Let Wagging Tongues Wag

Swami Mukundananda encourages us to remain true to ourselves and turn a Nelson's eye to what others think or say about us.

We spend too much thought and energy trying to gain approval of others. While making decisions, 'What will others think' remains a dominant thought in the mind. Instead of running our own race in life, we get bogged down in pleasing others. This must change.


You can never please everyone

No matter what you do, there will always be those who will find fault, discourage and dislike you. That is the nature of worldly people.

Even Mother Sita was not spared of it. Though she had proved her chastity beyond all doubt through a trial by fire, a washerman emerged who cast aspersions on her and said to his wife : "I am not like Ram who brought Sita home after she had stayed in Ravan's Lanka for a year.". When the Mother of universe could not be free from detractors in the era of Lord Ram, then it is unrealistic for us to expect everyone's approval in today's environment of hypocrisy.

As the expression goes, it takes all sorts to make this world. Others just cannot handle your success because it makes them look bad. For their own peace of mind, they love tearing you down.

Therefore, never be surprised if, even after doing good, you still receive caustic censure. If you receive the promotion you deserved, do not expect a standing ovation from everyone around you. Be prepared to hear comments like, "She butters up her boss" or "His rise is all because of office politics", and so on. Infact, the more successful you are, the more criticism will come your way. Do not let the 'gossip police' sabotage your flight to glory.

Remember it is not about you

People have their own conflicts and emotional issues that need resolution. They carry anger, frustration and disappointment in them. They look for places to dump their baggage. If you allow them, they will empty their garbage onto you. Their negativity is not about you; it is just the way they are. If you consider their approval important, very soon, they will start controlling and manipulating you.

What is the key to handle negativity?

Remember this bit of wisdom - nobody can hurt you unless you allow them to. Here is an anecdote highlighting this principle:

  • In an institute of hearing and speaking impaired, two inmates had a serious tiff. An official was assigned to straighten out things between them. On reacing their section, the official found one of the men with his back to other, chuckling with amusement, while the other was gesturing frantically.
  • Smile gently with neck and shoulders relaxed without tension. Keep your gaze/drishti on the nose-tip or Ajna chakra.
  • "What is going on here?" said the official, speaking with his hands. "Why is your partner so annoyed?"
  • The deaf person gestured with glee, "We had a fight. Now he wants to swear at me, but I refuse to look in his direction. That is why he is so mad."

The deaf man was taking advantage of the fact that he could not hear. Hence, the other one could only vent fury if he looked towards him. In our case, we will have to learn how to turn a deaf ear to the noise around us. Deal with it by growing awareness. When you know someone is physically handicapped, it evokes your sympathy. Likewise, with a negative person, have compassion rather than hurt by not taking it personally. One way to do this is to count your blessings and think, God is sitting inside the other person too. He is testing my tolerance in an attempt to push me grow.

What others say does not define you

People who barely know you feel they have the right to pass judgement on your worth. But as the saying goes, you cannot judge a book by its cover. Factually, what others say characterises them, not you.

Do also bear in mind that all the praise you receive will come to naught upon death. You leave it all behind and move on to the afterlife. At that time, the only thing of importance will be the extent to which God was pleased by your life and work. So, focus on being good in the eyes of the Lord who is the constant witness of your karma.

Gain wisdom in all aspects of life by world-renowned Spiritual Leader, Swami Mukundananda, in his latest book - Golden Rules of Living Your Best Life published by Rupa Publications, India.