Question: How can we rid ourselves of our self-consciousness and our worry about what other people think of us?
Sri Chinmoy: Why should you have to think of others or wonder what they are thinking of you? If they feel that you are the worst person on earth, will it harm you? And if they think that you are the best person, will it bring your realisation an inch closer? Let the whole world think ill of you; your God-realisation will not be delayed. Your realisation depends entirely upon your own aspiration.
Remember that all the time you waste in thinking of what others are doing or what they are thinking of you could be used for your own self-discovery. Also, at the time when you are thinking of others, please feel that I am not your Guru. If you are thinking of others out of doubt or fear or jealousy or insecurity, or for any negative reason, imagine at that time that you have changed your Guru; somebody else has become your Guru.
We feel that if somebody appreciates us, we will be inspired, we will be able to go faster. But very often when we receive appreciation, our pride enters, and the ego comes forward. While others are extolling us to the skies, unconsciously they are feeding us to two formidable enemies: our pride and our ego. It may take us years to conquer this ego and pride.
When others admire us we have to be extremely careful. We have to detach ourselves. If we have done something good, we should immediately feel that we are not the doer, but that the Supreme in us has done it. The Supreme always deserves appreciation. If we have done something extraordinary, immediately we must feel, "I am just an instrument. The Supreme in me did it and I have given Him full credit and full responsibility." When others speak ill of us, we must not lose all our inspiration and aspiration and allow depression to enter. At that time also, we have to feel that we are just instruments. We must always try to separate our actions from their results. We must accept the experience, but not claim it as our very own. If we are one with the fruits of the action, then immediately ego or frustration will come forward.
At the end of our life, when we stand before God, He will ask us some questions. At that time, we will have to answer for ourselves. Those other people are not going to answer on our behalf.
The best thing is to think of God always and to feel that He is thinking of you. Feel that you are standing in front of a mirror. Look at yourself and See what is in you. Look at yourself in a mirror and immediately you will see the difference between the life you have left behind and the life you are living now, between how you spent the morning and how you are going to spend the evening. This feeling about yourself will come directly from God. At that time, let the Supreme judge you; let Him think of you.
If you always think of God, God will think of you and appreciate you. In the outer life, when two persons love each other, they are always thinking of each other and of what the other person is thinking of them. In the spiritual life also, cherish only these two thoughts: what God is thinking of you and what you are thinking of Him. Then there will be no time left for you to think of others or to worry about what others are thinking of you.