Think about the people you depend on. You don't worry about what they are thinking. You know what they are thinking-for well or for ill-and you live with it just fine.
So who do we worry about? Often they are not even people whom we know. They are people we may never see again. They are people whose opinion we do not respect with regard to any other matter. They are people who do nothing for us, or who are not in a position to do less.
So what are we afraid of? What power do these people have over us?
In fact, they have no power over us except the power we give them-seeking what may be their passing or misplaced admiration.
And we may not even get it. After all, others have their own reasons to see things one way or another. Some people will hate you if only because everyone else likes you. Some people will speak ill of you if only because you are trying so hard to get no one to speak ill of you. What is worse, one mistake-or someone's vicious lie-and people will never look at us the same.
We cannot assure ourselves of people's admiration. Therefore, we do not need to try. We do better to remember that He who knows us best, loves us best, and is preparing us to become who others will see and love in heaven. We do better to remember that the only power people have over us is the power we give them trying to win their admiration. Therefore, once we say it doesn't matter, it doesn't.
Ironically, once we have decided that we do not care what others think, we always impress them.
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