Updated: Jul 7
Hey there! Ever had someone tell you, "It's none of your business what other people think of you"? If you haven't, count yourself lucky! On the surface, it sounds amazing to not give a hoot about what others think, but let's face the truth: we do care, and it becomes our business.
"When we stop caring what people think we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think we lose our capacity to be vulnerable." - Brené Brown
We're constantly balancing between caring to connect and when that caring starts to define us. (Define = trying to fit into places and roles that just don't suit us.)
But how do we tell the difference between caring for the sake of connection and caring that leads to morphing?
Well, for me, it helps to understand what both connecting and morphing feel and look like.
Connecting feels like finding someone who truly gets you, creating a natural bond because of shared interests or commonalities. It's about being interested in someone's thoughts despite having differing opinions.
"Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner." — Lao Tzu
On the other hand, morphing is like being held hostage by someone's opinions or thoughts when there's no genuine bond. It's when we try to force commonalities just to keep the peace, and it can lead us down the treacherous path of people-pleasing and perfectionism.
What does connecting look and feel like to you? And how about morphing?
When we find ourselves caring so much that it defines us rather than connects us, here are some things to consider:
1. Remember that there's no such thing as rejection. Seriously, it doesn't exist. It's just the universe's way of protecting us from something or someone that isn't a good fit. By letting go, we make space for something or someone that is a perfect fit. (This little gem is a game changer and helps us avoid morphing.)
2. Look inward for validation. If we're seeking validation through others' opinions, it's helpful to check in with ourselves. What are we missing? What do we need? You see, when we have a void inside, it doesn't matter how much we seek validation from others—it's like trying to ice a cake without the cake itself. There's no foundation for the icing to rest on. (Icing = others' validation, Cake = being solid with yourself.)
3. Trust your own approval and opinion. Ask yourself: Will this make me happy? Will I regret doing or not doing this? Your own judgment matters.
Here's a fun fact: Most people are too busy worrying about what others think of them and what they're doing to worry about what we're doing. So why not shift the focus back to yourself?
4. Use your values as a compass. Your values are deeply connected to who you are. When you make decisions based on them, there's little room for others' thoughts and opinions to define you.
5. Remember, someone's critical viewpoint is about them, not you. If someone is being critical of what you do or who you are, it says a lot more about them than it does about you. Criticism often stems from their own insecurities and internal stories.
In the words of Brené Brown, "If you're not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback." So let's remember that everyone's entitled to their own opinions, and we don't always have to agree or let those opinions shape our own.
So, my friends, I invite you to imagine what would change if you cared about others' thoughts only for the sake of connection. How would it impact you and your relationships? What new possibilities might open up?
Until we meet again, here's to more connecting and less morphing. Cheers!