Why is it so important what other people think of us? If we are truly convinced of something, shouldn’t it be irrelevant how others feel about it, especially with mere acquaintances, random people on the street, strangers on the internet? Yet, too often we rely on other people to validate our opinions, our beliefs, our identity. Too often we let go of a passion simply because others don’t approve. And too often we only realize it when it is already too late.
Sure, I enjoy making my job sound as impressive as possible or post pseudo-artsy images on Instagram hoping for a handful of likes. But those moments are usually short-lived and what do I have left afterwards? I still know what my daily life looks like, how I feel about it, and how it deviates from where I would like to be.
I think we need to try listening more often to our own thoughts and emotions rather than looking for others to tell us how we’re supposed to feel, behave, live. Because otherwise we get stuck chasing a goal someone else laid out for us, while losing focus of our own goals.
I’ve been dreaming about traveling full-time—of not doing the typical office job, of not being tied to any one location—for years. Years. Yet, I doubted myself because I thought I had to live up to someone else’s expectations—most of all my own warped image of how things should be. So I tried. And tried. And wasted years before finally admitting to myself that this was not my path in life. And it is naïve to expect to find lasting happiness on someone else’s path. Walking alongside others might be more comfortable, easier, less scary. But being comfortable is not the same as being happy.
You know what makes a dream an important one? The absolute certainty deep down that this is what you should be doing. All worries, criticism, and doubts aside, if you know that it is 100% you, then there is no need for approval from others. You validate yourself. People might be surprised but they will adapt. Especially when they realize that you are doing something that you are unconditionally passionate about it, while they are still busy chasing validation from others.
And keep in mind, the people who love us won’t hold us back from being who we are. They won’t hesitate to support us to successfully and confidently walk our own path in life.
PS: Or, in other words, let’s all give less fucks about what others think of us and do what makes us happy.