By far, the most damaging thought that has plagued me in this life time is:
WHAT WILL THEY THINK?!
...said with quietly-deafening emphasis.
It's spurred me to hide behind disordered eating and exercising- which sometimes looked like coffee and cheesecake fuelled all-night workouts, or obsessive compulsively downing litres of green smoothie, or tracking exercise during pregnancy like it was a job more worthy of my time and energy than simple meditation or prayer.
It has inspired black-out drinking, and precarious situations where the word "No" was what I felt, but it felt too heavy to say.
"What will they think?!" has birthed resentment that festered, and mom guilt that paralyzed. It has been the companion of shame, migraines, and suicide plans. At times, it's even bitten back my truth until the truth came hurling out in unkind, impatient, and spiteful ways.
"What will they think?!" becomes the barrier to connection. It's the armour we suit up in to take on any perceived threats, and it never comes off.
It's the death to creativity, risk, exhilarating impulsive intuition, and connecting to the heart space.
"What will they think?!" is the giant dam, backing up the flow of our life-force.
It is the illusion of separation.
There is no THEY. There is only the god of our own understanding, being expressed in as many ways as there are lifeforms on this planet.
Taking action, and letting go of fear of what people think, by the way, is a daily moment by moment choice. It's choosing vulnerability and following that still, small voice in the face of the rumbling, near-paralyzing fear.
Taking action is not asking for permission, not having to explain, and knowing worth is not determined by the popularity of the choice. The fear is
(usually) (almost always) (almost definitely) a sign that we're moving in the right direction.
I wrestle with this inner inquiry daily. It arises for me, daily. It took me a half an hour to write these words on the screen before you, not because I'm a slow typist or because I don't have a love for wrangling words, but because I worry always what others will think, particularly when I share my past transgressions.
But this I know: Fear, dear heart, is but an energy. And energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be converted. I choose to convert my fear to love.
"What others think of me is none of my business" - Dr. Wayne Dyer