“The tranquillity that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do.” Marcus Aurelius
In 1991, David Icke, a self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist, went onto the Terry Wogan show, a popular BBC television program at the time. Icke had some incredibly powerful experiences in the years leading up to the interview and took the decision to share these on a national stage.
‘Being called insane by an idiot is a compliment’ – David Icke.
Throughout the interview, Terry Wogan and the audience laughed and ridiculed him. Terry Wogan questioned for soundbites, rather than to understand and did an excellent job at turning Icke into a laughing stock. He couldn’t walk down the road or go to the pub without being laughed at. In the months and years after Icke openly talks about it all to this day.
Now in 2020, David Icke has been interviewed in the most significant online live stream in Human history, with over one million people watching. A man of courage, who overcame the need to be liked by others.
‘you either go under and disappear or come out like steel honed in a fire and you let go of the prison, this ball and chain that most of the population live in. The fear of what other people think… they are not living their truth, they are not living their uniqueness, they are living what they think is acceptable to other people’s versions of what they should be’ – David Icke
So, why do we care so much about the opinion and judgement of others?
Being accepted by the tribe is a natural human trait. It is also the remnants of lower levels of consciousness throughout our evolution. To be accepted means you are good enough and in its essence, is along the pathway to being loved. It is no wonder our minds search for it from people we interact with. The trouble is that we are looking in the wrong place.
Picture a running track. With a race, we have a finish line, with a winner and losers. Now imagine a running track without a finish line, which is more representative of life. The herd are trying to get somewhere, trying to hit that non-existent endpoint. That somewhere is the hypnotic standards being held by the collective unconscious of society. Often, perceived ambition is tied to these standards. The way you break free is by transcending that collective state.
Your own uniqueness is what makes you an individual. No matter what external forces are at play (government/media etc) it can’t be stripped from you, only hidden through self-ignorance.
Notice around you today the people who are fearful of pure self-expression, due to the worry of other’s opinions and potential actions. Regardless of perceived stature and wealth, 99%+ of people are handling this little virus we have. It is a software virus that hasn’t been debugged yet.
The collective holds all of societies standards, and they are manifested outwards as ‘success’. Generally, in the west, we acknowledge that as money, stature, power and reputation. I know this because I have been there and stuck in it. Once I began writing and studying intensely, I could close the door on it. These are ideals held in mind through conditioning and not from an integrated sense of Selfhood. If we ask ourselves what the best day of our life has been, it would be infrequent for a person to mention money and power.
That is the problem with needing acceptance from other people. Our individual uniqueness is often missing, and the ‘collective ideal goggles’ are the first point of call. Deep down, we know that the judgement from others is meaningless, and the reality is that very often, people’s praise is corrupted anyway. Like when someone tells you a piece of work is good, and you know for a fact they haven’t even read it, for example. It demeans any future praise whatsoever. Unfortunately, that sort of activity is pretty prevalent. The reverse is also true, someone’s opinion has as much meaning as you decide to give it.
It is all on you.
“The greatest fear in the world is the opinion of others, and the moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.” – Osho
You wouldn’t compare a fish’s ability to swim with a monkey’s ability to climb a tree. Similarly, you wouldn’t contrast one man’s path to another’s. If someone valued writing and living a hermit’s lifestyle, would it be wise to take life advice or opinion off someone working on Wall Street? Unless asked for of course.
Yet this is what we do, we fear to make a public speech, put up a social media post or start a new hobby. We are concerned about what other people think about us. They could have different values, life experiences, upbringings, cultural differences, energetic influences etc. and yet our ego’s get hurt, and we begin to compare. It’s crazy until we can take a step back and see the bigger picture.
Three Steps to Stop Caring About What Others Think
1. Stop Doing it Yourself. Your Opinion Means as Much as Theirs.
“The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others” – Carl Jung.
I often watch football in the evening, especially if it is an important game. It is one of my relaxation tools. I played the sport at a decent level until about 8 years ago, so I see the game very differently to someone who hasn’t played it professionally. I notice why a player does something or why he doesn’t and can see advanced technique and awareness that the average person wouldn’t notice. And, for masters of the sport, they’d see much more than I would.
So, the question arises – do we see the game as we are or as it really is?
Our past experiences and our current make up create our positionalities. When we use those positionalities to form an opinion or judgement on somebody else, we are just projecting our own psyche onto that person.
It goes without saying, if you want to free yourself from the good opinion of other people, then you will need to become aware of when you are projecting your position onto the other person yourself. Go easy on yourself, it is a typical Human drawback to do this from an evolutionary standpoint.
The judgements you pass onto other people are based on your perception of life, and that perception is based on a whole load of things that could take years to write about. You have no right to force your subjective opinion onto a person’s reality. That doesn’t mean you cannot share it, but don’t expect people to understand or take ownership of it.
Relinquish your positionalities and notice others will do the same. Dr David R Hawkins’s book, Letting Go, explains this process beautifully.
2. Become objective.
“Objective judgement, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance, now at this very moment – of all external events. That’s all you need.” – Marcus Aurelius
I am writing this article while being ‘locked down’ in my house because of the outbreak of the Coronavirus. If there was ever a time to see a lack of objectivity being played out on the world screen, it is now.
People have opposing opinions. Great! That’s how it is and will always be. It also shows views for what they are – mostly worthless and usually emotionally driven.
Seeing reality as it is, rather than how we want it to be, gives us an advantage over sentiment. Consciously, we are functioning at a higher level, without the glasses of emotional perception.
As we begin transcending the levels of consciousness, one of the crucial stages is that of reason. Reason removes all emotionality in observing anything external.
So how does this apply to the judgement of others?
Being objective (reasonable) to someone’s opinions will mean you will now begin to nurture an understanding as to the way they think. We know that all opinions are based on perceptions, from their past and their own ideals. That doesn’t make them real. Your objective stance will enable you to see this and buys you the freedom to either accept or reject from a place of peace, with no emotional attachment. It is essentially loosening your own ego, so it doesn’t judge the world for you.
Every time you feel emotions arising from an external circumstance, take a step back and see the bigger picture. Become separate from the event and allow yourself to decide on logic, rather than emotion. The opinion of others will become noise in the background of your peaceful abode.
3. Find your end and create your own path.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away” – Pablo Picasso.
Viktor Frankl, best known for writing ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ in 1946, was an Auschwitz survivor. He wrote his masterpiece as a sort of meditation on the horrors of the experience and what it taught him about the purpose of life: the quest for meaning.
“Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life.” What sort of answer can one give to that?
What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life — daily and hourly.
These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus, it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way.”
Through immense suffering, Viktor Frankl found purpose and meaning. He also observed the reality of being lost should one not have the inner guidance that comes forth from that meaning.
With a clearly defined purpose, no subjective response by another can take you off your course. Your life will become a narrow path, and decision making becomes effortless. Saying ‘no’ is easy because if it doesn’t move you along your own running lane, then you don’t do it. Designing your reality to walk your own Siddhartha road starts with knowing and nurturing the reason for your own existence.
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable” – Seneca.
The necessity to find one’s own path cannot be understated. Until you take the time to introspect, how would you know you are not walking someone else’s? The time to find your end is now. Take a step back from your day to day existence just for one hour, to begin with. I have written a more in-depth article to find purpose with further exercises that can assist you.