It’s true. Other people’s opinion of you are really none of your business. I know people in my life who let everything get them upset. These people take every word that others say personally. All that does is keep them in a constant state of being upset, insecure, and angry.
Unless we live in a world where everyone is a yogi, people are always going to form their own opinions of you. It is a natural part of how the mind works. The mind is a tool to keep the body alive. Its purpose is to judge whether it likes something, it dislikes something, or it has a neutral opinion. From there, the mind chooses to avoid that which it does not like, to attach itself to things it does like, or to be indifferent. This is a survival technique.
Because of the way the mind works, everyone is going to have an opinion about everything. It is human nature. So why waste your time feeling upset over how other people judge you when everyone is judging everything all of the time?
In yoga, we deepen our awareness of the mind and the body, and we come to understand that our true selves are much deeper than both. Our spirit is our true self, and our true self is whole and complete. Happiness does not come from outside of ourselves. The opposite is true; happiness is an eternal constant that comes from within. When we seek happiness from an external source, we will always be disappointed. To remain truly happy, we have to love our true nature, our true selves.
When we connect with that deeper sense of existence, we find that other people’s opinions of us are trivial. All that matters is what the true self believes. The connection to the true self over what is external brings a great sense of peace, balance and bliss.
Swami Satchidananda is a great influence in my life. Here is an excerpt from the book To Know Your Self: The Essential Teachings of Swami Satchidananda:
“You are Happiness personified. You are that Supreme Bliss. You are that joy. You are the image of happiness. [If] you don’t seem to be happy, [it is] because you have forgotten it. That’s the reason you are running after happiness [from external sources] . . . The mere ignorance or forgetting of this makes you unhappy. The basic sin or mistake is to forget your true nature. It’s a form of Self-Suicide. By forgetting your Self, you kill your Self. So you become unhappy. Naturally, when you are unhappy, things become worse . . . You allow associations with things or words to fall in and disturb your mind. If somebody uses a word that isn’t pleasing you say ‘He’s scolding me,” and [you] become upset. You allow his word to come and disturb your mind. Then you say, ‘He is making me unhappy.” But really you disturb your own mind.”
Your happiness is your own responsibility. Connecting with your true nature will help you find happiness. To connect with the true nature, one place to start is to realize that you are bigger than your body, and you are bigger than your mind. Use your breath to calm both, and let your soul shine.