I pause within a sudden urge to skip, refraining from the possibility of looking like an idiot in heels. This is only because I am keenly aware that people will see me.
Sadly, the fleeting moment of spontaneous expression has evaporated. The mere thought that another human might witness my childish behavior has effectively sucked the life right out of any impromptu display of joy. I’m a grown-up. I’ve been socialized. I decide upon an appropriate smirk and a short hop in my stride, instead.
It’s a trivial consideration, really. Entertaining a brief notion that another human being might observe my behavior, and formulate an opinion toward it, had introduced just enough doubt to stop me from skipping in public. The content of their perceived opinion is irrelevant. It’s only that I considered their feedback at all, however briefly, that had effectively thwarted my stride.
So why should I care what anyone thinks?
I know all the “healthy” answers to that:
“What other people think is none of my business”
“Personal power is significantly diluted when the perception of others is considered”
“Secondary opinions undermine primary creative control”
Any witch seeking to orchestrate the circumstances of her life experience knows this crap. She studied it. It is an intellectually sound concept that reveals the truth in her innate ability to create the life she desires, effectively defining the absolute power of sovereignty.
If I know all this, why on earth would I still practice caring about the opinions of others? I wondered that, too. I wondered about it so much that I dissected the pesky habit right down to the underlying source.
Of course it is!…Until I inadvertently allowed the satisfaction of praise to mess with my self-worth.
I thought about this in ‘big picture’ view. Sometimes stepping back to simply observe the dynamics of my interaction with the rest of the planet facilitates a neutral understanding. When I eliminate any judgment, remove the emotional factor, and view the way I respond to others as if I were just a character in a story, then any elements of discord can be recognized pretty quickly.
I clearly discovered the glitch. Associating that ‘good feeling’ I had whenever someone recognized my behavior with a compliment, especially when I was young, is what has served to program my internal operating system. Seriously. Credit the power of socialization, my ignorance, or the child-like willingness to please, but I had allowed the positive feedback of others to literally train my self-perception into a habitual pattern of seeking approval from others. I woke up one fine day to realize that the manner in which others respond to my behavior had seemingly become more significant than any opinion I may have had of myself…that is, if I could even remember having an opinion of myself that was not in some way influenced by the feedback of someone else.
Good god. What have I done?!?
Well, this is easy now. No need to get emotional once the big picture is clear.
The ‘girl in the story’ feels good. She feels really, really good every time that she is recognized with a compliment. On the other hand, she has learned that responding to criticism interferes with her personal agenda, so she’ll just have to ignore any feedback that feels bad.
And there it is.
I can’t have it both ways. I reclaimed creative control over my life experience the moment I decided to devalue outward perceptions across the board. Just as I declare my independence from the scrutiny of others, so too must I detach my vested interest from the positive recognition offered by my fellow human beings.
Some feel good, some feel not so good. Neither can affect my behavior.
Accepting criticism as gracefully as a compliment is easy when neither is attached to the expectations I hold of myself. Whether we deem the opinions of others as praiseworthy or critical bears little consequence on the power within each and every one of us to create our own happiness.