Lao Tzu: Why You Shouldn’t Care What Others Think

Chances are you've caught yourself acting or thinking to please others. The Chinese philosopher Lao tzu warned against this very thing, because it makes us dependent on these people.

He wrote the following words on the subject:

“Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner.”

Lao Tzu

This quote reminds us that our entire actions and feelings become dependent on other people if we are concerned about their opinion of us. The ability to be happy becomes so externally determined. There are reasons why we humans nevertheless tend to it but also possibilities to withdraw from it.

The main reason why humans seek recognition from their fellows is that we are a social species based on acting communally. Affection within the group has ensured the survival of early man.

Unfortunately, there is the problem that this urge can also be exaggerated and then our entire being is geared towards pleasing others.

This is dangerous - and not at all necessary, since in the modern world we usually have circumstances that ensure our health care even without greater social commitment.

I believe that human contact can be something very beautiful and enriching, and therefore I advise against following a path of total isolation. Nevertheless, I think that we should be more often "alone with ourselves" to understand that happiness can (and should) come primarily from within ourselves, which is why we are not forced to contort ourselves for others and, in the worst case, even to act against our beliefs just to be accepted or liked.

I am of the opinion that you should never do that to yourself. In and of itself, I am a very harmony-needy person, but I have stopped giving a damn about what other people think of me. And the inner peace and saved energy that results from this is enormous. If you want to take the path to a more fulfilling life, I guarantee that this is a crucial step that you will not regret.

Lao Tzu, by the way, is by no means alone with statements of this kind. There are several great thinkers who have said similar things. One of them is Sadhguru, who described that letting others decide how we think and feel is the ultimate form of slavery. You can find Luke's article on this topic via this link.

Who actually was Lao Tzu?

Lao Tzu (or Lao Tzu or Laozi) was, according to legend, an administrative official who lived in the 6th century BC in Chǔ (in modern China) and in the course of his life, the lifestyle of the authorities tired.

It is said that as a consequence he decided to leave the country and rode away on a water buffalo. However, when leaving the country, he was asked by a scholar named Yin Xi to record his knowledge in writing. He complied with this request and wrote down the 5000 characters, which were then called the Daodejing before Lao Tzu moved on to the West and then disappeared from lore.

He is therefore considered the founder of Daoism.

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