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How to Care Less About What People Think of You, and More About God


Fr. Carlos Padilla - published on 04/18/15

Being faithful to the voice that cries out in our hearts

Why you should look at God when you act, and not so much at other people:

Sometimes we care more about people’s expectations than about being faithful to the voice that cries out in our hearts.

There are projects that we don’t undertake because we are afraid of failure; things that we don’t say because we are afraid of being rejected; actions we avoid because we fear others’ contempt. We are very concerned about other people’s reaction to our decisions: we want everyone to agree with us.

Sometimes we impose our decisions, with the idea that they be approved by everyone because we have decreed that it be so. When it doesn’t turn out that way, we become despondent. We hope — in vain — that everyone will agree with us, applaud us, and praise our decisions, actions and attitudes.

This is why we are often not willing to do anything unless the people we care about approve. We prefer to keep quiet so as not to attract attention or look different.

We don’t want others to judge us for what we do or say. We easily feel judged, and other people’s opinion matters more to us that the truth about our life. We care more about their expectations than about being faithful to the voice that cries out in our hearts.

I want to learn to look through the window of my soul that opens upon the wide sea of God, and not at the people who approve or reject me.

I want to look farther and farther through the window of my soul that brings me to God and shows me, as the window of a shrine might, Mary’s face.

I like to contemplate the immense sea of God. Then, the place where I find myself, my decisions, and the steps I take, all stop being so important. Then, my actions are no longer as relevant.

Gazing at the sea of God and his infinite mercy, life appears small and God becomes immense. All my fears, problems and concerns, compared to him, become small.

When I hold his hand, I can do the greatest things, because I am not expecting others to approve my actions. I am capable of doing more, because I am not as afraid of failure.

Sometimes, seen from the perspective of my vanity, my fears are magnified. Life, when closed in on itself, becomes small and anxieties grow much bigger. When we look to God, our fears almost disappear, and our anxieties fade away.
The exact opposite happens with happiness. We laugh more heartily looking at the sea in our soul. I learn to laugh at life at at myself. My face lights up and, although I don’t know exactly how it happens, I look a bit more like Jesus. The horizon expands and I love more and better, more deeply.

Looking into the depths of my soul, I become more childlike and I dream of the impossible. When I contemplate the sea of God in my soul, my life seems vaster, more infinite; my dreams have no limit or end. I can do anything.

I am no longer afraid of failure. The doors burst open and I emerge from my self-centeredness. Rooted in the deepest truth about myself, from my very being which desires to belong to God, I give myself to others.

I give without seeking anyone’s approval, and accepting God’s mercy, without fear of being judged or condemned, because I only desire God’s peace.

Translated from the Spanish edition of Aleteia by Matthew Green.

CatholicismFaithSpiritual Life

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