I remember vividly the first time I heard these words. It was about week 3 into my stay at the Glasgow Priory and I was spending a couple of hours back in the real world in Southside Glasgow with one of the staff members. She was to be one of my early spiritual guides in the new phase of my human existence.
We were sitting having a cup of tea in a little café and we might have been chatting about me going home. I honestly can’t remember the exact chat but I must have said something along the lines of ‘people will think I’m a flake’ and she looked me straight in the eye and said something that has stayed with me almost as a protective super power cloak.
“Bernie what other people think of you is none of your business.”
I remember feeling a bit told off by the words. I’m sure as kids we have had the words “That’s none of your business” quoted at us -so my initial reaction was interesting – “what do you mean it’s none of my business of course it is”. But she just smiled and shook her head – “No Bernie it’s not’
Something started to click and after a few seconds when she explained more I began to experience a new sensation- it was like another epiphany and I the next feeling was one of relief. It was as if I had just been given permission to drop a massive sack that I had been permanently carrying on my back.
“Hold on” I said – “you mean it’s actually none of my business- I don’t have to give it the amount of thought that I do- I don’t have to be concerned about what I think other people’s reactions to me are- or more so I don’t have to waste any of my time wondering about what they think of me- it’s really none of my business? – it’s really not my concern- nothing to do with me. It’s their business – not mine- I can just get on with living my life”. “Yes” she said smiling– and suddenly my smile grew to match.
She was so right- You simply can’t know or control other people’s thoughts – it’s a fool’s game to try to – its exhausting– I was so exhausted from 41 years of worrying about what other people thought of me- I gave it way too much energy – I have no energy left to be – no wonder I felt uncreative.
How about you – how does this statement make you feel?- Just take it in for yourself now – what other people think of you is none of your business.
How would you dress -walk -talk throughout your day -How would it change how you spoke up in front of your colleagues/fellow peers /fellow parents at a meeting – or how you spoke amongst strangers at a workshop, or a gathering of any kind. How would it affect your morning if you waved to someone you know but they didn’t wave back or you smiled at someone but get nothing in return? (these used to send me into a tailspin- “What have I done to upset them I wonder”, or she/he clearly doesn’t like me?)
People have way more to think about in their lives and a lot of the time they are so in their heads they don’t notice the wave – the smile – remember it’s not all about YOU.
Just think instead of spending time wondering or worrying about what other people think of you -you can now say– it’s none of my business – I’m off the hook -I’m free from concern about any of that.
Here are some other scenarios. You say no to someone you usually always say yes to because the old thought was ‘I want their approval’ – now you know it’s none of your business – you can just say NO- job done.
You reply to emails when ready without apology instead of previously breaking your neck to reply instantly in case they think you are rude- why the change- because what other people think of you is none of your business.
You wave to someone but they don’t wave back- you let it go send them love- – repeat the words- It’s not about me -get on with your day.
You share something you have created in this world to a larger audience and you find your work feels lighter and more honest – why? because once again you have remembered -what other people think of you is none of your business.
With so much love until tomorrow.