How to avoid getting influenced by others?

Acharya Prashant
6 min readMay 28, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Acharya Prashant: The question is from Simone from the Netherlands and it says, “I easily get influenced by others. How do I learn to stand my ground?”

The mind is a crying vacancy. It is an undue emptiness. It is an unclean half-filled emptiness. The mind will always need someone to be with. The mind will always need stuff to hold; material, objects to fill itself up with. So, the problem really is not that somebody influences you; you will have to be influenced by somebody, you see. It is impossible to not allow anybody to enter you, penetrate you, rather engulf you. You need that; that’s an inner demand. It is a psychological imperative. The question is, who is it that you allow to enter you, occupy you, and command you. The option to not allow anybody is not there. Somebody is needed. Now that somebody really cannot be a person, a thought, an idea, or a thing from this world.

I say that because all of us have repeatedly tried that and failed. There is nothing in the entire universe that has not been tried in ways subtle or gross as means for inner fulfillment, and those means have never succeeded. So, that somebody cannot be somebody or something. That’s the reason the abstraction called God or Truth had to be invented by man. We needed somebody who is not anybody; who is a nobody and yet is very meaningful and very existent in some mysterious way. The invention of such an entity, such a mysterious abstract unthinkable entity, an unimaginable entity is a compulsion with us. It’s a compulsion because nothing in this world satisfied us. Therefore, something outside of this world, rather something beyond this world has to be there to occupy us, enter us, rule us, flow in our veins. Are you getting it?

How do you get to that somebody? There is no positive way. The way is always negative. The way is to keep rejecting all those who are really not going to give you contentment. That’s the only way. If others influence you, it is not incidental. You allow them to. You have asked for a method. The method is to not to allow them, to not to entertain the hope that somebody, anybody can give you that which you are really looking for. It is only in that hope that you are fooled and enslaved. You will…