Cardinal Rule Number Two, taken from the 7 Cardinal Rules for Life that I posted last week, reminds us that:
“What other people think of you is none of your business.”
Wait….WHAT? I shouldn’t care if my wife likes me or not? If my kid thinks I’m a total arse, I shouldn’t be concerned? If my boss thinks I’m a lazy jackwagon, I shouldn’t be worried?
“Those are all good questions,” as my Friend Kevin says. During a recent
knock down drag out arguement discussion that I had with my wife, I said something like, “I don’t CARE if they think I’m aloof and a jerk. What other people think of me is none of my business!” (no, really, I said that. I know. I’m awesome like that….) She said, “you don’t care what i think about you?”
Naturally, this kinda let the wind out of my sails. I said something along the lines of “of course I do, you’re my wife. But other people out there? Not nearly as much.” And that’s the truth. I don’t do the things that I do so that other people will like me. I do what I do so that I like me. If other people like me as well, well, that’s a bonus. If they don’t? Not my problem.
Except with things like my job. Of COURSE I do some things because other people wouldn’t like me if I did them my way. The wearing of pants is a perfect example. I’d rather wear shorts and a t-shirt, but I can’t. So I wear pants to make others happy (and ultimately ME happy, because without a J-O-B…) Cardinal Rule Number Two is more geared, I think, for those who change their core beliefs or actions to suit others. I thnk that if we each spent more time doing the things that WE like (without being selfish, neglectful of others, or causing harm to others. that’s just dumb. yes, i judged.) rather than doing things because we think that it will make other people approve of us.
I’ll use a simple example of our oldest son and the trombone. He started playing it in 5th grade, mostly out of interest, and perhaps some because both his mom and I played instruments in school. He stuck with it for a while , but lost interest. His mom is pretty good about not coercing the boys into stuff that they might not like, but I’m more of the ‘hey, stick with it a bit more. you’ll be glad you did!’ approach. What it REALLY is, though, is that I’LL be glad he did. He’d reached the point in his tromboning that he was only doing it because we (I) wanted him to stick with it, and not because he was interested in it. And he stopped. Cardinal Rule Number Two is tied in very closely with Cardinal Rule Number Four, innit?
Be Well, Do Good Things.