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What’s the Story?
A discovery engine for meaningful knowledge, fueled by cross-disciplinary curiosity.
A Brain Pickings project edited by Maria Popova in partnership with Noodle.
Twitter: @explorer

We share a collective insanity that pervades human cultures throughout the world: An irrational and unproductive obsession with what other people think of us.

[…]

Losing touch with your Authentic Voice is dangerous. When you don’t know who you are, the only decision-making mechanism you’re left with is the crude and outdated needs and emotions of your mammoth. When it comes to the most personal questions, instead of digging deep into the foggy center of what you really believe in to find clarity, you’ll look to others for the answers. Who you are becomes some blend of the strongest opinions around you.

Losing touch with your AV also makes you fragile, because when your identity is built on the approval of others, being criticized or rejected by others really hurts.

Taming the Mammoth – beautiful read on why we’re evolutionarily wired to care deeply and crushingly about what others think and what we can do to decondition this reflex, which no longer serves us in today’s complex world.

As I wrote in reflecting on the most important learnings from the first seven years of Brain Pickings:

When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as importantly, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.

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