Live well despite what other people say (or thanks to it)

Cosmic Traveler


You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing. – Richard P. Feynman

I like circularity so I decided to start today’s article with a quote of the brilliant Richard Feynman, whose technique was discussed here in Strategy last week.

Receiving criticism and confronting difficult people is a sign you are a human being. If you think, talk and act in accordance with your own self, you’re bound to be confronted by someone that is, inevitably, different. It’s not just about you, but also about them.

There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. – Aristotele

Here are a few reflections to incite a higher wellbeing conscious of others but less attacked to other’s people points of view.

Being hateful and over-critic, especially without a constructive aim, is a lot of work. No-one in their happy and fulfilled mind will do it, not over a second. It comes without saying that, if someone is, in fact, acting like it, then they might be struggling with something else in their life.

Own your own values. If deep down, after a good shower-talk, you feel you can agree with something that has been said about you, own it. It is the best way to turn something negative in an immediate positive. In all the other cases when you just don’t feel the same, own your views and values close to heart, those will give you the strength to continue walking with your head-high under the -excuse the colorful language- shittiest of storms.

Similarly, spend some time each day to weight the things of yourself you’re most proud of. It is always good to do some self-reflection and be aware of your limits and wrongdoings but this becomes a toxic practice if never counterbalanced with a true appreciation of anything you felt happy to accomplish.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt

This applies also to people around you. Venom-spitters and disruptive criticizers aren’t really helpful for your growth. People that you should value more will always give you a chance to reply and will listen carefully. They will tell you when you’re wrong, but also when you’re right. They will not see things in black and white as it is too close-minded and we are all so full of different shades in our personal realities. What works for me, I keep my grandma’s voice and her ironic attitude vividly close inside of me and it gives me comfort and strength to be true to myself everytime I feel the world around me is not as friendly as I thought.

Others cannot give you happiness, you need to find your own. It doesn’t matter what you achieve or become in life if you don’t recognise yourself for it. When you constantly need other people to approve your doing and being, then you will never create a self-sufficient happiness. Try to find your balanced approach between caring (without bringing not too much in your personality) and not caring (so much that will affect your commitment).

Care about people’s approval, and you will always be their prisoner. – Lao Tzu