I love this story. This happened in a group therapy setting. A young man was talking about how people were judging him, what others thought about what he was doing, how upset he was at what he was sure other people were thinking about him. Someone in the group who seemed to be nodding off suddenly raised his head, looked at the young complaining man and said: Kid, what other people think of you is none of your business. And he resumed his seeming napping. Pretty astounding words of wisdom…….and very true. Simple, but not easy to apply, as usual.
It’s very hard not to be affected by outside people, conditions and things, and what we imagine people think about us. But all that brings us suffering. How wonderful that life has such built-in challenges to help us learn how to stay on our own path!
All we can ever do is live on our Path. This is the Law of Individuality. Our path is our path , our life, and we are not meant to be on anyone else’s path (except our children, for a time) . We can’t live anyone else’s life path and they can’t live our life path. When we wander off our path, as all of us are wont to do regularly, we distract ourselves from our path and our work. That’s when we catch ourself thinking about other people and what they should be doing, or what they are thinking about us.
Every time we realize we are thinking about someone else and what they are doing or should be doing, or telling ourself a story about what someone else is thinking about us, we can practice catching ourself, forgiving ourself for getting off our path temporarily, and get back on our path, with our intention. Of course, our human mind wants to distract us! Our human mind finds great difficulty in being present with just ourself, thinking about what is most loving to us in the moment – that would be boring, selfish, uncomfortable….or so our human mind tells us. When we choose to be on our path and align with our Higher Self and fill up with all the good feeling and love we are, then we can spill that over to everyone and everything around us. After we fill up. Which requires us to be on our path. So much more interesting to think about someone else’s path. And so much less fulfilling and nourishing.
Of course, when we stay on our own path, take loving care of ourself and release excessive responsibility for others (by not getting on their path), not everyone is happy. If another is not taking loving care of themself, they may not be too happy that we are. When we relinquish (false) responsibility for someone else, they may not like that they are left to stew on their path….because they don’t know they are completely taken care of, as we all are. Just not always the way we would like to be, or think it should be. Therein is the danger, and suffering, of being attached to how we think it should be.
Wishing you the strength to stay on your path, so as to find the joy in you and your path.