This might seem like unusual advice from a spiritual teacher. I read memes and quotes that say “Don’t care what other people think of you” portrayed like it’s enlightened thinking or spiritual badassery.
Not caring what other people think of you cuts off a source of learning, an opportunity for growth and one of the primary tasks of life in the Earth School.
I believe we are here with one another to grow, to learn to love more and hopefully, eventually to bring Perfect Love through us to this experience for all to benefit from it.
If someone doesn’t like us, is angry with us, or has a criticism, we have choices. Don’t care is one choice. It’s an immature one. It doesn’t have the courage to look at the opinion of the other. It doesn’t have the wisdom to discern whether the source is one we respect and may want to listen to or if it is something to just let move through us and away.
It certainly requires love and knowledge of the self to consider the opinions of others. We can start there. With gentleness we can begin to embrace the whole of ourselves – our history, our weaknesses, our abilities and shortcomings. When we know and accept who we are, we can take it when an observation is made from the outside and see if it is worth taking in for a purpose.
I heard in Al-Anon, “If someone said you were a chair would you be offended?” No! Because you know that you are not a chair. This helped me then when my wusband would be in a rant and hurling intended insults.
He once yelled “You’re flippant and lazy!”
“Hmm,” I thought. “I’ll have to look it up, but pretty sure I’m not flippant. Uh huh, I can be lazy. I see that.”
Someone could tell us that our decisions are crazy or reckless. Perhaps they don’t prefer our style of dress and make that known. Or they point out that our approach is off-putting. The possible critiques are endless.
Don’t care or…
Think “Maybe they have a point. It’s interesting that they notice this. Let me consider it. Let me filter it through what I know about myself and my own experience. Let me take into consideration the source, their possible motivation or projections. Is there anything useful here for me to grow and become more loving?”
This isn’t saying to live the life that others think we “should” or change who we are to fit in or anything of the sort. Sometimes what someone thinks about us is as untrue as “You are a chair.”
It’s about getting to know and love oneself. It’s being constantly open to knowing more of Who We Truly Are. It’s using this life as the school that it can be to further positive change.
Then, what someone else thinks of me becomes fuel for my fire and spurs the calling forth of my magnificence.
That is spiritual badassery.