Originally posted in 2016, this is a message that I felt bears repeating.
In his book titled Samadhi, the Highest State of Wisdom, Swami Rama tells a story:
"To examine the power of suggestion, my master once did an experiment with me.'
"My master told one of the swamis, 'Tell him he is a bad boy, and let me see how he reacts.'
"An old swami would come and say to me, 'You are a bad boy,' and I would feel bad even though I had not done anything bad! I was mischievous all right but I had not done anything. I said, 'Swamiji, I did not do anything. I respect you. I respect everybody. I work hard for you people. Why are you telling me I am bad?'
"Another swami said, 'Don't listen to him; you are a good boy.'
"I went to my master and said, 'For no reason one swami is telling me I am a bad boy, and another swami is telling me I am a good boy.'
"He said, 'You are a fool! I told them to give you those two suggestions. First, you accepted that you are bad, and when another person said that you are good, you also accepted that. You are neither good nor bad. You are stupid. You are a fool!'
"I said, 'What shall I do?'
"He said, 'Don't accept any suggestions from others. Learn to judge yourself whether you are good or bad. By your bad actions, which are not to be done, you are bad. By your good actions, you are good already.'"
This is a crucial lesson for us all. How affected are you by the suggestions of others?