How often have you found yourself being swayed by someone else’s opinion regardless of whether you agree or disagree with it? This seems to happen more often than not with most people and it tends to get in the way of what we truly desire in our lives.
In taking on others opinions we have a tendency of questioning what we feel about ourselves and even questioning if what we think or feel is true or even worth acknowledging. We end up feeling frustrated because it robs us of our ability to move forward with our lives in a self assured and powerful manner. When we start believing that someone else’s opinions are more valuable than what we need to believe for ourselves, we give up our freedom to act spontaneously because we have essentially given our power away.
There are so many aspects and degrees of “giving your power away”. When we begin to take on another’s opinion and chose to make someone else right because they may have a stronger or more persuasive view, than we in essence have made ourselves wrong which inevitably will pull us into second guessing some situation or aspect of ourselves that was once in alignment with our sense of integrity.
If you then take that one instance where you allowed yourself to second guess your decisions because of an opinion, then throw in all the years of taking on others judgments on top of that, you now find yourself powerless to make your own choices without seeking the approval of others. You may begin to feel indecisive about all your decisions because you have now unconsciously trained yourself to second guess your intuitive or gut feelings and wind up making choices that may not serve you in the long run.
While this may be great news for all of the soothsayers out there who cater mostly to people that are feeling powerless about their decisions and making the right choices in life. It never sit’s comfortably with the person who has unknowingly given away their own self worth through taking on others opinions.
Opinions are mostly judgments that we have about any given situation and depending on what the opinion is it can sometimes wreck havoc on our lives, especially if the opinion is toxic to your well being.
I’m not saying that opinions are wrong, we all have a point of view about most everything and having an opinion serves us in a lot of different aspects. In fact its part of our humanity, on many levels our view of ourselves is what defines us as individuals. So let me clarify what I mean when I say that “Your opinion is really none of my business”.
According to Merriam Webster an Opinion is: “A stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge”. Opinions are not based on “Positive Knowledge” it’s just an idea that someone has about a situation or event that they feel the need to express. The problem is that others viewpoints can be expressed in a lot of self-righteous, toxic and unhealthy ways when the opinions are self-serving and have some kind of hidden agenda.
I have had many clients come to me feeling weighed down, disheartened and stuck. During our sessions they have all expressed a sentiment of dissatisfaction. In the process of breaking it down, what seems to always arise is that they are essentially feeling held back by their intimate relationships, bosses, parents, siblings and community and their often self serving or negative judgments.
What most of us really need to understand is that we are the only ones who allow ourselves to embrace and accept others opinions as truth. In a lot of these cases my clients feel a sense of obligation to the person holding the opinion about who they are, what they do, and how they do it, whatever “it” may be.
We wear the judgments of others like a big overcoat on a hot summer day knowing deep down that the opinions that others have infringed on us doesn’t serve us in any way. Yet we somehow feel obligated to make someone else happy and negate what it is that we need for ourselves in order to be self-sustaining, empowered and free to make our own life choices.
According to Webster an opinion is “less strong than positive knowledge”. Positive knowledge is objective and impartial while opinions are often based on an agenda that someone else may have to sway your motives, intentions or actions. Others opinions are rarely neutral and unbiased and if the viewpoint is based on an emotional reaction there is no premise of “positive knowledge” which renders the opinion as “less strong”.
I would make the argument that most opinions tend to be self-serving unless you are a clinical researcher or scientist with data to back up your finding. In our daily lives we are constantly bombarded with the opinions and judgments of others, they have been with us since we were small children and at some point in our childhood we were told that our beliefs don’t hold any value. We then unknowingly hold on to and store that very judgment away in our subconscious mind and take it into our adulthood unsuspectingly allowing it to seep insidiously into every decision we make. It has kept us from living the lives that we dream about, and it has kept us tied to the shadows of our deepest fear that we may fail or that we aren’t good enough and not worthy to think, act or be spontaneous enough to move forward on our own volition. As a result we are constantly seeking the approval and opinions of others instead of trusting that all of the answers we need lie within ourselves.
Opinions are merely thoughts, so then the question to ask yourself is are they authentically YOUR thoughts? If it doesn’t resonate with you than why are you accepting it as your own? In order to move powerfully forward in our lives we need to stop looking for approval through the opinions of others and weighing our sense of self worth through the judgmental eyes of others. It’s time to take back our lives and set ourselves free from trying to please everyone else. It takes courage to stand in our own integrity, to reclaim our powerful selves, to say no when it’s appropriate and to allow the backlash of another’s self-righteous judgment roll off of you like water on a ducks back. You may just discover that in the act of reclaiming yourself you are also empowering everyone around you to do the same. That one act in and of itself will change your life.
Carol Japngie Horton Cht. LC.