What does it feel like to not worry about what other people think of you? I call it the Opinion of Others, or OOO for short. I’ve been working on not worrying about OOO for years. Have I completely mastered it? NO!
Recently I had yet another opportunity to work on this skill—someone had an opinion and they felt compelled to share not-so-nice things.
I fretted. I worried.
Oh dear, that’s not how I had planned to handle the situation. Then I realized I didn’t know what it felt like to not care what other people thought. Intellectually I got it. But to live it?
I thought about the times I really didn’t care. Typically, the opinions of a complete stranger don’t induce the OOO syndrome. Neither do the opinons of those who love me best…I figure with them I am on safe ground, that they’ll keep me. But let other family members, friends, or someone who knows someone say something derogatory, I’m fretting and worrying like a champion.
Typically a remark involves my pride and targets the opinion I hold of myself. You know…Reputation. I instinctively want to play the “good girl” part. And then I can’t believe I’m really still wrestling with the Big R. Didn’t everybody else leave that behind in high school?
Finally it dawned on me that I do know what it feels like to not care about the opinions of others. It feels light, airy. It feels good. I am beginning to understand more fully my reputation is what Wayne Dyer describes in his book The Power of Intention. “Your reputation is not located in you. It resides in the minds of others.” He tells us that we have no control over the mind of someone else. What they think is what they think. Dyer explains further, “Leave your reputation for others to debate; it has nothing to do with you.” In short…what other people think of me is none of my business.
I’m ready to believe this. I am ready to feel this. I am ready to live this. While driving home from our summer vacation, my daughter and I chatted about many things. I decided to ask her thoughts on the issue and said, “How do you not worry about the opinion of others?” Although I haven’t been able to fully participate in this concept, something has worked for her. She doesn’t have this problem—at least not yet. Here’s what my wise daughter told me, “That’s easy. Find something bigger and better to think about.”
As is typically the case, once a lesson is learned the universe gives you an opportunity to test yourself. This time I passed with flying colors. As the days grew into a week, I realized I really am residing in a new place. What I thought would bother me (my tempest in a teapot for the moment) did not. Everytime I thought about that irksome situation, I could quickly divert my attention. I, without much effort, could let it go. What was happening outside myself wasn’t impacting me.
The old Allyn would have been very bothered. What will the neighbors think?—‘the neighbors’ being all those people I care about. Breathing deeply, I can say to myself: “It’s okay.” What a relief. People can have opinions and those opinions do not impact me.
I feel so much better. Free.
I’m ready to turn in my worrying about OOO for some real joy in believing in myself…some Oh Oh Oh.
I’m off to think about bigger and better things. Help your children do the same!
Allyn Evans at www.thealertparent.com; firstname.lastname@example.org