Drowning Out The Noise Of Other's Opinions: Why Your View Of Yourself Matters More Than Anyone Else's
"Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." -Miguel Angel Ruiz
Isn't it annoying when you know you care a little too much about what people think?
You're going through your daily life, just being you, and trying to be the best you that you can be. You're taking everything on board, focusing on your personal goals and aspirations of who you want to be, and making the conscious effort everyday to improve yourself and all aspects of your life.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, along comes someone's negative, irrelevant, unasked for opinion.
Sometimes it's given to you directly to your face, other times it's behind your back and from the mouth of another person (which to me, is a lot worse). Sometimes this person is your friend, or somebody you thought was your friend. Somebody you thought you could trust, or sometimes even somebody you don't know.
At least, when it comes down to it, hearing a negative opinion about yourself from someone you barely know and who barely knows you can be easily brushed off. They don't know the real you, they've simply formed an opinion based on their small knowledge and quick judgement. It's less personal, and less of a face threatening act.
But when it's from somebody who does know you fairly well, and someone you have considered yourself to be friends with, it can be extremely annoying, hurtful, and a form of betrayal.
Even when it's just a slight, degrading remark, it can really get to you. Because, firstly, it's coming from someone you considered to be a friend. Secondly, it forces you to consider the opinion of this person to be the possible truth considering they know you so well, and lastly, it really makes you begin to question who you can and cannot trust.
I had this feeling today. Not to name any names, but I heard a hurtful opinion about myself from someone I thought was my friend, and to make matters worse, it didn't come from their mouth directly - I had to hear it from someone else!
It's one thing to know that this person has this opinion, but it's another to realise that this person may not like me as much as I thought they did. I understand that not everybody will get on with everyone throughout their lives, but, I have realised today, that the real problem in this lies in myself. My number one aim in life right now, and has been for so many years, is to be liked, and as a result, I have become slave to caring too much about what others think of me.
This underlying desire to constantly be liked has not exactly been intentional. I'm not sure exactly where it has stemmed from, but even in my school days, I have always been desperate to fit in, and have placed other people's opinions about myself before my own.
The never-ending search for approval from others is quite honestly draining, tiring, and exhausting. It's almost as if there's never enough, like I always need to have something I've done approved by someone else beforehand before I even begin to believe anything good about it, and it feels like a constant need to fill a small, insecure void within myself.
I know, deep down, that this need for validation from others is probably rooted once again from my low self-esteem - but the whole issue with always caring about what people think has got to stop regardless.
Because, once I eventually experience disapproval again, or when I suffer from rejection or criticism, it's only going to knock me back harder, and make me question myself and my self-worth once again.
Trying to build up my self-worth and confidence is only going to go to waste if, as soon as anyone criticizes me, rejects me, or offers a stupid, unwanted opinion on who I am or what I do, I will instantly believe it. I will ignore and forget every good thing I thought about myself, let it destroy me and allow it to define me and my worth.
If that's not reason enough to stop letting other people's opinions influence so much of your own, then consider this: it is often not a problem with you or the way you are living your life, but a problem with the person themselves. The person who is dishing out the negative remarks on anyone and anything they can is more likely to be the one suffering from their own problems. It sounds cliché to say that a person like this will have hidden insecurities of their own, but it's true. The way this person will act towards you or others is always only a reflection of themselves, of their true character, rather than it is of you.
What does it say about them? Maybe their lives are so pathetic that they have nothing better to do than be so focused on yours and pick out ANYTHING to criticize you about. Maybe it's a sign of jealousy and inferiority.
But, overall, I think the bottom line is this: they are more than likely not happy. Not happy with themselves, their lives, or both. Think about it. Would a happy person be so quick to judge, criticize and make unnecessarily cruel comments to/about someone?
It's a simple fact that happy people do not do this. Happy people are happy for others, are not so absorbed in other people's business, and are more or less focused on improving themselves and their own lives. Thinking about how they could improve, rather than about how other people could.
Maybe the only opinion of ourselves that matters is our own. In fact, I'm definitely certain it is. As long as we are happy, content, and fulfilled with ourselves and our lives, then why should we make room for people in our heads who have nothing but complaints to say and insults to share?
Learning to bounce back from the criticisms and opinions of these people can ultimately help us to stop associating other's beliefs about us with the truth, and once we disregard those unimportant views, we will begin to value our own.
Ours is the only one of value, because it us who knows ourselves best, and has been with us every step of the journey.
Once we stop trying to seize control of how other people will see us, we will stop being victim to the judgement and stop being victim to ourselves - by no longer relying on their validation that we are wonderful human beings. We'll simply trust our own.
Besides - when we learn to like ourselves, it's no longer important whether everyone else likes us or not!
"I don't let anyone's insecurities, emotions, or opinions bother me. I know that if I am happy, that's all that matters to me." -Demi Lovato
My blog: Emilicia Style
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