I heard a great quote the other day: “What other people think of you is none of your business.” After a little research, it appears that it was New York Times bestselling author Regina Brett who shared this brilliant insight as one of her “45 life lessons and 5 to grow on.”
The reason I say that it’s brilliant is because it’s a reminder to live the life we want for ourselves, even if the life we choose is very different than the one others want for us. Often, this causes us to worry about what the people around us think about us and our decisions. We stress over whether they’re proud of us, whether we’ve disappointed them, and whether they think we’re doing the right things.
Is that what life is really about…living so that everyone else is happy? I don’t think so. I think that it is important that we live in the way our authentic selves want us to live. And we should be able to live this way free from the judgment of those around us.
When we let others influence us, we’re not living the life we’re meant to live. Our decisions become colored by what they would want, not what we naturally choose for ourselves. As a result, our life choices place us on a path that makes them happy, not on the path that speaks to what we truly want.
By having the philosophy that “what other people think of you is none of your business,” you give yourself permission to live in a way that works for you. A way that satisfies you. A way that makes what you want the most important factor to consider…the only factor to consider.
Does this mean that you may face some resistance from those around you, especially if they don’t understand or agree with your choices? Probably. But does that make it wrong to live the way you want to live? Not at all. It’s actually quite freeing.
Imagine how liberated you’d feel if the only one you needed to consider before making a decision was you. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can go out and tread on others or disrespect them, but envision what it would be like to pick your own career, choose your own home, or even something as simple as select the clothes you want to wear solely because that’s what you want. Not someone else, but you.
Most of us don’t realize how many of our choices are driven by others in some way, shape, or form. We fail to recognize when our family, friends, co-workers, or colleagues have such a powerful influence over us that we put their wants and needs first, before our own.
Look at your own life and see if any of these sound familiar:
- “I chose my career because my mother/father wanted me to do this.”
- “I didn’t really want this job, but I had a family to take care of, so I took it.”
- “I’m only in this field of work because everyone says it’s what I’m good at.”
Yes, there may be some times when you feel like you have to do things you’re not thrilled about doing to get wherever it is you want to go, but just make sure the destination you’re heading toward is one you want, not one that others have chosen for you. You’ll be happier and more satisfied with your life when you do.