Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"What you think of me is none of my business"

That is one of my favorite sayings. It comes from a book by the same name from author and motivator, Shakti Gawan.
On the other hand, though, is being grateful for the opinions of others as a way to balance your inner self. Take the criticism and the compliments both and use them as tools in your personal growth. Read a little more about the gratitude side from Wes Hopper, below:

Other People's Opinions

"Favor and disgrace are equally problematic.
Favor lifts you up; disgrace knocks you down.
Either one depends on the opinions of others,
and causes you to depart from your center."

- - Tao Te Ching
I'm always amazed at how much real wisdom was known and written a long time ago. We get so involved in the newest technology and scientific discoveries that we tend to think that our generation must be really smart compared to those poor ignorant souls of the past.

Well, being smart and being wise are two very different things! There's a reason why many ancient teachings are called "wisdom traditions" and not "smart traditions." In my experience, smart can get you into a lot of trouble, wisdom can keep you out.

The quotation from the Tao Te Ching that I have above is over 2,600 years old, but its wisdom is timeless. One way in which we can have a very emotionally upsetting life is to allow ourself to depend on others for our self esteem.

I think that we all know that we can't let the negative comments of others get to us. We learn from experience to "shake it off" and go forward. But, as the Tao points out, we need to be just as unaffected by compliments as we are by criticism!

Why should that be? We all love compliments, right? But compliments can be addictive and actually make us more vulnerable to criticism, if we depend on them for positive reinforcement. Because, as the Tao says, we are depending on the opinion of others and departing from our center. Our self esteem should rise up out of the center of ourselves, in our confidence that we are doing our best, and that we're just fine.

Compliment addiction can also distract us from our purpose in life if we begin to do what we know will bring compliments rather than doing what we know is truly ours to do. Look at the lives of the people who have really accomplished something magnificent and you will see that they had to be indifferent to both criticism and compliments to pursue their dream. They stayed true to their center.

From a gratitude standpoint we can be equally grateful for compliments and criticism, seeing each as an input that we can examine and, if we choose, use as feedback to improve. But if we use either one to determine how we feel about ourselves, then we're in trouble.

Is there anything in your life that you're not doing because of potential criticism? Is there anything that you are doing that you'd rather not, but you don't want to give up the compliments? That's something to think about.

In gratitude,

PS - Remember to go to dailygratitude.com and give us your comments.
© 2008 Wes Hopper. All rights reserved.
Feel free to pass the above in its entirety to anyone you wish.

1 comment:

HermitJim said...

Hey Cat...thanks for posting such an interesting topic. These kinds of things make us stop and think...or should. As you know, I am a firm believer that this kind of thinking can help us all live better lives.

Great post! I enjoyed it