Winner: Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2013 #2
Because society has used group-thinking to build walls around ideas like beauty or intelligence or value, there are many ways for us to imagine we are failing or wrong. But these are just ideas.
This is what it is to liberate ourselves —we have to understand that other people’s opinions are just narratives they think that lead to chemical responses in their brain. Quite literally none of that happens in any world we live in. It’s an internal experience they have.
Even if they say something out loud, we still have to confirm it within your own thoughts before we’ll get any change to our brain chemistry or feelings. That’s why Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
If we’re not choosing to think that they either are —or may be— right, then their words can mean nothing to us. They have no echo in our consciousness. And since there is no such way for their judgment to be ‘right’ anyway (it’s merely their opinion), we’re free the moment we switch our insecure thought stream away from that internal conversation and on to something more productive.
You see, our job was never to be liked. Magnets aren’t trying to get metal to like them. Magnets just are and metal just is and the result is that they naturally go together.
Magnets don’t attract glass. That doesn’t make either the glass or the magnet “wrong.” They just don’t naturally go together. They can easily and comfortably co-exist in the world but they simply aren’t parts of the universe that fit directly together.
We should accept that these differences exist at home, at work, and within society at large. We don’t want to date someone because society currently deems them as being ‘hot,’ because that’s like a tight, external, cultural lasso binding us together.
It’s better for a relationship if we naturally and constructively fit together as ourselves, like a magnet and metal, because then our attraction will last and it will have no tension.
If we’re busy trying to be liked we end up performing for everyone we meet. We’ll stress ourselves trying to sound knowledgeable about sports when we could truly care less. We’ll put on a dating profile that we love camping when we hate it but think it might be popular. We’ll dress in uncomfortable clothing just to create envy in other people.
None of that is freedom. That’s the exact opposite. That’s oppression. Why are we running around following all of these lines on the ground? Who painted the lines?
Being authentically ourselves allows the metals and magnets in our lives to find each other. If we’re wearing a mask trying to be everything to everyone then we’ll be blocking our naturally attractive qualities.
Our camouflage can hide us from your natural friends and allies. Letting those thoughts go and opening ourselves up represents a huge plus, because we can take all of that energy we normally spend trying to look cool or smart or attractive and you can put it into enjoying life!
Apparently Isaac Newton hated people, didn’t bathe, and he worked in the nude. But he loved to discover. That was where his joy was —not in pleasing others. Their ideas about him didn’t bother him because he wasn’t thinking about those ideas —he was thinking about his life’s work.
Other people’s ideas about us are meaningless. We should not let their even good intentions dampen our spirits. We are better to be thoroughly and unapologetically ourselves because there are friends we haven’t met yet who need our light to shine brightly so they can find us.
So remember: what other people think of us is largely irrelevant. Some religious or political fundamentalists may hate the Dalai Lama, but that doesn’t mean the Dalai Lama has to hate them. There is nothing to be gained by carrying that in his heart.
Others can have that view yet he can continue to exist. He can even thrive. After all, Tibet is now much bigger than its borders. It’s a worldwide nation of sorts. Not bad for a guy who was kicked out of his own home and who has lived his entire life under attack.
Maybe the peace we seek isn’t so far away after all. Maybe it doesn’t look like what we expect it to. But not being liked is not a useful sign that we’re doing something wrong, so don’t think it is.
Here’s a link to a great radio/podcast documentary that shows you how you’ve been taught to see yourself critically: Under the Influence: Shame
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.