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Breaking Free

Social media has amplified how easily we shackle ourselves by living for others. How do we break free? It’s simpler than you think!

Sticks and stones may break my bones But words shall never hurt me

A children’s rhyme that probably the older among us are more familiar with. As intended, it was to serve as a child’s defense against name-calling.

Old, but gold. It is helpful to keep in mind. In today’s context, it is even a greater to heed this considering the speed of Internet that words can go and how quickly opinions can be influenced and formed.

Do we allow ourselves to be prisoners of opinions? Are we made of porcelain that cracks so easily with opinions others have of us? Or are we resigned to please others and end up pleasing no one, most of all, ourselves?

My take? Don’t be a prisoner for others!

It is natural in society to want to belong, to conform and to be accepted. To have this acceptance, we are guarded in what we say and do, and even change for others. Going down the path of excessive, worries, anxieties and stress of whether we are doing right will only end up with negative impacts on ourselves. Yes, inadvertently, we have chosen to be a PRISONER… of public opinion.

Admittedly, we can’t run away from the tendency to be concerned of what others think of us. Try as we don’t want to, but we tend to fail. And, more often than not, this hurts us in the process. Agree? I have gone through this to know it.

In an article I found online – 10 Clear Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Care What Other Think – I was drawn to this one line: “At the end of the day, YOU are the only person who needs to approve your own choice.”

Meaningful. Our lives are in our own hands, and choices are our own to make. My choice is pineapple toppings for my pizza. That may not be others’ liking but I don’t need approval for this choice. There’s no right or wrong just my own approval.

It is fine to be alone to face the consequences of the decisions that we made in our lives. Similarly, we too will be alone to face the consequences of decisions made out of conforming 100% of other people’s opinion?

The social media has amplified how opinions matter. I was once one who cares a lot what others think of me. I always want to live up to other people’s expectations. But, when I started to CARE-LESS of what people think of me, I found new freedom from stress and exhaustion of conforming.

Care less but not necessarily not care for others. We can have an open, caring heart for others but we need to care that our hearts doesn’t become increasingly fragile.

We sure are made of hardier stuff. We need to be resilient and live for ourselves if we know how to unshackle ourselves from the false notion that we live for others and their opinions. It will be right, as long as we don’t harm others and harm ourselves in the process.

Yes sticks and stones… I’m letting this rhyme with my life.

References: (10 Clear Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Care What Others Think, 5 Nov 2020)

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