For me the light bulb moment came some years ago whilst reading Richard Bach?s ?Illusion.? One of his characters says something to the effect of ?If your happiness depends on what someone else chooses to think about you, then I guess you do have problems?
At that moment it struck me quite hard how easily I had handed over responsibility for my happiness to other people.
I decided to wean myself off other peoples? opinions like an addict. So I chose a small group of friends whose opinions I respected and decided that their opinions could count but the rest of the worlds? didn?t.
This in itself helped me to feel much more centred and independent.
Many years later I realised that we can never really know what someone else is thinking about us anyway. So the problem usually comes down to the storyteller in our heads telling us what it thinks someone is thinking. (I hope this is making sense!)
Finally, it occurred to me that I had been using other peoples opinion to guide me instead of developing my own inner compass. Increasingly I?m becoming the one and only reference point for what is right for me ? and enjoying life more as a consequence.
P.S. For more about taming you inner storyteller I can recommend Michael?s book ?Feel Happy Now!?. Full of his usual sharp insights and practical advice.