One of the great hallmarks of a Self Intelligent person is a significant reduction in the concern about what other people think. This gives them the freedom to be naturally who they are.
Caring about what other people think has huge consequences on your happiness, health and sense of fulfilment.
So let me ask, do you care about what other people think?
If your immediate answer is NO, let’s take a closer look – you may be surprised.
Answer, Yes, No or Maybe to the following
- Are your relationships free of drama?
- Are you fulfilling your purpose in the world?
- Can you spend long periods with your parents without being triggered?
- Can you create and live the life you want without the fear of failure?
- Are you radically honest in every aspect of your life?
- Are you free of justification, being cynical, judgement or defensiveness?
If you answered, no or maybe, both indicate you are caring about what other people think…which is not a problem – it’s a fact one must come to terms with to be able to free yourself further.
When teaching meditation to beginners, on the first day I would ask, ‘hands up if you care about what other people think’. Most of the time, no one in the room would put their hand up. Why? Because they all cared about what these strangers sitting next to them would think if they put their hand up. The answer was revealed in the questions. And yet their mind is often saying – No, I don’t care.
Never underestimate the power of denial – seriously!
Let’s look at why we care about what other people think from a fundamental level.
At the root of caring about what other people think is our ‘self image’ which is part of the ego construct. The self image is a ‘mind made’ version of you. It is not who you really are because it changes throughout your life and somehow you, the real YOU, remains the same despite these changes.
So where is this self image located? Have you ever looked for it? Try it now. Can you find your self image? Do you have an image of yourself in your head to remind you of who you are? No, probably not.
Now, you may notice there is a voice in your head that narrates everything that is happening and there are feelings and emotions that reflect directly what you are perceiving. I will speak to those later. But for now, let’s continue to investigate the self image because this is going to blow your mind… or your self image for that matter!
From the moment you were born the self image was being formed by the genuine loving smiles of the people around you. It was also being formed by their disapproval, fear and judgement.
We perceive this through their body language, voice tone and reactions. This was received as either being loved or judged. Accepted or rejected. Judgement and rejection triggers the survival reflex. This is the strongest unconscious reflex we have – to survive and feel safe. Therefore, to feel safe we want to feel loved and accepted. We want to be valued. And we often lose ourselves trying.
So here it is….
Your self image is a ‘memory‘ of yourself through the ‘judgements’ of others – good or bad.
When you look at someone, you are simultaneously remembering and creating a version of yourself through them. Therefore, your self image is completely dependent on others to confirm its existence.
The origin of the self image is therefore completely external, and yet somehow we manage to mistake it as ‘who we are’.
Knowing who you are, what you want, your future plans and aspirations – all depend on it.
As a ‘self image’ you are fundamentally dictated by others and whether they approve or disapprove of you, and in either case your self image strengthens. The self image is unconsciously energised by proving itself through your own body language and behaviour. You create and orchestrate reactions in others to prove your existence – to prove the past memory of yourself in the present, so you can know who you are in the future (both are illusions).
If you are living through a self image (which 99.9% of people are), you are literally a slave to the responses and reactions of others, since your life ‘as a self image’ depends on it.
As a self image, we exhaust ourselves trying to work out ways to be loved and accepted. Lying is fundamental to this way of living. Every interaction has some level of pretence and every person has their unique techniques and approaches to maintain their self image through others.
So just to be clear…
Your self image is literally created by the judgements of others, which you mistake as yourself.
Therefore, if you identify with your self image, which is created by judgement – you are vibrating at the frequency of judgement. No one wants to know this, they deny it because it creates more judgement which is a breeding ground for shame and guilt (more on that later).
But why denial? The ‘self image’ often convinces itself it doesn’t judge when it is literally MADE of JUDGEMENT. This is classic. How many people have said to me they judge themselves but they don’t judge others in the same way. This is fundamentally not true. This person is judging themselves for judging others and then denying it to uphold their self image of being ‘a good person’, which is in itself a judgement.
One of the skills of Self Intelligence is to admit your judgements. This has proven to be one of the most challenging tasks because by doing so, the self image is being put directly in the spotlight. Sometimes huge resistance comes up – anger, tantrums and tears flow and finally through love and support the judgements start pouring out. I literally watch the self image dissolve like a deflating balloon and what remains is a serene, beautiful being, radiating light.
A powerful question when judgement arises, from one of my favorite teachers Byron Katie is,
Who would you be without the thought?
The self image is terrified of this question. The fear is not knowing who you would be, what you would do, care about, fight for, work towards.
How do I be in the world not guided or motivated by judgement?
It’s the fear of being completely lost and directionless but the complete opposite is true. These are just the defences I call ‘gatekeepers’ of the self image to overt from the power of the question.
Self Intelligence involves Self Recognition practices designed to create the habit of recognising who you truly are ‘beyond’ the judgement (approval or disapproval) of others. It’s important this becomes a habit because once the habit is set you are free from judgement and therefore truly free of caring about what other people think (not the denial version mentioned earlier).
If you would like to know more and go beyond concepts into the actual experience then come join me for a FREE Live event called the Wake Up Experience and start the journey of truly freeing yourself.