The Hidden Treasure

Where Ancient Wisdom Meets Contemporary Psychology

But What Will Others Think?

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Jan• 26•15
Contemplation #4

“Why are favor and disgrace alarming?

Seeking favor is degrading: alarming when it is gotten, alarming when it is lost…

Man’s true self is eternal, yet he thinks, “I am this body and will soon die.”  

The Tao (verse 13)

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.

I do not give to you as the world gives.”

John 14:27

Caring too much about what others think is often one of the greatest obstacles derailing personal and spiritual growth. Placing too much importance on how others might evaluate or react to what we say or do, or to the decisions we make, can radically restrict our potential; placing artificial limits and boundaries around our creative power. After all, concern over what others may think is nothing more than imaginary fear, and nothing positive can be created from such a mindset.

Abraham Maslow, the great motivational psychologist, spent his professional life studying the habits and traits of highly successful, self- actualized individuals. One of the qualities he discovered common to all of them was they  lived  “free from the good opinions of others.”  These were all individuals who were more than just financially successful, they were”self- actualized.” This means they were deeply at peace with themselves, living  life with a passionate sense of purpose and meaning. In Dr. Maslow’s words:

All the evidence we have indicates that in every human being there is an active will toward health and growth. What a man or woman can be, they must be, if they are to be at peace. We call this self- actualization.”

Every one of us is born with a Divine purpose. We possess internally an innate drive to self- actualize; to grow and evolve toward full awareness of our spiritual perfection. To ignore this drive, or resist it, can lead to states of depression and anxiety. There is no deeper sense if inner peace and self-satisfaction than that which comes from living life “on purpose,” continually evolving and growing into the person we were created to be.  Furthermore, nothing restricts the evolution toward self- actualization more than a chronic worry or concern over what others might think.

Of course this does not mean that we remain oblivious to constructive criticism. The constructive feedback of others is one of our greatest assets for shaping and motivating personal and spiritual growth. It does mean we don’t give up our creative power and passion to worries and concerns over what others might think.

In the 13th verse of the Tao, we are encouraged to awaken to the awareness that we are spiritual beings having a brief physical experience. It is only by realizing that our perfection lies in the spiritual and not the physical realm that we are able to give up concern for what others may think; freeing us to pursue the actualization of our, “true self.”  This was also what Jesus meant when he told  his disciples that the peace he offered was, “not of this world.”  

To live a life of inner peace, purpose, and meaning requires we let go of our attachment to concerns over what others may think, or how they may react, and have the courage to follow our Divine inner calling:

“Man was meant to sit quietly and find his truth within.”

and then

“For the wise, all of life is a movement toward perfection.” 

The Tao

Loa quote3

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