I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.
It’s human nature to care what others think of us, but this nature can get us into trouble. If you care what others think, more than you think you ought to, then it’s a good chance you don’t know you. When we come to know ourselves, we come realize that we have flaws, dings, dents, and a beauty that is only possible because of those human things. Joseph Campbell says that we don’t love others because they are perfect, we love others because they are deeply flawed. Without flaws, there is nothing to love (See Good Will Hunting).
We care what others think because it’s easy. It’s easy to ask someone else to define you. To judge you. To tell you who or what you are (and in most cases, they will tell you what you are, not who you are). We want easy, because hard is painful. Hard is just that, hard. And not many of us like hard.
So, the warning flag that you’re not engaged with your soul, your true self, is that you care what others think. If that flag is flying, recognize it. Take it down, and find out who you are. Carry and write in a journal. Read a book. Sit outside in nature, and meditate on what you see. Consider what excites you, what scares you, and what you want out of life. What do you dream?
You’ll get down to some gritty and hard places if you stop wondering about others and turn inward. That journey will be a lot longer and harder than what people think. But frankly, people don’t think about you nearly as much as you’d like. And the ones that really care about you, those are the ones who don’t just think about you, they do something about it. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about what you see in yourself.