Most of us take great measures and go to vast lengths in order to impress someone. We end up wearing uncomfortable clothes that we don’t even like, we pick up accents, we change our hair color, we start eating differently, we drive cool cars and we buy shiny gadgets and accoutrements. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these things but if we’re doing these things in order to get a nod, a thumbs up, or a Wow from someone, then we’re living a misaligned and unsatisfied life. Doing things because we like them is an absolutely different story but if we’re doing them because we want to get approval and attention from others, then we’re distancing ourselves from our true expression.
When we’re young, we are more driven to impress others but as we grow older, we realize that the pursuit of impressing others is futile. An essential piece of wisdom that we can learn, adopt and practice in our life — the sooner the better — is that other people don’t even care about us and what we do. They’re simply caught up in their own storylines, in their own issues, and in their own bubbles if you will.
Another important insight, as pointed out by Marcus Aurelius in Meditations, is the irony that people whose opinions and judgments that we run after are mediocre at best. In reality, they’re flawed, and many times are driven by distractions and current trends that have no weight and substance in them. Isn’t it ridiculous that we trust them more than our own instincts? As Tyler Durden points out in Fight Club, “We buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.”
It’s best to let go of our need for external validation and focus within. As we take care of ourselves first and continue walking on the path of personal growth and philosophy, we’ll attain a deeper sense of stability and security — something that opinions of other people will never be able to provide.