“Oh, but they’re going to say ________________________.”
That I’m not really as smart as I think I am.
That I think I’m better than them, now.
That I’m putting on a show.
Good news: you can stop micro-managing all the thoughts that don’t belong to you, darling.
Their thoughts belong to them, just like their children do. You would not swoop in and try to tell their little Johnny what he should believe about God. Similarly, you do not have to tell them what they should believe about you.
Grant them the courtesy of ownership over their own thoughts. They are theirs, and theirs alone. You are not the gatekeeper, nor the warden.
Absolve them from the job you have assigned them, sweet tyrant.
There is freedom in releasing other people from the burden of having to love every single thing you do.
Though the freedom is not for them—it’s for you.