Live with intention
If we know in our heart that what we're doing is both morally and theologically sound, then why do we worry about what others think of it? Why is it that we give their opinions so much power?
It's a very hard mental space to get out of because we've likely been there for decades and by now we all know that habits are really hard to break! This doesn't mean that it's hopeless. On the contrary, if we know that there's a problem and we seek to solve it, we will always be provided with a solution.
What we can do is learn to live with intention. Perhaps we worry that people are watching our every move and judging us because that's what we often do. Maybe the judgments of others that we feel are only perceived judgments. It is also possible that we are actually being judged and have even experienced people spreading awful rumors about us. If that is so, then I am so sorry… I hope you are finding strength and support along the path because that is really painful
Living with intention will help us start thinking more about our purpose and less about the distractions. Remember the quote I shared last week? "Starve your distractions and feed your focus"? That's exactly it! Our focus being our duty of the moment (i.e. participating in mass) and distractions being things that take us away from that (i.e. fear about what other people may be thinking).
The next time we find ourselves wondering what others are thinking about, let's remind ourselves why we are there.
For instance, if we're at the grocery store worried that the people around us are judging us in some way, let's ask ourselves "Why am I here?" and "How are their opinions going to help me right now?" We can also remind ourselves that there is not a single mistake, or silly move, that we can make, that no one else has ever made. We are not the only ones that have had screaming kids in the store or didn't realize that we have spinach between every tooth and an unintended rip in our pants. Give yourself a breather and let go of the need to present yourself as "perfect".
It's also help to get perspective. I am no researcher but I have noticed that there is a correlation between how people view themselves and how they talk about others. I know that when I most lacked self-compassion I most harshly judged others. When we accept the fact that we are human, we will more easily do this for others. In other words, if we are actually being judged, rather than this saying something about us, it gives us insight into the person judging (which let's be real, sometimes we are "judging the judger"). This understanding has helped me develop a tiny bit more compassion (I still got a LONG way to go here!) and take things a little less personally.
- Why am I here? (Intention)
- Will giving power to their judgments help me with my intention? (Discredit)
- I don’t need to be perfect (Compassion for self)
- Maybe they look at themselves poorly (Compassion for others)
Create for yourself a focused day, and if it doesn't go perfectly just remember that you are a human being. Keep going