The wooded land stretched for what seemed miles, but I couldn’t explore or enjoy it because of the giant signs proclaiming that it was PRIVATE PROPERTY and that VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED.
Everyone, to one extent or another, fears rejection. We are afraid of opening the most vulnerable part of ourselves because others may hurt us. If they reject the essence of our being, then we are devalued and our self-worth plummets.
To prevent that from happening, we put up giant NO TRESPASSING signs in our demeanor, speech and actions.
Why Do Other People’s Opinions Matter?
One study after another documents the same results: a necessary condition for being happy and living a happy life is having positive relationships with others.
I think the Beatles sang it best:
All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.
It is that simple. We all want to be loved, wanted and needed.
I’ve noticed how people will comment on a blog or in a forum and they say, “IMO” which means “In My Opinion.” Usually it is because their opinion is different than the majority or with the person who posted the question or blog entry and they do not want to offend them.
Quite simple…Although their opinion is different, they still want to be accepted.
What Is Going On?
In our heads, our intelligent brain knows that we do not “need” to have other people accept us in order to survive. We can be happy without pleasing everyone. That’s the brain talking.
The heart is saying, “Please care. Love me. Tell me you think I’m like you.” We can’t stop the feelings of wanting to be accepted.
Even though our intellect says that OPO (Other People’s Opinions) don’t matter, our heart is saying that OPO validate our existence.
It is such an oxymoron.
What Do We Do With Other People’s Opinions?
When my daughter started junior high school, I remember telling her, “Be yourself. Don’t worry about all the negative you hear because people feel they have to put you down in order to elevate themselves.”
That went over well.
Alyssa cried many tears over the hurtful things other children said to her. In their opinion, Alyssa was not valued and she took everything they said to heart.
I guess I must have told her a million times that everyone was an individual and our differences is what makes relationships enjoyable.
My words never soaked in and even now, she still wants “to be normal like everyone else.”
to live after the world’s opinion;
it is easy in solitude
to live after our own;
but the great man is he who
in the midst of the crowd
keeps with perfect sweetness
the independence of solitude.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
Other people’s opinions (OPO) matter, but their words are not the law. Listen courteously and try to understand their viewpoint, but remain true to yourself…the person deep within your soul…the person that is only known by you.
Don’t let OPO rule your life and actions.
The NO TRESPASSING sign should be ripped off. Let people get to know the REAL you. Those who appreciate your differences will care for you even more and those people that want you to be a clone of themselves, just don’t matter.
IMO, OPO only count when given in friendship, love, caring and respect. Without those qualities, other people should keep their opinions to themselves and live the Law of Thumper.