Do you care what other people think of you?
If you’re like most people, you do.
In fact, according to Scientific America, it’s natural for humans to care what other people think of them.
But if you’re caring too much and you’re adjusting your life according to other people’s expectations, it may be time to push back.
In a brilliant passage below, spiritual master Osho offers some fantastic advice on why you should stop caring what other people think of you.
Why you should stop caring what other people think about you
To begin, Osho says that instead of caring what other people think about you, you should instead look inside yourself:
“Nobody can say anything about you. Whatsoever people say is about themselves. But you become very shaky because you are still clinging to a false center. That false center depends on others, so you are always looking at what people are saying about you. And you are always following other people, you are always trying to satisfy them. You are always trying to be respectable, you are always trying to decorate your ego. This is suicidal. Rather than being disturbed by what others say, you should start looking inside yourself…
Whenever you are self-conscious you are simply showing that you are not conscious of the self at all. You don’t know who you are. If you had known, then there would have been no problem— then you are not seeking opinions. Then you are not worried what others say about you— it is irrelevant!
When you are self-conscious you are in trouble. When you are self-conscious you are really showing symptoms that you don’t know who you are. Your very self-consciousness indicates that you have not come home yet.”
“The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.”
Why you need to learn to love yourself
According to Osho, it’s important to love yourself. And when you learn to love yourself, not only will you stop caring what other people think of you, but your self-growth will skyrocket:
“Love and respect yourself and never compromise for anything. And then you will be surprised how much growth starts happening of its own accord… as if rocks have been removed and the river has started flowing.”
However, Osho says that’s difficult to love ourselves because none of us have learned to accept who we truly are:
“Lao Tzu says: “Accept yourself. Non-acceptance is the root of all the trouble.” None of us accept ourselves. The more a person doesn’t accept himself, the greater a mahatma he looks to others to be. We are our greatest enemy. If we had our way, we would cut ourselves to pieces in order to remove what was unacceptable.”
Osho says that this has a lot to do with our ego because it feels empty:
“Remember always, whatsoever the personality brags about is exactly the opposite of your reality. If you are feeling unintelligent inside, your personality will project intelligence. If you are feeling unloving inside, your personality will create a very sweet, smiling, loving quality. It is not just to deceive others; it is really, basically, to deceive oneself. You want to forget your unlovingness. If you are feeling empty inside, your personality will start gathering a thousand and one possessions.”
So, the question is, how can we let go of the ego?
According to Osho, we can let go of our ego by practicing meditation:
“If you meditate and slowly, slowly get out of the ego and out of your personality and realize your real self, love will come on its own. You don’t have to do anything, it is a spontaneous flowering. But it blossoms only in a certain climate, and that climate I call meditation. In the climate of silence — no-mind, no disturbance inside, absolute clarity, peace and silence — suddenly, you will see thousands of flowers have opened within you, and their fragrance is love. Naturally, first, you will love yourself because that will be your first encounter. First, you will become aware of the fragrance that is arising in you and the light that has been born in you, and the blissfulness that is showering on you. Then love will become your nature. Then you will love many; then you will love all.”
There are many different ways to practice meditation. But according to Osho, the technique that’s especially effective when practicing meditation is to become an “observer of the mind”.
He explains how to go about it:
“Meditation starts by being separate from the mind, by being a witness. That is the only way of separating yourself from anything. If you are looking at the light, naturally one thing is certain: you are not the light, you are the one who is looking at it. If you are watching the flowers, one thing is certain: you are not the flower, you are the watcher.”
“Watching is the key of meditation:
“Watch your mind.
“Don’t do anything – no repetition of a mantra, no repetition of the name of god – just watch whatever the mind is doing. Don’t disturb it, don’t prevent it, don’t repress it; don’t do anything at all on your part. You just be a watcher, and the miracle of watching is meditation. As you watch, slowly mind becomes empty of thoughts; but you are not falling asleep, you are becoming more alert, more aware.
“As the mind becomes completely empty, your whole energy becomes aflame of awakening. This flame is the result of meditation. So you can say meditation is another name of watching, witnessing, observing – without any judgment, without any evaluation. Just by watching, you immediately get out of the mind.”
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