I was texting last week with a dearest who was having challenges with someone close to her. Specifically with her extreme need to keep the person close to her happy, coupled with her seeming inability to do so. The other person’s requests were more than my dearest could handle, and no matter what she did, the other person still was unsatisfied and upset.

We’d been (and still are) texting each other reminders to take care of ourselves, and I, hopefully lovingly, re-re-reminded my dearest of that.

And then I gave her the kicker.

What other people think of you is none of your business,” I reminded her. (We’d had that conversation many times as well.)

It’s basic Al-Anon 101. What I first heard in the late 1980s, when I (metaphorically) crawled into my first meeting.

“What other people think of you is none of your business,” they said over and over (and over). “Keep the focus on yourself.”

That stumped and saved me then, and it can stump and save me now. Even as I reminded my dearest of it for her situation.

I was groomed to serve, to have no needs or wants, to never (ever, ever) think of myself before god, my “true parents” (Rev. and Mrs. Moon), and the entire world. I learned very early on to NEVER focus on myself (except to doubt myself and correct my sinful ways) and ALWAYS put others before me. My very existence seemed to depend on knowing exactly what others thought of me, so that I could meet their needs and wants and be a good heavenly soldier.

So that I could keep everything safe and okay.

Which is what my dearest was doing that day – welp, perhaps not the heavenly soldier part, though I know that she also had a constricting religious upbringing, in at least some ways.

I’m by no means saying that others’ needs and wants don’t matter. Nor am I saying that we shouldn’t care about others or like helping them meet their needs and wants. My life’s purpose is to give and receive love, so clearly, I love to help the people I love be happy.

But I can get, and my dearest was getting, too deeply caught in worrying about everyone else, and we need to remember to keep the focus on ourselves. I can worry so much about what others think, that I make up stories and find myself frozen with fear.

None of which helps me. Or other people, for that matter.

I need to, again, keep the focus on myself and truly remember that what other people think of me is none of my business. Just as my dearest did last week.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Benjamin Wedemeyer on unsplash

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