Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What Other People Think About You Is None Of Your Business.

A very wise friend once told me, "What other people think about you is none of your business." Then she proceeded to tell me that what any body thinks about you comes down through their filters. We all have these filters that we look at life and other people through. Our filters are created by our experiences.

If information comes to a person through their filters and those filters are created by that person's experiences, then what they think about me truly isn't about me. It is about them, not me. If what a person thinks is more about them than it is about me, then it truly isn't my business. Their thoughts are not my business. It is theirs.

My 7-year-old granddaughter got me to thinking about this last week. She and her family were here visiting. On a day trip to visit her great-grandmother, she rode with her grandpa and I. During a lull in the conversation, my granddaughter asked, "Grandma, are you mad at Grandpa all the time?" I was shocked into a few minutes of silence thinking about what she said. I paused to wonder if that was how she saw me. Was I angry all of the time? Because of the articles that I have been writing on this blog, I have been a little intense lately. Also, with so many people in the house at one time, my stress levels were up some. Did I act angry even when I wasn't? I automatically assumed this question was about me. I told her, no, that I wasn't angry at Grandpa all of the time.

Then I proceeded to make a point of being nicer, of speaking in a softer voice, of smiling and laughing more to show her that I wasn't angry all the time. Was I acting? No, I was aware and put more effort into how I interacted with those around me. I am sometimes surprised at how others see me. Sometimes, they are accurate and sometimes they are not. The point is what others think about me, how they "see" me is still none of my business. It is theirs.

Later on, our granddaughter made a comment to her grandpa that he later shared with me. She told him that her mom and dad were always angry at each other. So when she asked if I was always angry at her grandpa, she was asking though the filters of her own experience which said that all husbands and wives are angry with each other all the time.

So what do I do when I receive a complaint or praise from someone, I look to see if any of it is true for me. If it isn't, then I let go of it. If it is true, then I make the decision to change or not. It is my decision to make, not the person doing the complaining or praising.

What do I do when I receive "Hate" emails, letters, or comments? I get hurt, angry, sad and feel all of them, then I love myself and send love to the other person.

What do I do when I receive "Praise" emails, letters or comments? I feel joy, excitement, pleasure. I allow myself to feel each of those, then I love myself and send love to the other person.

What lesson did I learn from this exercise?
What other people think about me is none of my business. It is theirs.
What I think about other people is none of their business. It is mine.
We all see the world though filters which affects how we see.
Love Is what life is about. Love yourself. Love others. We are all one.

35 comments:

Alexys Fairfield said...

What a wonderful story. We often don't know how we affect someone's perception. All we have to do is do everything with love. Put a little sugar on our words, make someone's day.

Nice blog.

klm said...

I love that quote, and you've beautifully illustrated the truth of it with your story about your granddaughter.

Powerful post, and a great reminder!

Thank you,

Much joy,
KL

Patricia Singleton said...

Alexys, thank you. I really got what I said in the article, maybe for the very first time myself.

Patricia Singleton said...

K-L, you are welcome. My granddaughter is the one who reminded me. I had forgotten what my friend had told me until I started thinking about how other people perceive us.

Andrea said...

Great post! It's amazing how enmeshed we become in each other's "stories." We are so powerful when we can meet someone else's criticism, anger, etc. with a calm and centered "this is not my issue." Thank you!

Blessings,
Andrea
http://www.EmpoweredSoul.com

Patricia Singleton said...

Andrea, thank you. It has taken me several years to finally "get" this lesson.

Luicd said...

... ;) I try not to let what people think about me effect my own opinion of myself, but because I am human, I can not always avoid this......

For the most part, I just say, "Hey, if they are talking about me...good or bad, I must be worth talking about!"

Have a great night!

Patricia Singleton said...

Lucid, I have been struggling with this just this week. When I wrote the article, the words just all fell into place. When I added the ending was when I really "got" the lesson. Thanks for stopping by.

Emma said...

Hey, I just read your comment on the Blog Experiment, and I gave you a Stumble I hope it helps I get a lot of traffic from them. Emm

Patricia Singleton said...

Emma, thanks. I appreciate the Stumble.

Soul Dancer said...

WOW - that is an incredible story. First of all, children know so much. They can sense some pretty "adult" things. Second, reading yor words, I have gained an actual voice to what I have been trying to say. In earlier posts, I have spoken about a friend who I realized did not see me as I saw myself....there are a lot of minute details...but essentially I started to doubt who I was because of her, and finally let it go. I felt sure that it was more about her than me. You articulated that so well through your story. Thank you,
Soul Dancer
ps - thank you for your comments on my blogs.....they too are highly appreciated.

Patricia Singleton said...

Soul Dancer, it is nice to hear from you. Thanks for your words of praise. As for your blog, I can't relate to your experiences, per se, but I didn't relate to the feelings that you talk about. As a fellow survivor, I know the feelings quit well. I am glad that I can possibly help another survivor through my words of encouragement. Have a glorious day.

Rashi said...

very nice and true...
somehow i can say that i realised this fact long ago abt myself or rather abt all of us...but it needs tons of courage to let ppl and their thinking to them and go on...
like, lemme say...ur name uttered in the farthest of the corners with faintest of voice leaves u bothered, ain't it ??

and we say it's none of our business, its their's...

Patricia Singleton said...

Rashi,Thanks for your comment.

Ellie said...

When I learned this -- "What other people think of me - is none of my business" -- I had a new level of freedom in my life!

I think what helped me with this was when I heard Wayne Dyer say - Your reputation is not up to you - other people give you your reputation - you really don't control it!

That was a big awakening for me! So much of my contrast use to come from trying to be what other people expected of me! What a life of tension that was!

Now I just Be Ellie! ;) - I don't purposely want to insult or hurt another being - but I can not control other people's perspectives.

When I incorporated this into my life several years ago - I guess I talked a lot about it... So my partner bought me a sweatshirt - It says "It's None of My Business!"

Patricia Singleton said...

Ellie, Hooray for more freedom to be yourself. Where can I get a tee-shirt that says, "It's None of My Business." I like that. Thanks for sharing.

Patricia Singleton said...

Andrea at Empowered Soul has linked to this article. You will find Andrea's article at http://www.empoweredsoul.com/blog/?p=123 . Check out Andrea's blog. She has some really great articles.

Patricia Singleton said...

This article has been included in the Personal Development & Happiness Carnival: Issue 20 by Alex Blackwell at the blog The Next 45 Years found at http://www.thenext45years.com/2007/12/personal-development-happiness-carnival_09.html .
My article is one of the three Featured Writers articles. Thank you for the honor, Alex.

CG Walters said...

A wonderful story, Patricia. Thank you.

"Say what you want and be who you are, because those who matter don't mind, and those who matter don't mind."--Dr. Seuss

many blessings,
CG

Patricia Singleton said...

CG, thanks for stopping by. I love that quote by Dr. Seuss.

funspirit said...

Great post, and so true. Thanks for that reminder. It helps us to gain the perspective of seeing where their information is coming from. Well put.

Patricia Singleton said...

Funspirit, Glad you liked it.

Patricia Singleton said...

This article has been included in the Carnival of Healing #124 found at http://therapeuticreiki.com/blog/2008/02/carnival-of-healing-124/ . Check out the great articles that are included in the Carnival.

Sue Curran said...

This was beautifully written. I always wondered more about that saying! The first time I came across it, it was just the quote, and I thought, "Whoah, that's a new one. How can this be? Info, please." And the explanation about our personal filters and all made sense. Your post brought out some very refreshing clarification about it on another level. It's nice to be told that there are still things that are none of our business, especially in this day and age of just about everybody thinking they have to know everything they are curious about. Some things are personal, and just plain none of our business. It's good to know what those are and why --- even if the super-egos out there are saying, "Well, hey, if it's about me, then it is my business." Nope. Not always. The third reason this post was a bit of fresh air is that it gives a glimmer of hope to those folks who have serious self-esteem issues, and can't seem to make any move without wondering/worrying about what other people think of 'em. The journey of discovering yourself, and being true to who you are is quite enough task for each of us, without worrying about who is watching, and what they might think. If we're not all wrapped up in what others think of us (or what we think about them) we are a lot freer to continue our lifepaths of enlightenment, and enjoying our journey. Beautifully done!

Patricia Singleton said...

Sue, thank you. I love how comments such as yours just adds to the overall message with a deeper explanation from someone else who got what the message meant.

Liara Covert said...

This is insightful. So many people choose to be distracted by the prospect of external approval. You gently remind readers that is not the only way to live.

Patricia Singleton said...

Liara, thank you. Just a few days ago, I read on someone else's blog that there was actually a book with this title. I didn't know that. I thought my friend was sharing her own bit of wisdom. I didn't know that it was something she had read years ago.

PRProPam aka: Pamela R. Purifoy said...

I loved this article, and the message it sends. I, too, send love as often as I can to others. And the reactions are always pleasant. Love is all we mere mortals are in search of. :) Be blessed.

Patricia Singleton said...

Pamela, Isn't spreading love grand? Thank you for further enriching my article with your comment.

JASunshine1011 said...

Greetings Ms. Singleton,
Thank you so much for sharing your writings & insights with us; and to your granddaughter for reminding you of "What other people think about you is none of your business." I am also thankful to my colleague for sharing your blog with me. How enriching it is indeed to spread love & blessings to others. May the journey along your spiritual path continue to be an enlightening. Blessings, Positive & Irie Vibes and Love to You and Your Family.

Patricia Singleton said...

JASunshine1011, you are very welcome. Thanks to you and your colleague for taking the time to read and share my blog articles. Blessings to you as well.

Sherril said...

I just received one of those emails with lovely pictures and wise sayings and when I came across the one..."What other people think about you is none of your business", my first reactionaws, no, that's not true and I passed it. But it stuck in my head so I went back to it, highlighted it and did a yahoo search to see if it came from somewhere and what exactly it means. There are many articles resulting from the search, including your blog post. What you said about what others say about you comes through their own life filters and the example you gave of your granddaughter, hit it home for me. So, I guess it's true. I will think about it more and wanted to thank you for your post (even if I am two years late in finding it).

Patricia Singleton said...

Sherril, I am glad to know that this article helped you. When my friend first told me this saying, I didn't want to believe it either. I attributed the saying to my friend not knowing where she had heard it. I still don't know where it came from either but occasionally someone else will share it with me when I need to be reminded of it the most. Thanks for leaving your comment.

Rayne Beaux said...

Having read this article many times, I often return to it when I find myself no longer believing in the saying. After all, shouldn't it be my business what other people think of me? Then I read this blog again and remember the essence of why it really has nothing to do with me. Thank you so much for such a well thought out and simple article that definitely gets the point across in such a graceful manner. Namaste.

Patricia Singleton said...

Rayne, thank you for letting me know that you keep coming back to read this post and that it makes a difference. A very dear friend helps me to come to terms with this lessons. She died 5 years ago and I still miss her and think of her wisdom when I read this post.