Awareness of our lack of control is freeing. Once we accept that we cannot control how others perceive us, we begin to live for ourselves. People and their opinions, what happens to us and how we feel about it… None of these things are in our power to change; we can only choose how we will respond. What happens after that is beyond our control, too. Everything is connected, and actions reverberate, rippling out to touch nearly every corner of life. It’s amazing to see the impact that small change can have when it spreads. We have to let go of our need for control to embrace the possibilities though.
On this, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“How amazing we human beings are! One little change in any aspect of our life affects so many other facets of our being in as yet unimagined or undreamed of ways that we never really quite know where anything will lead. We say no to something at work that for many months we have wanted to say no to and instead of the backlash we expected, we experience some subtle indication of respect. We certainly respect ourselves more.
We break our necks to earn respect and admiration, only to discover that we really have no control over how others perceive us. Our letting go of our illusion of control in even the smallest way reverberates throughout our lives.”
Anxiety arises from confusion between our perception and reality. We allow our fear of what others think to control us. We take our unkind and unfair thoughts for fact when, in truth, they are just our anxiety talking. The awareness that our thoughts do not necessarily equal our reality gives us the space we need to properly analyze them. When we do, we often realize that we’re letting what we think other people think of us control us.
We have to let go of our own need to control others’ opinions of us. Understand we can choose what we do, but not how others will respond. Do we really want to spend our lives trying to please everyone, only to please no one? Feeling as though we are never true to ourselves? We lose sight of ourselves completely even. Experience teaches us that often what we think will happen is far worse than what will actually happen. Worrying about others’ perception of us does not serve us, because we can’t change it. We can’t make people like us. Awareness empowers us to make decisions based not on fear of our perception, but who we truly are.