Posted by: bellazon | September 22, 2011

What You Think of Me is None of My Business

I got a call from a woman who wanted help getting clear about purpose and direction.  She’d been all over the map, trying this and that, getting and acting on opinions from largely well-meaning friends and relatives, and seemed no closer to the clarity she wanted than she had been before all the opinions and free advice had been offered.  This woman was suffering from some kind of psychic motion sickness from all the bouncing around she’d been doing, and what I marveled at was that all the trial and error stuff she’d been doing was external in its focus with little or no internal exploration which, when done well, could have saved her a whole lot of emotional wear-and-tear.  She had put herself at the mercy of what others think, and it had become a scary and dangerous roller coaster ride.

As we spoke, she made the statement that all the efforts she’d been putting in, all the things she’d been trying on and finding not to fit, were done in an attempt to make sure that the people around her would continue to like her, would continue to approve of her, and would help her feel safe by (in some way I didn’t understand) having her back.  “It’s important that they think well of me, that they don’t criticize me.  I need to know they like me” was her mantra, and it didn’t seem to be doing her much good.

Rather than getting clear about who she is at this point in her life, she had gotten very clear about what it would take to make sure people like her.  And what it was taking was the constant effort to water down anything authentic about her and to become a bland and “one size fits all” kind of woman in her attempt to be acceptable to everyone.  This women could be living a dynamic and much more rewarding life, however as long as being liked by everyone is her goal, she doesn’t dare do anything outside that tight little box of hers; after all, someone might not approve.

This conversation puts me in mind of something one of my mentors said recently –   “I’m not here to make friends; I’m here to make a difference.”  She has reached that way of thinking as a result of doing very deep internal work, work that has allowed her to create a profound, loving, and trusting relationship with herself.  That relationship in place, she has ceased to be tossed around by the opinions of others.  She has learned to trust her own thoughts, feelings, and actions; she’s happy to have people like her, but it isn’t essential to her sense of well-being.  A place we could all afford to be. . . . .

 

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