What Others Say About You is About Them

I don’t care so much what people say about me because it usually is a reflection of who they are. For example, if people wish I would sound like I used to sound, then it says more about them than it does me.” Prince

We take what others say about us so personally. Whether it’s our friends poking fun or someone criticizing us seriously, it’s hard to let it go. We let their comments dictate how we feel or, worse yet – what we can accomplish in life. Most of us are unaware how much we let other’s opinions control how we feel about ourselves. We seek validation from our parents, partners, friends or bosses, but never remember to check in with us to see if there is actually any merit to what has been said. It’s like we automatically give others permission to tread upon our deep sense of self. We abandon what we might know or feel about us and instead supplant it with outside opinion. And it doesn’t feel good. When we allow others opinions about us to creep into our psyche, what choice do we have but feel rejected, dejected and hurt. We pull out the internal baseball and pile on the harm – believing that what we’ve heard must be true, we continue the negative conversation and say things to ourselves that are probably far worse than what anyone else could possibly say to us. Each time we let someone else’s opinion of us spoil our mood we give away our power – letting what others think become more important than our own self-validation. How can we ever be happy if we’re always judging who we are based on what others say about us? Simply put, we can’t. So, what might it feel like to shift your perspective and see that what someone thinks about you might actually be a reflection of who they are? As Prince points out, if someone preferred his old sound to his new sound, that is a reflection of their tastes versus the quality of what he produced. The same goes for anyone trying out a new look or career – everyone else’s discomfort with your changes says more about them than it ever can about you. When we free ourselves from finding “truth” in what someone else might say about us, we take back our power of interpretation and ability to self-validate. In short, we become free.

Weekly Path to Peace: Let go of other’s opinions of you.

  • Notice how much and where you seek validation from others. Do you get upset when someone says something negative or criticizes you? Do you still seek out approval from a parent or spouse, even though you know it shouldn’t matter? Keep track of the ways you make other people’s opinions of you matter.
  • The next time you find yourself defensive in response to someone else’s comment or opinion of you, try and reframe your thoughts. Instead of buying into their statements or feeling hurt, ask yourself how their statements might be a reflection of their tastes or opinions. You can also look to see how might their opinions be a reaction to how they feel about themselves. Reframe your perspective.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.