This is the only advice I can give to others. I thought about this after reading someone please kill me, and realizing how much people's self-worth was based on what they thought others thought about them. Fuck that. You are whatever you make yourself. If people don't like that they can go and get fucked. I will agree, for those who base their self-worth on other people's evaluations, this can be a difficult concept. It took me a few years to get it right, and I still get self-conscious sometimes. But you must remind yourself that other people's opinions do not matter. If they like you, that's cool. If they don't, that's cool too. But don't base your self-worth on what they think. Here's a few rules:
  1. Someone will always be better at what you do than you are. I will probably never be as good a programmer as John Carmack. But that's okay. I'm a good programmer, he's a better programmer. C'est la vie.
  2. Someone will always find a problem with you. They don't realize it or they're evil fucks, but they will always find a way to try to make you feel bad for something about you. Fuck them.

hmm. kessinich is right. i did use fuck a few times in that little rant. oh well; sorry if i offended someone (not really).

update, re. tem42: I'm not telling everyone to walk up to their neighbors and tell them to go to hell. I'm saying that if you are basing your self-worth on what others say about you or how they act towards you something's wrong. This isn't to say everyone needs to be self-absorbed, or think that there's no room for self-improvement. But in my experience very few people are limited by self-absorbtion; most are limited by worrying how others will percieve their actions.

See Hermit.

Much as I dislike pointing out the facts of life to complete strangers, I think you should know:

Everything you do in life is going to involve Other People. They are everywhere. They are the ones that give you food, water, sex, and computers. Without them you are nothing.

What they think is very important to you, whether you wish it to be or not. The thinking of other people will determine how much food, money, sex, and computers you can get your hands on. Without them you have nothing.

Now, you may not have to worry about what I think. You may not need to worry about what any one person thinks. You may need to take only a small handful of people you like and respect into account. The rest you can ignore.

When you ignore these people, I would suggest that you do not tell them that you do not give a **** what they think. The tactful thing to do is to ignore them quietly and without fuss, never letting those who are not troubling your mind know of it.

At times, you may have trouble ignoring them. You may need to ask them, please, just leave me alone. If this does not work, than you may explain to them that you are indeed ignoring them. If they persist, you may leave. If it is truly called for, you may even give them a good telling off. If this includes swearing, this is okay. They have, after all, asked for you to be included in their life, and it is their problem if they find they have made a mistake.

But if you are not pressed, please do not do anything obscene to my thinking, or anyone else's, without a very good reason.

I think that it would be quite funny if I deleted flamingweasel's node. Ironic, even. But, I won't.

Usually when I think I'm realizing what other people think of me, it's really just me thinking about what I think other people are thinking about me. So it's really me thinking things about me that I would rather not think. If you get my meaning.

There was an old Zen clique (sp?) I read somewhere in which it was suggested that you consider other people as though they were wooden puppets. I guess that means to not get too hung up on what their motivations are (they probably don't know), but watch their behaviors closely 'cause they are real.

Personally, I think you need at LEAST one person whose opinion of you means almost everything to you. The word that describes people who don't have at least one such person (or animal for that matter) in front of whom they could feel (really feel) ashamed is sociopath. I prefer the older, more prejorative term, psychopath. The new DSMIV version--Anitisocial Personality Disorder does not do justice to just how truly evil some people can be. For a good psychological AND spiritual analysis of the nature of evil, check out Scott Peck's lesser known work, People of the Lie. In it he hypothesizes that the nature of evil is the refusal to see yourself honestly. The best and most entertaining descriptions of psychopaths (outside of Thomas Harris novels) are found in Hervey Cleckley's classic, The Mask of Sanity (I think I got the name right). He was also one of the co-authors of The Three Faces of Eve. In Mask he hypothesizes that psychopaths and part-psychopaths (see William Jefferson Clinton) lack a crucial part of the sense of empathy. They know (learn) what is wrong intellectually, but never truly sense another's pain as if it were their own (if I remember right).

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