There is someone in my small community that always says hi. Unfortunately for him, I grimace every time I see him. We met at a concert and I was enjoying talking to him until my friend, who I deeply respect, rolled her eyes at him and acted disgusted by his presence. Noticing how she felt, I told him to leave us alone, and continued dancing. He continued to try and be my friend, and by all accounts, there is nothing wrong with him, and his only vice is trying to be my friend when I was actively trying to avoid him.
One of my greatest fears recently is that people will judge me based on the interpretation of someone in my small community who I did not get off to a great start with. I was so worried that other people would not give me a chance because of warnings from this person. Isn’t it interesting that I was fearing people would do the same thing I did to this poor unsuspecting person? I was worried that I was like this guy, unwanted and avoided.
It recently hit me that I need to not let others think for me, just as I hope others will not let someone who got a bad impression of me think for them. How can I ask people to form their own opinion of me unless I also form my own opinion of others? So I stopped avoiding and judging this guy, and as soon as I did this for him, I sensed a shift in myself. I no longer feared that others were judging me. I was then able to know with certainty that if others wanted to judge me based on the interpretation of someone else, then that was their inability to think for themselves, not my own issue! I know I am a good person and try my best to be a loving presence in the world.
I now relish making my own opinion of others, and find myself at much more ease with the ability to be myself around others. I am so grateful for this shift as it has freed me up to make genuine connections and be proud of myself without worrying what others think so much!