Only a strong altruistic individual can care about people while being unconcerned about how they see him.
The less you care about how people see you the healthier you are. In most cases worrying over image is superficial. When this becomes an obsession we neglect the intimate internal experience and focus solely on external approval. The need to be accepted physically may be so ingrained into people that their entire makeup is dictated by popular culture. It is possible to shift from being unnecessarily concerned over image to being carefree and happy. The shift may be sudden and reckless or slow and sensible. Image is superficial but unfortunately it does matter and can open or close doors of opportunity.
Sometimes people snap and stop caring what others think about them. All throughout life they were politically correct. The way they dressed and talked was motivated by being accepted. The fear of being shunned by society induced a suppression of their true feelings. Eventually internal pressure leads to implosion or emotional explosion. These emotional outbursts provide release and facilitate regaining of composure.
Caring about how people see you is necessary for maintaining healthy relationships. However your own life and ambitions must all be taken into consideration. In a practical sense people whose opinions about us matter most should be given priority. These include teachers, bosses, loved ones and law enforcers.
Anyone who is not self employed works for someone. Going out of your way to impress your boss is unnecessary and may be embarrassingly obvious. Diplomacy, civility and occasional kindness is far more effective. If the boss gets on your nerves by exhibiting behavior you find distasteful but does not require you to participate simply ignore him. If the behavior is disgusting but you do not find it immoral ignore him. The psychological satisfaction of speaking out against peeves might not be worth it in the long run. Sometimes following the rules, diplomacy, and tolerance is necessary to advance to higher levels. Never sweat the small stuff. Set sensible goals to elevate yourself from your position. Create a plan and stick to it. Visualize yourself being there.
Most people who break the rules were very diplomatic and followed them in the early stages. They were patient and thought ahead. Be patient, work your way to the top. When you have moved up the pyramid you no longer have to conform to the laws below you. At this stage the boss will not be your boss anymore and you can speak out all you want without his being able to stop you.
Loved Ones and Friends
Our loved ones hold a special place in our hearts. It’s okay to care how they see us. In some cases we can be altruistic and let them shine. You might like music that your grandmother dislikes. The first reaction of many young people is to put up a defense and criticize her for being out of touch with the younger generation. All of this is avoidable. You can listen with headphones, turn it down or listen where she can’t hear. She is old and you are young, winning a debate with her solves nothing. It is better to compromise and allow her to win the argument. You don’t want to look back years from now and remember constantly fighting with her over trivial things you felt strongly about at that time. You don’t want to repeat the same thing with your grandchildren.
Judges, police officers and other officials may be overbearing. They may be acting on calls from inquisitive neighbors or they make baseless judgments. Whatever the case is they shouldn’t be brushed off like dust. A small outburst on your part may trigger may trigger a situation in which you are abused. Even if you refuse to answer any questions be civil and assertive. They might go away and never disturb you again.
Associates carry less weight than law enforcers and employers. They are not as cherished as loved ones. You might not even like them but you associate with them for a reason. It could be business or survival. It’s okay to remove yourself from the associates that serve no real purpose.
Listen, be humble and learn. To get knowledge from someone you need to do these three things.
All the countless other people you encounter in real life and online that have no direct effect on you should not occupy your mind. Concerning yourself with what these people think is not worth the mental energy. Many people spend their time concerned with the opinions of people that don’t matter, they use precious energy that could be directed elsewhere.
Up The Pyramid
We all have a personal pyramid to conquer. For some reaching the pyramid peak means financial independence, for others it’s emotional independence. On your way to the top you care about the essential people and ignore the rest. Spiritual practice fosters the mental freedom to be yourself without caring what others think. You can care about them and love them, and not care about how they view you. Your love comes with no conditions. It’s not easy to reach this height of unconditional love, and it shouldn’t be forced. It is much more effective and less stressful to be selective in who you concern yourself about. No matter how high you reach you might always care about how your loved ones see you.