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The general Norm today as we most often see in motivational phrases, regarding our attitude to life and to things both in public and private is that:  in whatever we say, and in whatever we do, what people think about us doesn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter what other people think. The only opinion that really matters is yours. We are all the writers of our lives….” –Sherrilyn Kenyon

Absolutely! This is truer than true. Why, because time spent caring and working our heads up about what people thought about us is time spent worrying and forgetting to actually live! Imagine being given that very tragic privilege of having a tour round people’s minds just to know what they actually thought about you. Tragic, because most of the time our instincts are always right – everything unpleasant! Now when the mind conceives this and makes every negative thought from people about us, it becomes our truth which is a failed journey towards positivity!

However, the assessment of others cannot be weighed just as in all circumstances, especially when opinions are formed by family and close ones. Sometimes, making a decision that goes against the opinions of friends, family or loved ones would mean disregarding their stand in our life and would cost us the close bond we share with them. Hence, we learn to listen and pay more attention to those who we believe got our back, because they are the ones who remain through thick and thin and will be there to weigh in with us on our advancement, discover approaches to propel us into becoming better, and also serve as that motivational force, hauling us towards our desired life objectives. Yet, in the end, when we try to put into consideration the opinions of others, we still fall back to the realization and conclusion that we are the only ones with the opinions that truly does matter! This is because since we cannot reach perfection, we feel safer with our thoughts and actions because although people may judge us, we couldn’t judge ourselves, and this helps in boosting our self-confidence.

“You only get one shot at life. Don’t let what other people say or think get you down. It’s irrelevant and they are irrelevant”

And this is the norm, this is the standard of living, this is true, but wait– Not entirely!

While what others say of you could in most cases, be disregarded, the truth here is- WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU ACTUALLY DOES MATTER AND SHOULD NOT BE DISREGARDED. The acceptance of this truth is the beginning of Change. Accepting this truth is not to give into conformity but to become aware of your short-comings and work towards making amends. It is only cowardly to choose to live in denial of our own negativity pretending that we don’t care what people think about us. We cannot by ourselves know ourselves and that’s why we need a mirror to see ourselves as we truly are. In life, people are the mirror in which we use to view ourselves and it is important to put into consideration how others perceive us, regardless of the fact that we don’t agree with their perception of us. This is because by our social behaviour, we are being observed and a general assessment of us is being drawn in the minds of people from our everyday association. Thus, when a good amount of people have a specific perception of you, they are likely to be correct. At this point, it matters not what you think but what they think of you.

What people think of us is indeed a big part of who we are and since actions, they say, speaks louder than words; it is our actions that judge us and not them. Life is like a market and our character traits which are the pillars of our reputation are like a brand in which we have to protect because it’s a busy world and unfortunately, every book must somehow be judged by its cover. Since we cannot begin to correct people’s notion about us in the long run, it’s best to prevent any such behaviours that would cause a dent to one’s reputation or give people a wrong notion of us. Just as a brand is fiercely protected from any form of infringement, one’s reputation needs to be safeguarded too.

This falls back to making good use of people’s thoughts and if you may, their criticisms too because letting it slide will not only procure an awful reputation for you in the long haul but will also wither any possibilities of change and progress. In most cases, you simply need to consider another person’s opinion of you and if you perceive them to be right, you must decide for yourself that it’s an ideal time to make a change!

As we empower ourselves to live our best lives, escaping balls of opinions thrown towards us becomes a means of survival. Whilst it is important not to measure ourselves by the standards and opinions of others, it is also important to know when to gravitate towards positive opinions so as to be one step ahead towards personal self-growth.

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Weekend Digest: “A person is a person through other persons” - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

 

Written By:  Chinonye J. Chidolue (@NonyeWrites)

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