We’ve all heard people claim “I don’t care what anyone thinks” and for those of you like me, perhaps this seems a far off concept, one we are encouraged to strive for. Getting to the point where we don’t care what others think seems impossible. I have always cared, deeply. So much so, that for much of my life I believed I needed to be malleable, that I needed to change myself to be what everyone else told me I should be. I spent so much time hopping from one foot to the other unsure of who I was, depending on who I was with. I assumed that if I somehow met their expectations then they would have to approve of me. I tripped over myself trying to ensure no one held ill feelings towards me. I pursued those who had gripes, finding anyway I could to defend myself and convince them that I was worthy of their approval. It is one thing to try and be at peace with all men, and another thing entirely to need the approval of all men. Through therapy I came to understand much of this was due to my hidden insecurity and once I began to believe in my own worth I began to take a much different approach.
When I look back at that girl I see many differences. I no longer see someone who is willing to change herself at the whim of others, I no longer see someone who needs to chase down everyone who condemns my faults and has unreasonable expectations of me. In fact these days I quite simply stay away and allow them to think whatever they like. However, I still and always will pursue change. Changes that I see as valuable, and changes that God has impressed upon my heart, I hope to always be malleable in my Lord’s hands.
During these changes, I have come to realise that the statement “I don’t care what anyone thinks”, is somewhat false, hence the reason it seems impossible. We all care….We might not let them know we care, we might not chase them, we might not change for them, but to be misjudged, misunderstood and lose connection still hurts, it still bothers us, we still care.
I started to get some insight into this recently, after I dug deeper into the question “why do we all care?”. A little epiphany came after praying on this, that the reason we all care is because we are all made in the image of God, and Our Heavenly Father IS LOVE. Perfect, pure, righteous LOVE. Love that intense has an unwavering need for connection with others. It is why He created all beings. Another thing I have come to understand as I have grown in my relationship with God is that because He is LOVE that makes Him a giant throbbing HEART. When we say our heart has broken we understand it as painful, for Him it is multiplied 100 fold. The pain of being disconnected from us was the catalyst for His reasoning to send His Son to reunite us to Him. I bet He suffered excruciating pain when that first bite of forbidden fruit was taken, when the enemy first severed the connection between Him and us, His children. I bet the pain He felt when Lucifer turned was beyond words unbearable.
The spirit of our Heavenly Father is inside every single one of us, it is the thing that levels every human being as equals, whether we recognize it, admit it, believe it or NOT. His spirit within us is the drive in our deepest part that craves connection. Whenever our connection with another is severed it hurts us because it hurts the spirit of our Heavenly Father. Still we can find solace in knowing we are approved of, we are worthy, we are loved, unwaveringly by our Creator, and an open connection with Him is always available.
I am perplexed by all the meme’s and statements encouraging us to not care what anyone thinks. On one hand I see the empowering mindset to detach from the restraints of approval seeking, and yet when we desensitize ourselves so much to the thoughts and feelings of others we may risk the very essence of us that makes us human, a deep caring, and loving spirit of God.
When we begin to understand how God feels, it gives deeper insights to who He is and what He stands for. We humans have blamed Him for all the things not understood, and have portrayed Him as a heartless powerful giant who treats us as ants and cares not, when the opposite is closer to the truth. Everything He does and has done is to secure the connection between us and Him and each other. However… He doesn’t change himself to please our every whim, He doesn’t allow disconnection to alter His affection for us, He doesn’t allow His emotional state to influence His righteous stance. I think there is something in that we can all be empowered by.
So next time you hear the phrase “I don’t care what anyone thinks” remember, we all do in some way, especially God.