Don’t Mind What Other People Think About YouAug 23, 2020
As with feelings and attitudes, we must own our own thoughts. Our thoughts have much bearing on our emotional growth. Not all emotional disturbance comes from thinking, but it does play a vital part. (In reality, our emotions affect our thinking more than the other way around because feeling is primary, and thinking is secondary. But this isn’t about theories of psychology. Let’s just say that emotions and thought affect each other, and both must be owned.)
Our thinking affects how we respond to people and situations. We notice that we can have thoughts that make us move away from relationship. We may think, “They would never like me anyway, so I won’t call.” This is an example of thinking oneself into isolation. We must own all thinking that prevents interpersonal relating. Condemning thoughts about others always hurts us. We must own our critical thinking and confess it.
At the same time, we can’t be responsible for the thoughts of others. If someone is thinking good or bad about us, we must accept it. We can try to affect it, but we can’t control it. We must give people the freedom to think what they will.
When a dad cut his daughter off from her trust fund, she thought he was mean. When the alcoholic’s wife refused to tolerate his drunken behavior, he thought she was a traitor. When the father grounded his teenage daughter, she thought he was a bad parent. Whenever we do anything, people will have an opinion about it. We must allow them to own their opinions and not try to cross their boundaries to change them.
If we are afraid of people’s condemnation, we are in serious trouble. Many people do not take responsibility for their own lives, and they will think we are bad for not taking care of them. We must allow them to think negatively of us and to take responsibility for their own opinions. And some people will be critical no matter what we do.
We must not worry about what other people say about us, but we should pay close attention to what we think about ourselves.