all that energy circulating in my head down through my solar plexus, and letting it build there. Creating a new home and sanctuary. A sturdy place for truth to rest. Letting that knowledge take the reins.
The true place of power is in my gut.
It overrides the ego’s investment in what others think. Ego wants to look good, to be in control. It wants to please people, and seeks their validation and approval. (Often resenting them at the same time.)
Maybe my sister was born with a strong third chakra. Perhaps my Piscean sun set me up to be a feeler. A million theories could explain our differences, but it’s irrelevant. The question is, how would I like to live now? What traits in my sister inspire me to cultivate similar traits in myself?
Self-trust. Turning to my own inner guidance first and foremost. This doesn’t mean switching off from others. It means unplugging some of those wires, and connecting them inward, to my source, to my greatest knowing. This is where my power is recharged and replenished, and from where I serve life in full integrity and alignment.