Freedom is something very precious that many are willing to give up their lives for it. Perhaps, slavery has been abolished by almost all civilized nations but are you aware that it still exists even in the most progressive countries today? In fact, you may be a victim of it without realizing you are.
Slavery is defined as submission to a dominating influence. As long as you are forced do things dictated by others, you may be considered a slave. Your masters may not be the stereo-typed whip lashing tyrants but your family members, friends, or friendly neighbours. And sadder still, you even seem to accept or invite their tyranny. Impossible you may say? Consider the following:
You care too much what people think of you. How many times have done things you are not comfortable about? Nevertheless, you do them because you are worried what others would think if you do not conform to their opinions and opinions. You are afraid of losing their favourable image of you if you go against what they expect of you. If that is not slavery, I do not know what is.
Here are some “truths” you should consider why you should not worry too much what others think of you:
- Do not conform in exchange for freedom.
It is natural to want to be liked and respected by others. Often times, you do this by being agreeable to them. However, remember that their opinions have great impact on your life, if you allow it. You must see the difference between caring what others think and worrying about it. Listening to others’ thoughts and ideas may help widen your perspective of things. Perhaps, it can be mentally enlightening but although you may consider them, you are free to go your own way. Do not sacrifice your freedom to follow your own mind and heart for the sake of a pleasant and agreeable image to others.
- Do not flatter yourself too much.
Stop thinking that others are so concerned about you that much. People are generally egocentric. There is nothing wrong with this attitude. Caring more about one’s self is a natural tendency for survival. Being aware of this human instinct in people, you should not worry too much of what others think of you. In fact, they may not be really interested in you as you imagine they do. If you are not so important to others, why should you fret and worry too much what they think about you?
- Mind your own business.
What others think of you is their own business. Concern yourself with your own business. Avoid dipping your fingers into others’ to prevent stressing yourself unnecessarily. You really cannot control others’ opinions so focus more on your opinion of yourself.
- Respect your uniqueness.
Appreciate your uniqueness as an individual; you are not a clone of somebody else. Therefore, do not try to be like those who want to replicate themselves in you by their opinions and suggestions, no matter how noble they may seem. Act and think as you choose as long as you do not harm anyone else. Respect yourself and people will respect you in return.
- Why does it matter to you?
Analyze if what others disapprove of in you really matters much after a week, or a month, or a year from now. However, if you react to their present opinions, you may do things you are not happy about but can adversely affect your life in the future, when even they whose opinions you followed have forgotten altogether or not concerned anymore.
- Do you have a 3rd eye?
If you are a normal individual, you probably cannot read other people’s mind and what they are really thinking. So the problem is really not what they are thinking, but what you assume they are thinking about you. Why stress yourself needlessly about mere assumptions? You are creating your own ghosts in your mind; what is crazy about this is that you yourself are scared by them. Stop paying attention on what people think. It is just a waste of your time and energy.
- Let go of others’ misjudgements.
Most people judge others without bothering to look deeper. They usually rely on their oft times inaccurate initial impressions. Those who have the wisdom to realize these (and admit them) are the people whose opinions are worth listening to. However, there are those who do not bother to learn more and stick to their wrong opinions. So why concern yourself of what they think or say? You should know better than to bother yourself with other’s misjudgements. That is their problem, not yours.
- Be who you are.
The truth will not only set you free, it can also save you a lot of unnecessary stress. Trying to maintain a false façade at all times is very stressing and exhausting. The dread of being “discovered” anytime of the real you is like to that of a fugitive from the law who lives in constant fear. Try to be honest to yourself and to the world even if it scares you to death. Most of the fears are only caused by your exaggerated imagination.
Speak your mind proudly. Live your life as you want it to be. Do not worry what others think as long as you do not deliberately cause harm to anyone. Being overly concerned on what others say or think about you makes you a virtual slave. It stops you from moving freely and can hinder you from being productive. So stop apologizing, stop just existing, and start living! Be really FREE!