The time Macklin went missing for 10 minutes in my neighborhood, I had a weird stream of thoughts that progressed from calm thoughts to worried thoughts, to panicked thoughts and then the last thing I thought before I found him was how angry and disappointed my mom would be in me if something happened to him.
My 2 year old was missing and I was worried about what my mom would think?
I mean we all have that person or people that we want to please. Or maybe not just one or two but we want everyone to like us.
In this world of social media and cyber-bullying and cyber-shaming, other people’s opinions are more of a concern and more prevalent than EVER BEFORE.
Not only do we have our community and close friends and relatives, but now we have the world of the INTERNETS, and people that can be anonymous and say mean things and judge us without even knowing us.
Knowing how not to care about other people’s opinions is not just nice, it’s CRITICAL to helping you be the best person you can be in this world and not be scared of what people might think.
So let me give you an example from the client in the coaching program. She was struggling with being around a new group of parents that she didn’t know well one night. Her kids had stayed up late the night before and were struggling to behave and she was very worried that the other parents were judging her.
Have you ever had this happen to you? Your kid’s melting down in the middle of the grocery store and all you can think about is what the people walking by must think of you?
Yeah, it’s totally normal. I mean our brains want us to avoid being judged because as primitive species, if we were judged negatively by others, if we went against the group’s opinions, we would be shunned, and then we may have died. So there was a good use for this fear, this concern for others opinions. It kept us alive.
But now, it’s not as useful. And in fact, I would argue that it causes suffering and keeps us from being our authentic selves and living the life that will ultimately make us the happiest.
Do we even know who we are? Who we want to be? What do we want in life?
If we don’t, it’s easy to let others opinions guide our decisions, make us small and keep us stuck. If we don’t know these answers, or we aren’t sure that’s your first work to do.
And as parents, we may be very used to not thinking about what we want or putting ourselves and our desires first. We may not be inclined to work on ourselves because we don’t feel it’s important or we think it’s selfish.
But it’s critical to fill up your bucket so you have enough to give to others.
But I digress.
Trying to control others’ opinions of us is futile. It’s a terrible idea. We can’t control others, and trying to will just make us miserable. You may think that you are influencing their opinions by being nice or good or perfect but I promise you, you’re not.
We know this because if that were true, everyone would have the same opinion about you. But they don’t. They may be judging us, but they may not. We don’t know.
What does this tell us? That other people’s opinions are all about them. And in fact, most of the time, they aren;t really caring about you. They may not even notice you. So if they’re not really caring about you, and it’s all about them, why not just be the real you, unapologetically?
Then you actually give people the chance to make a decision about you. The real you.
And let people decide to go all in on you or decide that maybe you’re not for them, and that’s ok.
It’s okay for people to be wrong about me and have opinions of me that aren’t true, that aren’t based in reality. And so I think that the question becomes at some point, you have to decide who’s opinion matters the most in your life. Is it your husband? Is it your mother? Is it your children? Who is it that you want to answer to? What about if you decide to live for you? To live out of integrity for who you are, instead of pretending to be this light version of yourself so I could be more acceptable to other people.
What do you think about you? What do you think about your parenting? That’s all that matters. Have your own back.
Think about someone you love. What if someone else judged them? What would you think? You’d say they are crazy because that person is amazing. And then just dismiss their opinion.
What if you could do that for you? When other people had opinions, you just knew they were wrong about you and that’s ok. What only matters then is the people that love you for you and are all in on who you are. Your people. Let other people be wrong about you.
Other people’s opinions are none of your business. Instead work on your opinion of YOU and then you won’t care.