“Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business”, I once told my daughter.
It was born out of a conversation we were having about peer pressure and the trials and tribulations of navigating teenage relationships.
I could identify.
As an unconfident teenager I was constantly seeking approval from my peers, desperately trying to fit in.
I changed my look to theirs, went places they went to, I compromised, I agreed to things I didn’t want to and allowed myself to be used by people who pretended to be my friend when it suited them.
If only I could go back and tell my younger self to walk away.
That it would be better to be alone than in such damaging relationships; that none of these people ‘had my back’ and that I was wasting my time – they were never going to like me the way I wanted them too.
It all changed for me when I started dating a boy from another school and gained a whole new set of friends They were real friends who weren’t concerned with how I looked, what music I listened to and actually championed each other’s individuality and definitely had each other’s backs.
Then, do you know what happened?
I became desirable.
That’s right! My ‘so called’ friends wanted to hang out with me and my new friends. They wanted invites to the things I was doing and places I was going.
So, what had caused this enormous shift? I hear you ask…
It was simple.
I stopped caring what they thought of me.
I realised that their opinion of me was holding me back. So I told myself that I didn’t need them to like me.
I shifted the focus onto myself and became more concerned with my thoughts and my behaviour and less about theirs. I had become more confident in myself and stopped looking for validation elsewhere; which in turn made them want to know more about me as I was no longer an open book who was easy to read.
It was the start of a beautiful relationship with myself.
I had discovered the power that is unleashed when you realise that your opinion is the only one you should listen to.
Deep down you know.
You know how to be authentic.
You know how you wish to be seen.
You know your desires, wishes and dreams.
You know how you want to feel when you wake up each morning.
You know the kind of life you want to live.
People can be quick to give an opinion, criticise or gossip. Almost everyone has an opinion on everyone.
But you cannot let those opinions stop you from being who you’re meant to be, doing what you love or following your dreams.
When I’m upset by something someone has said or done – I go back to the mantra “It says more about them than it does me”. You don’t have to speak every thought that pops into your head – unless it’s a kind one, compliment or praise. I try to see why they may have said what they did, whether their intention was to harm or not.
I try to not take things personally any more. I know where my life needs improving; I don’t need you to point it out thank you very much. And if I do need a little prompt – do it with love.
I wonder, where in your life do you find other people’s opinions of you are holding you back?
Stop spending your energy on people who are holding you back and start devoting it to someone who truly deserves to be liked by you.