Call it self-centered, call it close minded. I call it healthy. I call it survival. There are billions of people in this world, all with different beliefs, traditions, values, and experiences. This is a beautiful thing. But when it comes to people giving you endless advice and offering their unwelcome opinion, it can be overwhelming and straight up, annoying. You know what they say. Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one.
So, with countless thoughts, suggestions, and points of view flying at you and clouding your judgment, how can you drown out the noise and listen to the one internal voice that matters? Yours! After reading this, you’ll realize why the only opinion that truly matters is your own.
No One Else is Living Your Life
Sure, it’s all well and good for someone to offer you their opinion about the decisions you’ve made or are going to make, but at the end of the day, they aren’t living your life. The advice they give will have no lasting repercussions on them. Opinions are just words. Words that you can take, internalize, and utilize or words that you can let go in one ear and out the other.
Have you ever heard the saying, “it’s are easier said than done”? This couldn’t be more true than when it comes to people offering up their advice and opinion. It’s easy for someone on the outside looking in to tell you what’s right or best. After all, they’re not the ones living it. They’re not the ones making hard decisions, grappling with emotions or making life-altering decisions. So, of course it’s easy for them to sit back and tell you exactly how to orchestrate your life. After you part ways, their life will remain unaffected, while yours may change forever. If someone offers an opinion that just doesn’t sit right with you, listen to your gut. Follow your heart. And remember that if things don’t go well, you’ll be left picking up the pieces while the person offering advice may not even remember the encounter.
Take it From the Source
When it comes to someone giving you their opinion, it’s important to take it from the source. This concept is pretty simple. If your twice divorced cousin who’s living in their parents basement and has been single for the last 10 years is trying to give you relationship advice, you may want to reconsider. The same goes for that great uncle who filed bankruptcy last year and lost his house who is now offering financial advice and guidance. You may want to respectfully decline his services. Be smart about whose opinion you take to heart and whose you don’t. The easiest way out of this one is to simply nod, smile, and mentally write your grocery list until their done talking. Then end the conversation by saying, “Thanks. I’ll take that into consideration”.
They May Be Jaded
Our life experiences shape who we are. Some for the better and some, not so much. Many people’s opinions are based on their own life experience, which means their opinions can be jaded or tainted. For example, a woman whose been cheated on may tell you that all men are scum. A friend who had one bad experience dorming at college might tell you to never live on campus. These are all opinions based solely on that person’s individual experience. This has little to do with you or your life choices. It’s fine to listen to other people’s experiences but you need to differentiate between their horror story and your reality.
You’ll Live Under a Shadow of Doubt and Regret
My goodness. This already sounds like a horrible reason for letting other people’s opinions impact your life. And that’s because it is. If your make major life decisions based solely on someone else’s opinion, you’re gonna live a long life of regret and doubt over whether or not you made the right decision. You’ll constantly look back at your life and think, “What if I had followed my heart?” or “What if I had done what I truly wanted to do?”
There’s something empowering about making your own decision and sticking with it. You’ll feel confident and in control of your own destiny. When you let another person’s opinion muddy your thoughts and create doubt in your mind, you start making decisions based on their agenda, not yours. And that’s no way to live. Not only will you feel regret over the experiences that could have been or doubt over those that never were but you might actually feel resent toward the person who gave you the bad advice. Granted, it’s not their fault that you listened to them but chances are, you’ll inadvertently blame them for your misery.
Look in the Mirror
Are you constantly worried about what other people think? Do you find it difficult to make a simple decision out of fear that it may be the wrong one? And I’m talking as simple as ordering the passion fruit smoothie or the acai bowl. Well, I’m about to blow your mind and change the way you interpret other people’s opinions. Stop and look in the mirror because 99% of the time, you’re simply projecting your own fears and self-judgment onto others. We convince ourselves that those around us must think we’re making a mistake because, internally, we think we’re making a mistake. When you let go of the worry and concern over other people’s opinions, you’re actually empowering yourself and boosting your confidence in your own ability to make decisions. At the end of the day, you’re the one living with your choices and that alone should help you see that your’s is the only opinion that matters.
Stop Asking for People’s Opinion
If you’re still struggling to drown out the noise of other people’s opinions but just can’t seem to do it, it may be time to stop asking for people’s advice. It’s a pretty simple concept, really. If you don’t want to hear the answer, don’t ask the question. Of course, there are times when people offer their opinion without you asking so you may need to be creative about respectfully declining their advice. But when you can, stop yourself from uttering phrases like, “Well, what do you think?” or “Is this the right outfit for my first date?” Stop over analyzing everything everyone says or looking too deeply for a hidden meaning in their words. You’ll drive yourself crazy this way. Try looking inside and building your own self-worth and confidence. Self-development courses are awesome for this or practice positive self-talk and mindfulness. Once you strengthen the bond with your inner voice and start trusting it, you can start taking control of your own destiny.