Who Cares What Anyone Thinks?

And why I think we do care
Added: Friday, 25 June 2010

watch original V-Blog in Persian

“Who cares what anyone says” is what I recently told a friend of mine who was suffering from a classic case of peer pressure. In the academic circles she’s in, raising kids is seen as a task for day-cares or willing fathers. Despite wanting to stay home with her child and halve the time she spends on her PHD thesis, she felt judged by women who had chosen their career over their kids. One particular friend had put one toddler in 12 hour day-care and the other (the younger kid) with the father for a year, while she left town and focused on her work. My friend was torn between her desire to succeed and follow her ambition and her desire to be a good mom and be with her kid.

But this blog post is not about women, child-care or the issues involved with the dilemma that women have with their careers. This blog post is about why we care about what other people think. Sometimes what they think seems fundamentally contrary to our truths and sometimes what they think seems fundamentally right, making us feel guilty deep down. And very often, we’re caught in the middle with a little bit of both, not knowing what to do and caring about how the world perceives us.

While it is probably wise to go with your inner truths and act according to the principles you have chosen to live your life by, it’s worthy to reflect for a moment on the value of caring, nonetheless, about what other people think. I personally think that the bright side of caring is that it reflects an inherent desire to be in harmony with other people.

In other words, I believe that there is an inherent longing for people to come together. When you look at how we’ve developed over history, you’ll see that we’ve moved from tribal units to city-states, to nation-states and that now we are developing a global consciousness. We create communities that function around a specific set of values, so that we can flourish in harmony. Disarray is usually counter-productive. So we seek to gather around our commonalities, celebrating our constitutions and our national, corporate or religious values! This longing is what has taken us so far as a human family. It’s driven us towards being one reality.

Even the bloody, brutal and dark ways in which we’ve tried to achieve oneness (namely through colonialism and forced conversions) are nothing more than the inverted (or sick) version of this desire to share common values. While this inverted energy has, perhaps, contributed to more sameness that oneness, the positive version of it has made our diversity more apparent. And it is in diversity that you have real harmony. Anyone playing music will tell you.

While I believe that it’s great to stand up for what we believe, I also think that it is valuable to recognize the drive towards sharing a common framework of thought. We can strive, by trying, communicating, learning, cooperating, and retrying to move towards a more complete truth. One that is shaped by all our diverse voices, perspectives and experiences.

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