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How much power are you giving away to other people’s perceptions…?


How much power are you giving away to other people’s perceptions…?

A friend of mine showed up to a party over the weekend with a bouquet of flowers for our hostess. Upon seeing the myriad of bouquets already adorning the foyer, my friend immediately felt self-conscious. She worried that her bouquet wasn’t big enough to make a good impression, her flowers weren’t expensive enough to show the appropriate amount of appreciation for receiving an invite to such an exclusive party, and that she would, ultimately, be disliked for her paltry attempt at a first impression. As she started to venture down the rabbit hole of other people’s perception, opinion, and judgement, it struck me just how much we have all tried to say, do, and even be throughout our lifetime in anticipation of what others may have thought.

We cannot possibly know all the intricacies from whence others have come—their background, childhood triggers, likes and dislikes—we cannot possibly know the day that they may have had, the past tribulations of their intimate relationships, the building blocks of their personal point of view, or where they may stand emotionally in each moment—we cannot possibly assume the spectrum of factors comprising someone else’s opinion of us. As difficult as it sounds, my friend had just reminded me of the uncomfortable truth that what other people think of us is actually none of our business. 

We as, humans, so badly want to be loved. We want to be seen. We want to be heard, understood, respected. We want to feel these things from others, but what we tend to forget is that unless they are reflections of how we feel about ourselves primarily, we put our power in the fickle hands of those around us. We abdicate our power to the opinions of others when we don’t first value our own feelings for ourselves. 

Truly receiving feelings of love, acceptance, and respect requires that we first feel them for ourselves, so that we also exude them, let them shine from our very soul, so that they, in turn, may shine on those around us. For, our capacity to love others is directly proportional to our capacity to love ourselves. Period. 

I watched my friend set her flowers down amidst a bushel of others, and I realized that she and the hostess may never be the best of friends—we don’t always like everything other people say and do, we don’t always vibe perfectly with certain people, or like spending lots of time with them, but part of loving and respecting ourselves is reflected in our ability to let others be where they are—to let them have their own thoughts, beliefs, opinions. Our ability to love is also our ability to let others be who they are, as they are, without the need to ‘fix’ them, change them, or worry incessantly about their opinion of us. 

If we offer the fertile soil of love and we hold space in the emotional garden plot of our presence, then each individual bloom—each person in our life—has the freedom, the safe space to flourish as only well-nourished flowers and foliage can. It is our job to lay the bed of what we desire; our job to tend the soil of belief in what seeds we wish to plant for our own life; our job to weed out those that harm is, or threaten our sustainable growth; our job to clean the air of doubt, to oxygenate our atmosphere with only thoughts that encourage germination, not that suffocate or extinguish our own healthy lifestyle. It is our job to feed our dreams—to let the rain of other’s opinions of us come, the sun of unconditional self-love shine—knowing that whatever weather patterns move through our plot, they too shall pass, change, expand us and ultimately be incredibly nourishing for our lives. 

Focusing, firstly, on the love that we have for our own garden—the eagerness, pride, excitement that we have for the potential of our own plot—allows us to appreciate those that surround us. Like the reminder that my friend so beautifully exemplified, loving what we have to offer—no matter how ‘big’ our bouquet—allows us to see our gifts through the magnifying glass of loving intention...without so much worry as to what others might think. 

Don’t hesitate to believe in what gifts you have to offer...they are unique, multifaceted, brilliant in their various states of bloom, and stunningly beautiful.