Most of us long to be loved and accepted. In an attempt to gain acceptance we often concern ourselves with the opinion of others. It’s quite human to care about what people think. The problem is when rather than gaining awareness around this tendency, we shame others or ourselves for it. When we disassociate from our humanity we create the problem of disconnecting from our personhood.
Maybe you've heard the message that the “a fear of man” is a bad quality to possess, when in reality it is a very human trait. It would certainly be helpful to take note when we're focusing outwardly on others opinions, wondering, “What will the neighbors, the relatives, or those folks think?” However, when we demonstrate compassion toward this very human tendency we free ourselves from trying to hide it, so we can get clear about the internal wealth that we actually possess.
Acceptance allows us to be real, vulnerable and own that, “Yes, I care about what you might think of me, because I want to be loved and accepted, but I will give myself the self nurture I need by looking within for my value.” Shaming this behavior prolongs it and maintains the need to appear above it.
If you are like me and occasionally take the temperature of the room to see what others are thinking, give yourself a break. Recognize that you already have the best approval around by the mere fact that you exist. Ease into acceptance, let go and don’t shame yourself for being human.