Many people do things because they believe others are saying bad things about them.
Let me give you the truth of it. Other people do question your decisions. Some people think you are an idiot. Others think you should eat less. Some think you should eat more. Sleep more. Read more. Think more. Spend less. Travel more widely. Quit spending so much on travel. Come on. It’s ridiculous how much you spend on takeout. Why do you watch so much television? Why don’t you have a television?
All these questions are being asked about you all the time. Unless of course you have not done anything at all. If you are not a player, there are no haters.
You can spend a great deal of time wondering about what others are thinking about you. Especially if you suspect that there has been chatter about something you’ve done. And the bigger a thing you have done the more likely there has been chatter. If you actually have screwed up, then people will talk about that, but maybe that’s okay too.
I remember a woman saying to me when my daughter was a teenager, “What would you do if your daughter got pregnant? Wouldn’t you be so worried what the neighbors would think?”
I laughed and she looked surprised.
I remember at the time thinking that I’d be concerned about my daughter and her life, but not one whit about the neighbors. What neighbors? I don’t even know my neighbors.
In retrospect, I realize that was arrogance. When it came to our family, no, I just did my best and didn’t worry about what others thought, but when it comes to the press, to writing, to life in general, I do care a bit. I don’t want to care, but I do.
But, I know that the main focus of my life, of any life cannot be concern over what others think.
Whose opinion should we focus on?
We each have our own sense of right and wrong. We each have a moral code that we live by. If we violate our own moral code, we should feel badly. If someone is talking smack about you, or you think they are talking smack, and you actually feel that you have violated your own moral code, it’s time to feel guilty.
We waste time worrying about what others think. It is a waste of energy. A waste of hours. Of life.
I have a moral code and I do my best to live by it. There are a few people whose opinions I care about. I am honored to have friends with a high moral code. I sleep well at night knowing that every day I do my best. And that tomorrow, I will do better.