How many of your daily choices are based on your perception of other people’s opinion of you? How often are you consciously or unconsciously influenced by that sneaky little inner voice that says: “But what will my husband (or children, parents, friends, co-workers, bosses, clients, or the ever-popular amorphous mass that is ‘people’) think?”
Our perception of other people’s opinions is perhaps the greatest limitation we impose upon ourselves. So many of our life choices – to start a business, to begin, end or continue a relationship, our choice of career and education, what we eat, how we dress – are based on what we think others think.
The problem? We don’t know what other people think. We can’t know.
Why the persistent preoccupation with other people’s opinions? Why does the fear of their disapproval paralyze us, keep us from standing in our Truth and pursuing our purpose and passion? Why would our parents’ perceived opinion be enough to keep us in a bad marriage? Why would our friends’ perceived concerns keep us in a Soul-sucking job? Why do we work so hard to arrange our lives to gain approval from others? Especially when the “others” are often just a vague concept of societal norms?
Why do we base so many of our choices on our perception of others’ opinions?
I think the answer is simple. We are interdependent on each other for survival.
If no-one thinks that we are valuable enough to hire – for something, anything – we will lose our homes and starve. That’s probably the most basic fear, the survival instinct that causes us to pause and consider the opinions of others before we make a choice. Beyond that, we fear that we will not be loved, liked, or have no community.
All of this fear is deeply rooted in humanity’s history. Once upon a time, we lived in tiny tribes and villages where being accepted was necessary to our survival. Being different meant ostracism and even death. No wonder, then, that most of us are uncomfortable standing out from the crowd.
Society has evolved, of course. Thanks to the Internet, we now have access to each other by the millions. No matter how different or weird we are (remember, this is a professional psychic talking!), there are people just like us “out there” that we can serve and connect with via social media, discussion forums, blogs, and other online media. But our preoccupation with each others’ opinion persists and continues to shape our choices.
None of us are immune to this phenomenon, by the way. I’m definitely not! Sure, we say things like: “Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter.” But we care what other people think. To this day, our survival depends on it.
Of course, there’s another way to live. It takes courage, but it is also the path to abundance.
We cannot know the opinion of others. But we can know ourselves – what we want, what we love, what expresses our Being. We are abundant in self-knowledge … or at least, we can become abundant in self-knowledge, given a little practice! But we will never, ever know what others think.
These are the two paths available to us, then. We can base our choices on self-knowledge, which is abundantly available to us. Or we can base our choices on other people’s opinions, which we will always, always lack.
Given that our consequences always reflect the energy of our choice, the path to abundance can only be grounded in self-knowledge and authentic self-expression – because that’s what’s abundantly available to us at all times. If we just stop at the moment of choice and ask ourselves whether we are truly expressing who we are, or simply trying to please someone else, new abundance opens up to us.
Here’s a fun little exercise to try. If you could wipe your slate clean, walk out of your life as it is right now, wipe out everyone’s memory of you, and re-create your life from scratch with a magical wand to be ANYTHING you want … what would it be? Write it out. Let you imagination run wild.
How much of your magical life is present in your current reality? And whose perceived opinions are you using as an excuse to not live exactly how you want?
At the end of the day, only we stand between ourselves and our authentic abundance!