A current popular pithy piece of high minded wisdom goes like this: What other people think of me is none of my business. Of course, you say, that's obvious. Really? Well, sort of.
Most of us grew up with something like school yard rules of behavior, ethics, protocols and politics. Before any important undertaking it was wise to check out what the "troops" thought about it. By important undertaking I mean something like - Hey I wonder if Sadie would go to the movies with me. Peer feedback was critical. I can remember getting ready for school and making sure my dungarees were rolled up just the right amount, showing just the right amount of sock and my swoop daddy pompadour - (Yes wiseass, I had one.) - was just right and pasted down with a dollop of WILDROOT CREAM-OIL CHARLIE.
What I'm saying is this: It's next to impossible not to be concerned about what others think of you. We all know how futile it is to worry about what someone else thinks but we do it. We want to be loved, even admired. We want to be an early pick for someone's team. I'm not sure that those feelings don't follow us from the school yard to the social institutions of adulthood.
Over the years various of my friends and family have gifted me with rather uniquely generous gifts for birthdays, Christmases and Father's Days which give me pause to reflect on what they think of me and how fortunate I am to have them in my life. Still I am always mildly surprised to hear that someone had been thinking of me. It feels good.
Thoughtful generosity is not usually a physical gift. More often it's something else. Evidences of connection - remembrances - inclusion - acts of love. It's what makes life on this planet worthwhile.