In the past, when someone obviously didn’t like me, I tried like crazy to change their mind. This often proved nerve-wracking, and usually a total flop.

Fortunately things have changed.  It took years to understand and accept that others won’t always necessarily embrace, value or love me.  High expectations on my part!

People come and go; some want to connect, and others give the cold shoulder.  That’s life.  Noone’s purpose is to heal our wounds, to support us, or pat us on the back.  Yet, that’s just what we want. 

Occasionally someone comes along and gives us the confirmation that we so need. While this may truly be a show of good fortune, we should be careful not to depend on these gifts.

We run a great risk of disappointment as long as we rely on the approval of others to assure us that who we are and what we do is great and useful.  We fixate on tiny details, become obsessed with doing everything right, and when the confirmation of our greatness doesn’t come in the way we imagined, our hearts become heavy and we feel inferior.

As long as we hope to be understood and accepted by others, we give up our beautiful freedom.  We become puppets.  How tragic!

Here are three pointers which have helped me not to be swayed or weakened by external factors:

Stay true to what you do.

No matter what others think- stand by your actions, always.  Or rather, don’t do anything that you can’t get behind.  I try to evaluate: what is my intention, why am I doing this?  Everyone you ask will offer a different opinion, their own.  Listen to these, but continually check-in with yourself.  As long as you stay true to your intention, you’ll radiate something totally different than if you’re shaky in your stance.

Stay true to yourself.

Respect yourself just as you are, with all of your imperfections.  Always stay true to yourself.  When we focus too much on the outside, checking how others respond to us or to our work, we quickly lose our center.  Each one of us has different Dharma, a unique path to tread.

Don’t give your power away.

You know the feeling: you walk into a room, and everyone is friendly except for one person who somehow let’s you know that you’re not wanted here.  Or you’re teaching a yoga class with 20 lovely students, and one total jerk, who mopes around and ruins the mood for everyone.  That sort of thing will always happen.  For me, these situations present an opportunity to remain centered and return my focus to the positive things in life.  This works sometimes, but of course not always. 

The more you try to please everyone, to be loved and accepted by all, the more you’ll lose yourself.  No one has to like you.  Many are simply unable to empathize, for whatever reason.  Don’t take that personally.  What matters is that you value yourself, that you are your own friend and companion.  Have faith in yourself and your own voice.  The rest will eventually fall into place with the others, too.

Madhavi Guemoes

Contributing Writer

At 15, Madhavi Guemoes thought that she understood life completely, only to realize 25 years later that this is basically impossible.

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