We human beings are a social species. Our friend groups are based on common behaviors, beliefs, interests and values. When we are running with our group, we usually feel average – in a good way. We have people we relate to that become our yardsticks for normalcy.
We can see how we measure up and assess our behavior in comparison to others we care about and admire. In doing this, we often base decisions on what we might lose, as well as what we might gain. So what happens when the fear of losing social favor stops you from doing something you feel is right to do? What if the threat of potential revulsion or even your own embarrassment inhibits your instincts or personal drive to act?
Last week, my daughter was stopped by a homeless man on the street. He asked for money or food. She gave him both then sat down next to him to talk. He said that no one ever talked to him. He told her he valued conversation, as it was just as sustaining as food, or money to buy food. She sat with him on the street for an hour. She felt people staring at her then turning away. She saw passersby eyeing her with disgust or curiosity. She felt judged. And she probably was.
Fear of judgment by others is one of the main contributors to lack of action. Next time you want to do something that may seem unconventional, drive change, go against the flow or live outside your social comfort zone, remember that when you un-grip your mind from convention, you can’t control what others think. You can only control what you think. Stay mindful. Be kindful.