We all make judgments about other people and know that others are making judgments about us. So when does it matter what other people think?
Studio 5 Relationship Coach Dr. Matt Townsend shares his insight.
It should only matter what people think when and if the people around
you actually matter to you. The opinions of loved ones are important
reflections on who we are and how we should steer our choices to be
the best person we can be. When it comes down to it, we should always
remember that. So remember, it does matter what people think about you,
but probably not for the reason you think. Here are four simple rules
to better manage how to incorporate other people’s thoughts and
opinions about you, into your own sense of who you are.
Rule #1- Everyone has the right to an opinion, and all opinions are
Nobody has all of the facts about you, including even you! Seriously
think about it, if you don’t completely understand why you got so mad
at your husband when he was late from work or why you feel so lonely
during certain times of the day, then why would do we tend to put so
much weight into the opinions of others. Always remember that no
matter how convincingly someone states their opinion, or how long they
have known you, it doesn’t always make their view of you more accurate
Rule #2- Most opinions say more about the judges than the one being judged.
The most common truth I see in working with others is the fact
that all that we think, feel, say and believe about others is simply a
reflection of who we are. The idea that we are objective beings needs to be blown up. We are
all fairly subjective beings … subjected to our moods, history,
assumptions, fears, etc. That means that many times when someone is
giving me their opinions, those opinions could easily be skewed by a
variety of things, including whether I got enough sleep last night. So
be careful in believing what comes from the mouth of such reactive,
unbiased people, even if they “did bring you into this world!”
Rule # 3- Open mindedness and attention to detail create more accurate
feedback than extensive history together.
Have you ever met a new person that seemed to understand you better
than those that have known you your whole life? Have you ever gone
back to a high school reunion, only to find yourself slipping back into
your old awkward beliefs about yourself. As humans, we train
ourselves to look for comfortable patterns in those around us more
than new information about how people are changing. That truth is
even in ourselves. By seeing those common patterns, we tend to feel
safer than noticing every uncomfortable changing detail. That is one
reason why so many husbands might miss the fact that their wife had
her hair trimmed or is wearing a new sweater.
Rule #4- Most opinions are echoes from the past rather than
reflections of the now.
Just like the light of a distant star may literally take years or
“light years” before it can be observed by us on earth today, the same
effect happens with those from our past. Their views of you today are
nothing more than the culmination of what you’ve been for 40 years,
which is not always a reality of who you are today. Perhaps years ago
you never exercised and were lazy, and now today you are more
disciplined and healthy. Some may struggle to see the new you,
instead preferring to see the “old” you rather than the new you. In
order to truly change our lives we must learn to live more out of the
now and your future rather than being held captive to your past. Just
because we have changed our view of ourselves doesn’t mean others can
or will, which is the biggest reason why we should be careful about
believing the opinions of others.
Rule #5- Our Truest Sense of Self Come From Within, not From Another.
No one has a great sense of who you are than in the quiet and peaceful
moments of your life. Instead of looming to be validated by others,
seek to be validated by your own heart or your own essence. “To thine
own self be true!” is a very appropriate line. Learn to look deeply
inside yourself for the promptings and directions for who you really
are. Follow the advice of Thoreau and look inward to find the
“essential facts of your life!”. By looking inward, and I would also
add upward, to your God, you will find a much more stable view of your
self and how truly talented and fabulous you really are.
For more of Matt’s insight, visit www.matttownsend.com and subscribe to his free blog.