You know what I am talking about. Those awesome sounding profound statements written with cool typeface on an emotionally stirring background. Or words themselves turned into art (like my illustration here). Or even just a stark quote without explanation. Just because someone 'liked' and/or 'shared' them or used them as a status on their page, suddenly a phrase or quote becomes a profound and deep statement imbued with meaning that has us nodding our heads and extolling its genius.

Well I am here to tell you that you need to really read these things and understand them before you pass them along as life-altering insights. Sometimes they are just nonsense and sometimes - IMHO - they are a simple method of brainwashing an unsuspecting public into believing something that is not only untrue, but detrimental to believe.

For example, there is one phrase that has popped up no less than a dozen times on my own page - probably more on others - from as many difference sources as of late. It includes other stuff, but it is usually the lead phrase or main point and it goes something like this:  "What others think (or believe or say) about me is none of my business." It is never been attributed specifically to any one person so I don't know its origin.

Now I am sure that whoever came up with that had some brilliant epiphany concerning gossip/judgement/bullying and how it shouldn't affect the person being talked about - BUT in reality this phrase doesn't speak to that specifically. It actually says we should NEVER be concerned about what others think of us.  This is a rather sweeping and wholly inaccurate suggestion.

Is it truly "none of your business" what your employer thinks of you?  What your spouse thinks of you? What about the people from whom you might want to solicit a favor? Who you might want to befriend? What about your mother and father? Your Banker?  I think you get where I am going with this. Of course you should be concerned about what they think of you.

Equally obvious (and probably closer to the point the statement was trying to make) is the idea that you should never be so concerned about it that you are not true to yourself or you change what is fundamentally true about yourself or even that you spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about it. 

Understanding that it IS your business what other people think about you is fundamentally understanding that one does not exist as a solitary universe within an unconnected and ultimately immaterial society. Just as one must continuously make certain value judgements (am I safe among this group? Is this neighborhood a good one for my family? Should I take this job? Can I trust this person? etc.) others will be doing the same. This is not the same thing as becoming obsessed with what others think or being judgmental or jumping to conclusions and I do tend to buy into the idea that we shouldn't base our self- esteem, dreams or personal choices on what others would choose for us - those are not the same thing either.

I realize that there is no simple, easy way to say that and so, whoever, settled on that pithy, yet highly inaccurate, phraseology probably thought they had come up with something terrifically profound, that actually did say that.  Unfortunately they didn't.

Still, what people say and what others choose to believe is, indeed, a personal choice. I believe it should stay that way. All I am suggesting is that you actually THINK before you adopt some half-baked profundity and pass it on. Unless of course it came from me . . .  cause, you know, I am brilliantly profound or profoundly brilliant or something like that . . . .


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