“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” — Marcus Aurelius
People will talk. They always have. And they always will. No matter what you do or say, how you behave, the way you walk or dress, how you act, or the decisions you make, will always be scrutinized by others. It’s the nature of the masses. Like the herd of lions swooping in for the kill, they prey on the weak, looking for those they can taunt and torment. And it gets to us. We allow other people’s opinions to not only hurt us, but oftentimes, to define us.
But it doesn’t matter what other people think of you. It doesn’t matter what other people say about you behind closed doors or even right in front of your face. Their opinions have no basis in defining what you’re all about. They aren’t the truth. They have no purpose other than to hurt or harm you. There is no rhyme or reason beyond making the other person feel superior to you in some way or another.
But this isn’t something new. Other people have always had an opinion. From early on in our lives, we form clicks. As children, we tend to gang up on others in an effort to not only make that person feel bad, but to make ourselves feel better. Just because someone is different from you, doesn’t make them inferior. No one is better than you no matter what. No matter the color of their skin, their religion, their occupation, nor anything else for that matter. No one.
Still, it’s hard to not get disheartened when others hurl intentionally-hurtful opinions at you. It’s easy to think in your mind that those opinions don’t matter and don’t define you as a human being, but it’s harder to put in practice. Considering that we’ve all been the target of an ill-intentioned opinion at one point or another, most of us know just how this feels. It’s hard to suppress your emotions when people are doing their best just to get you going.
Still, it’s important to take the high road. It’s important to turn the other cheek and look the other way. Not only for your own sanity, but for the simple fact that you shouldn’t give others the pleasure of insulting you. You shouldn’t allow their negativity to stir you into a fury. It doesn’t matter what other people think. Not at all. As long as you’re doing the right thing and you’re interested in creating value and contributing to the world, you shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks or says.
#1 — People will always find someone to talk about
Throughout history, people have always found someone to talk about. They’ve ganged up on those they perceived as different, or in some way a threat to their own existence. This is steeped in our society and culture, and goes back towards the dawn of modern man. Why do you torment others for no real purpose? Why do we cast out those who are different? What is it about human society that makes this something so ingrained into our lives?
The fact of the matter is that people will always find something or someone to talk about. They will always convey their opinions and cast out those who they feel are weak, misfits or simply don’t “fit in” with others because of they’re too fat, too skinny, too dark, too white, too religious, too fanatical, too smart, too dumb, or whatever have you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. People will always find someone to talk about.
We don’t live in a perfect world where everyone is the same, with the same set of skills or upbringings or talents. No. We live in a wide and diverse world, where genetic mutations from the dawn of time have led to an overall diversity in the species on this planet. Within every species, there are countless more diversities. The difference is that humans are conscious and aware of their existence and tend to find solace in tormenting and weakening the spirit of others.
#2 — Your self-worth isn’t defined by an approval rating
No matter what the naysayers and the purveyors of negativity around you might say, your self-worth isn’t defined by an approval rating. There’s no objective rating scale that allows another person to judge you. They don’t know what you’ve been through. They don’t know your story, your trials, your tribulations, or the path you’ve walked through the shadow of the valley of death. No, it simply doesn’t work that way.
However, too often, we do define our self-worth by an approval rating. We do allow what others say or think about us to influence how we feel about ourselves. The happiness barometer is often influenced by the he-said-she-said pipeline. That grapevine makes it to us in some way or another, whether electronically or verbally, and we feel the effects of that, similar to a ground-altering earthquake.
It jolts us. It sickens us. It makes us depressed. It shouldn’t. But it does. We allow it to do that. And because we allow it, we stoke the fire of feelings and angst. We help to spread the conflagration of negativity when people know that it’s affecting us. They know that pressing that button is going to hurt. So they keep pressing it and pressing it. Don’t allow it to upset you. Don’t allow it to phase you. Forget what they think. Seriously, forget it.
#3 — They don’t know your journey, where you’ve been or where you’re heading
I recall a powerful story that I once heard about a man who was on a subway. He sat there on the subway, watching as a father was completely neglecting his three children. Two small boys and a little girl were simply out of control, and he was oblivious to the fact. He looked at the man in disdain. How could he ignore his children? How could he allow them to disrupt the subway ride for other passengers? Passengers who were too nice or to ambivalent to say anything.
Eventually, the man had stirred in his own thoughts enough. He came to the end of his proverbial rope. He had to say something. Gripped with anger, he approached the father, asking him why he wasn’t controlling his children. The man, looking back at him with a sorry face, apologized profusely. ‘I know. I’m sorry. I guess I should do something, shouldn’t I?’ he asked. He fell silent for a moment and looked out the window of the moving subway car, towards the blackness on the other side, his eyes glazing over.
After a pause, he told the man what had happened. His wife had just died of cancer. They were coming back from the hospital. He was wondering what he was going to tell his kids or how he was going to explain it to them that their mother was gone forever. A solitary tear fell down the side of his face as the other passengers looked on in sorrow. ‘I’m sorry,’ said the man to the father. ‘I had no idea.’
#4 — Trust your intuition and who you are deep down inside
One reason why you absolutely shouldn’t listen to the opinion of other people is because you should trust your intuition. You should trust who you are and why you’re doing the things that you’re doing. The most successful people in the world were ridiculed and shamed the most times for their dreams. How much do you think they were made fun of and scoffed at after failing over and over again?
The point is that you have to do what’s right for you, and not base that decision on what other people think about you or what you’re doing. Nobody is perfect. Nobody has the right to declare you unfit or unworthy of something just because of a flaw or because you’re different than others. As long as you’re doing the right things in this world with the right motivations, it doesn’t matter what other people’s opinions are of you.
Keep light of the fact that many before you were judged, and many after you will continue to be judged. It will likely always be this way. That’s the nature of a diverse society. We aren’t all the same. And considering that fact, you shouldn’t allow those opinions to affect you. At the end of the day, when we come to the end of this life, none of that will matter. What will matter will be our experiences and what value we brought to this world, not other people’s opinions of us.
#5 — You will never please everyone with your decisions so don’t try
It’s literally impossible to please everyone. No matter what decision you make, someone is going to be upset. Someone is going to have an opinion of which path you follow or which direction you choose. They will judge you on what you do for your children, what you do for your career, what you do for your education, who your friends are, the places you spend your time, what you do for a living, and everything else in between.
How can you expect to please them all? How can you expect to appease and cater to the opinions of all those people out there who differ so widely from your views? It’s quite literally impossible. However, for one reason or another, we allow other people’s opinions of us to dictate how we feel. When we make a decision, and people judge us negatively for it, we question whether or not we did the right thing.
Why? Why should it matter that we cater to others? They don’t know you. They don’t know all the things that you’ve been through. They don’t know why you made that decision over another. So, why is their opinion the right opinion? It’s not. It’s subjective. Your decision is steeped in the present situation and circumstances that surround your life, not theirs. You’re doing the best for you and your family. That’s all that matters.
#6 — What’s good for someone else might not be good for you
We are all so different. Everything about our lives is different. We’re the product of different experiences, different upbringings, different values and beliefs, and so on. So, doesn’t that mean that what’s good for someone else might not be good for you? Does it mean that there’s some neat little box that all decisions go in? Does it mean that the opinion of the masses are correct and that they’re justified in judging you? Of course not.
Yet, we base our sanity on those same opinions of others. We allow that to dictate how we feel at any given moment. Are we happy because someone approves of one of our decisions? Or, are we sad, because others disapprove? Why should their opinion be the right opinion? Why should what’s good for them, also be good for you? What is it about these negative people, and why do we allow it to so deeply affect us?
As long as we continue to give people the power and allow it to negatively affect us, they will continue to judge. They will continue to say things to hurt us or make us feel unworthy of being in our own skins. That’s not fair whatsoever. You should never do that to someone else and don’t allow them to do it to you. You have to ignore that negativity. Chase your dreams and make your decisions based on what’s good for you, not them.
#7 — Because taking the high road is always a better choice
God put us all here on the earth to thrive. Not just to survive. Human beings were made to thrive. We were made to uplift others and make them feel good about themselves. Especially when they’re trying to do the right thing in life and help their families, and add value to the world. No matter what anyone else says or thinks about you, taking the high road is always a better choice. Turn the other cheek, even if they spite you on both sides of the face.
There’s this universal oneness that binds us all. We are all the product of the same original energy in the universe produced nearly 14 billion years ago. Somehow, one way or another, we wound up in these human bodies, as conscious and aware beings. And that energy is important. That energy dictates the sway and direction of your life. When channelled properly, it can be an explosive power, one to create tremendous positivity in this world.
But that energy can also be used to reap sadness and sow animosity. Don’t allow that to happen. Don’t get sucked into negative thinking and people’s poor opinions of you. It doesn’t matter. Take the high road. Ignore the naysayers. Turn the other cheek no matter how much it burns you or hurts you inside to do so. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did. You’ll be glad you stayed in the realm of positivity rather than flinging yourself into the ring of negativity.