The single most important cause of abandoned dreams can be summed up into the phrase, “what will people say?” or the more local “Log kya kahenge?” (Hindi) or “Jana yen heltare?” (Kannada). I don’t know if this happens everywhere in the world, but in India, this is a reality! And given that most of us in India are (at least) tri-lingual, we get to hear this hideous phrase in more than one language, more than once in our lives.
In the most stressful moments, well meaning parents, sometimes give you these pearls of wisdom.
You failed in some subject – What will people say?
(In your teens/early 20s) You are dating someone – *Gasp* What will people say?
(In your late 20s/30s) You are not dating someone/married yet – *Gasp* What will people say?
You have a Tattoo! – What will people say?
You don’t have a good Job (as a software engineer, in the US, perhaps) – What will people say?
I bet I can fill this post with hundreds of examples, and still barely have scratched only the surface.
So who are these People, whose opinions we are so afraid of. More often than not, they are are people around us, extended family/relatives, acquaintances, Facebook “friends”, nosy co-workers, etc., AKA people who add Zero value to your life, but the first ones to give you their (often useless) opinions. These are people who have way too much time on their hands, whose own lives are probably so depressing and pathetic that they need to entertain themselves with the lives of others.
I read somewhere that love is the absence of judgment – both these things cannot exist simultaneously. So when we find ourselves the object of someone’s judgment, we can safely assume that they don’t love or care about us. They cast judgment because perhaps it makes them feel more superior.
So its up to us if we want to give any thought to what these people say. Also, the things people say is often a reflection of themselves. Think about that!
I have been fortunate enough to learn at a very early age that these people and their opinions don’t matter. I am also blessed with a parents who are as individualistic as I am. They have given me the resilience to drown out the noise that is “what will people say?”, and live my own life.
So before you care about what people will say, decide if their opinions matter based on the 3 F Rule-
Always remember, each life is independent of another, yes, we all co-exist, but for the most part we have to face consequences of our actions, not the people around us. So does it really matter if some inconsequential person doesn’t approve of someone else’s life, or how one chooses to live it.
So do yourself a favor, and stop worrying about what people think, or seeking validation from others, and live your life in a way which truly makes you happy.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”
See you soon.