Nobody Has the Power to Upset You

Pierre Van ZylMinimalism

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By Joshua Fields Millburn ·

Your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, loved ones, and even complete strangers appear to have an unfortunate superpower: they can change your mood—from joyous to sad, from chipper to insecure, from smiling to upset—in an instant.

A single cavil, niggle, or snide comment can send you into a spiral of anxiety, agony, anger, and despair.

Why? Because you’ve outsourced your happiness.
Without realizing it, you cling to the admiration of others.

If they like me, I’ll be happy.
If they don’t, I’ll be unhappy.

This isn’t love—it’s relationship consumerism.

But who told you that you need their veneration? Even the people closest to you—your parents, your spouse, your child—who told you that you’d be a lesser human without their so-called respect?

No one.

That’s merely the story you tell yourself. Sadly, you’re correct. If you need someone’s acceptance, they will forever wield a rubber stamp over your internal state.

When you no longer need their validation, however, you immediately recover the power you relinquished. In turn, you reclaim your freedom.

How is this possible?
By letting go.

How do you let go of the need for approval?
You mustn’t do anything.
You must only cease your clinging.

What others think,
what they believe,
what they expect—
these are bars to a prison cell.

To break free, you must realize that those bars are lining their cage, not yours. You can walk away at any point.

Their opinions don’t matter.
Because nobody’s opinion matters.
The only thing that matters is the truth.
And the truth is that you are already complete.
Indeed, in an empty room, all alone, you are complete.
So the need for praise can only incomplete you.

Once you understand this—not in your head, but in your heart—you will be free. Ironically, in this state, you will earn more respect than ever.

You just won’t need it to be happy.

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