Everyone has one, they often stink, and the polite thing would be to keep yours to yourself. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t force yours onto someone else.
When it comes to your life, the single most important opinion is your own, particularly when it comes to your self-worth!
Just as allowing others to make your decisions takes away your free choice, so too does allowing the opinions of others to define your self-worth.
Your life is yours to live, for good or ill, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with considering the opinions of others in relation to your life, permitting those opinions to define you is immensely unhealthy.
Though the people giving them may be well meaning, they’re still coming from people who have had, and who will continue to have, a different path through life than your own.
If someone hasn’t walked in your shoes, experienced all that you’ve experienced, felt all that you’ve felt, and thought all that you’ve thought, then how can they possibly be qualified to offer an opinion regarding your worth? They can’t.
In my experience there are really only three things that drive most of the opinions of others: love, greed, and self-preservation. Personally, I think greed and self-preservation make up the bulk of opinions.
The problem is this: regardless of what drives the opinion-giver, their opinion is still going to be biased. All opinions, by definition, are subjective. They’re rooted in the experiences, emotions, education, and perhaps even indoctrination of those offering them.
Let’s take a common and horrific example of the harmful nature of opinions: bullying.
I’d wager that at some point in life, everyone has been the target of bullying in some form. Whether it was as a child in school, or as an adult at work, it’s an exceptionally common occurrence.
And while some bullying escalates to the physical realm, far more often it’s verbal and emotional, composed of barbed, hurtful opinions.
The great irony though is this: bullies lack a sense of self-worth and/or feel powerless, and are as miserable as they try to make others.
Misery loves company, and bullies do what they do to feel empowered, in control. That feeling of power and control serves as a stand-in for self-worth, but it’s fleeting, and thus the cycle continues.
Of course, not all opinions are negative (at least, not at first glance). Fame, adoration, adulation. Alas, the seemingly positive flipside to the opinion coin is just as bad for you.
You see, no matter which way you slice it, you can’t let the opinions of others be the foundation of your self-worth.
Whether it’s the opinions of bullies, strangers, friends, co-workers, or loved ones, if those opinions define you, positive or negative, you’re trapped.
The real root of the opinion problem though isn’t the people offering the opinions…it’s us.
We’re wired for external validation. We seek it out, and crave it like a drug addict. And just like an addict, if you want to reach your maximum potential, you’re going to need to get off the crack.
“Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn’t have the time to sit around and talk about you. What’s important to me is not others’ opinions of me, but what’s important to me is my opinion of myself.” – C. Joybell C.