One of the most profound pieces of advice I have ever received is, “Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.” This idea is one that can be very difficult to incorporate into our daily lives, but it is one of the most beneficial paradigm shifts I have ever made. I have always been a little…different, so as a child, peers at school dubbed me “Freak.” For a long time, this affected the opinion I held of myself. I took to heart what others were saying and it began wearing away at my fragile adolescent self-confidence. I became very unhappy and no longer liked myself. It wasn’t until I heard this jewel of wisdom that I began to question why I gave my power away to others. I realized that the key to my being happy was to stop focusing so much on what others thought of me and instead focus on what I thought of me. I started to see that I liked being different. I noticed that the traits others judged so harshly were the very things I considered to be some of my best attributes. This allowed me to mentally free myself from the chains of others opinions.
How often do we focus on the words and opinions of others? How often do we seek validation from people other than ourselves? I feel that this is something everyone is guilty of. We crave approval from others and take to heart any criticism directed our way. It becomes an obsession that leads to dependence on others and unhappiness. In the age of social media, this is becoming even more of a problem. We find that we cannot be satisfied with ourselves if others are not praising us with likes on social media posts or compliments, but at the end of the day, what really matters is that you approve of you. You are stuck with yourself for the rest of your life so the only opinion you need to worry about is your own.
Written by Hailey Stern