I have never been a great admirer of the American politician Nancy Pelosi. She is currently serving as the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. But she said something in July of 2009 that started a certain thought process in me. It was pointed out to her that she was experiencing a season of unpopularity among the general public. Her response was “I don’t care.” She elaborated on this, saying “I certainly want to be trusted. I’m not particularly concerned if I’m liked.”
Should I care what you think of me?
I recall some people taking offense at these remarks. I might have been one of them. But I also had a thought that loitered around, even though I had no desire to entertain it. The thought was “If Nancy Pelosi doesn’t care if she’s unpopular, that makes her more powerful than most people.”
Most people are afraid to tell you who they are, as they fear that you won’t like who they are. It seems to be a positive trait to have a certain indifference to what other people think. Rumi tells us to not let the opinions of others make us into spiritual window shoppers. The motivational speakers of our day tell us “What you think of me is none of my business.”
I mention this because I recalled this thought process during the time I did Step 83 of Steps to Knowledge, “I value Knowledge beyond all things.” I thought that if I really did value Knowledge beyond all things, I would be more powerful than most people. I thought that if I really did value Knowledge beyond all things, some people might be a little scared of me, even if they wouldn’t admit it.
Step 81, “I will not deceive myself today,” examined the social rewards of self-condemnation. Putting together Step 83 with Step 81 results in “I value Knowledge beyond all social rewards.” I value Knowledge beyond being one of the cool kids. I value Knowledge beyond being the leader of the pack. I value Knowledge beyond getting a larger share of pleasant attention from my group.
Should I care what you think of me? Don’t get me wrong, I do. It’s just not at the top of my priority list.
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