The fear of other people’s opinions used to hold me back in every area of life. It would make me analyze every little thing I wanted to do and question everything I had already done. In some ways it was paralyzing.
I think some people would call this people pleasing. I believe it’s so much more.
For me, it’s the thing I needed to work through in order to start on the journey towards my dream lifestyle. As I worked through it, I had a few lessons learned that I continue to use to this day (like seriously, I had to do this yesterday). It helps me stay focused on my path instead of letting other people’s opinions distract me from my journey.
I’m sharing the top five things that help me quiet other people’s opinions in my own mind. These five things aren’t magic; just some good old fashion logic.
5 Tips to Stop Letting Other People’s Opinions Hold You Back
1) Opinion of YOU vs an opinion of how you’re going about something
The first thing to do is to ask yourself if someone is judging you as a person or is their hurtful opinion about something you’re doing – an action you’re taking.
I found that sometimes I would assume ill intent towards me as a person. When in reality, they just didn’t agree with the method I was using. For that, I would make sure I felt good about the action I was taking, because everyone has different ways of going about things, then I’d move forward.
It’s one thing for someone to think you’re wrong. It’s another to feel as though you’re going about something the wrong way.
Why is this important? It’s the difference between shame and guilt.
Brene Brown said it this way, “Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is “I am bad.” Guilt is “I did something bad.””
When we’re being shamed, that’s a lot harder to work though than when we’re being told something we’re doing is the wrong method.
It is so much easier to subjectively look at our actions than it is our being. If you are being shamed, then being able to give it words and recognize what is happening is the first step to working through it.
If it’s just a difference of methods used, do the research or check in with yourself. Then move forward with surety and alignment. If someone is shaming you, then consider the next point…
2) Analyze whose opinion it is
The people who judge are usually projecting their own fears onto you. Anyone who is “in the arena” or has “been there, done that”, won’t judge you.
Ask yourself who the opinion is coming from and what parts of their life look like something you want to emulate? – ask this not to judge them but to differentiate between those who have life experience on the matter and those who are reacting out of their own insecurities.
Dig into the “why” behind the reason that person’s opinion matters to you so much.
Recently, a family member said something that felt judgemental. At first I shrugged it off, but as time passed, it bothered me more until I woke up one morning and it was the first thing that came to mind.
So I paused to ask myself why it bothered me so much. As I dug deeper, I realized it actually had to do with an old insecurity of mine that I thought I had worked through. The first step towards working through that insecurity and healing from it was to have an open conversation with myself and my husband.
I needed the words said out loud to acknowledge and remove the power from them though.
The family member who said something triggering? Well, first I realized that my actions trigger their insecurity and shame in the same area. Second, I realized they don’t know the truth because it’s not a conversation we’ve ever had. So their opinion is based on appearances and not reality.
Does it still hurt that they didn’t even try to discover the truth? Yes, but there’s a bigger history there that brings perspective and so I’m going to choose to be at peace.
3) Don’t let it go but do work through it
Let me just say, I’m not one to “let it go” but I don’t hold grudges either. Let me explain – generally speaking, when someone else’s opinions or judgements trigger us, it is a signal to us that there is something there to work through.
You cannot “let it go” by skirting around it. Has this ever worked for anyone? For me, it just sits somewhere inside and I always remember what was said. I always know what they think and it changes my interactions with that person.
Now, perhaps interactions should change, but not because you “let it go” and now it simmers inside.
Perhaps interactions should change because healthy boundaries need to be set.
Instead of letting it go (aka doing nothing about it), dig a little deeper into why that thing bothered you so much. Work through it instead of dancing around it. It’s the only path to healing.
Getting to the root of why an opinion matters so much to you and you’ll be able to remove it at its core. It may take some time, but it’ll set you free to travel your own path in ways you never expected.
4) You’re journey is not their journey
Everyone is on their own journey in life. The right answer for them may not be the right answer for you. However, when someone finds an answer that feels aligned in our lives it feels transformative. Generally speaking, people share transformative things with others because we care (me: writing this blog post right now). The problem is when what’s transformative for them isn’t for us and vice versa.
It can be easy to feel like you have the answer to something and not understand why another person doesn’t want that solution also. When people approach other’s from this perspective just remember that they probably have good intentions but are using bad methods to try to help you get there.
Unless someone has a high emotional IQ, they probably won’t see what’s really going on and that’s okay. Like I said, your journey is not their journey.
People are afraid that different means “wrong”. If you’re approaching something differently than them, does that mean they are doing it wrong or are you? This is the question that is subconsciously triggered.
My question is, can you be at peace with using different methods and trusting that it’s the right answer for both of you?
Still want some confirmation that you’re on the right path? Find someone taking the same journey as you who is already there to learn from.
5) Replace the misconceptions of other people’s opinions with the truth
In the story I told you a moment ago with the family member, the person’s opinions were born of misconceptions. The only thing that battles misconceptions is the truth.
So how do I begin to work through opposing judgements and opinions? I replace them with the truth. During the conversation with my husband (you could also do this by yourself in a journal), I acknowledged what each misconception or insecurity was and then I replaced it with a statement of truth.
Here’s an example of how this would work:
Misconception: “your house is a mess and your schedule is messy so you’re not good enough as a woman/mom/wife/employee/sister/friend/self”.
Truth: “I have a lot on my plate and prioritize family time over a clean house. Would I like a clean house? Yes. Is it important enough to me to let some of these other things go at the moment? No. I’m doing my best and am slowly laying the foundation work to create a home environment that I love.”
It’s rewriting the narrative you tell yourself. Here’s the important part – We’re not lying to ourselves here, we’re just replacing insecurities and old lies with the actual truth.
Speaking the truth and trying to convince ourselves of something are two different things.
So acknowledge the misconceptions, and replace it with words that are the truth. It’s a powerful practice.
These five things are the thought processes or mindset shifts I use to help me work through quieting other people’s opinions of me in my own mind. I’ve found that sometimes one little remark can take up a lot of space, time and energy in my thoughts that I could be using for more productive and creative things.
My hope is that walking you through the logic patterns I use, helps you work through your own things. It’s time to stop getting tripped up on your journey to your dream lifestyle and start stepping fully into the path you were meant to walk! Want to read more about this topic? Check out my most popular post I’ve ever written: 7 Tips to Not Let Things Bothers You (even if they’re little)
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