The Weight of Others' OpinionsAug 22, 2022
When it comes to the opinions of others, we often take them too seriously. We let other people's perceptions of us dictate our own lives and self-worth, and this is a huge mistake. We should be careful about whose opinions we listen to and ensure they come from a good place. It's important to remember that not everyone has our best interests at heart, and sometimes their opinions are just based on their biases and judgments. So, before you let someone else's opinion affect your life, think carefully about why they might have said what they did and whether it is worth considering.
Do other people's opinions matter?
Opinions are a part of our lives. We like to give our perspectives on practically everything we see, including how we assess other people's lives. Each of us has our view of reality, and this reality will sometimes infringe on others' realities. So, in a way, we are capable of influencing each others' lives. What we hear from others and what they say can influence our decisions, how we view the world, and how we act as a person. The earliest time we experience this is when we are still a child, and our parents dictate to us what we should do, what is right or wrong, and what things are acceptable to society. It continues into adulthood, and the opinions we get from people become diverse as we get them from coworkers, friends, and peers belonging to different groups and social standings.
People's opinions can be right or wrong, depending on how you take them and how it resonates with your values and goals. They can give us ideas on how to progress with life and what things we can try doing. The problem occurs the moment we take others' opinions as an absolute and let them guide how our lives should be. You might end up doing something you don't like, but you do it anyway because you place high regard on what others say to you. Some people find it difficult to resist the opinion of others, and there can be several reasons.
- Some people like to follow others' opinions on them because they don't want to be left out and ridiculed for doing something different compared to what the rest is doing. In addition, people want to feel appreciated and gain approval from others, so following their opinions is an excellent way to earn these.
- As children, we might have been conditioned that following what our parents say to us and want us to do will net our rewards. But, conversely, not doing them will get us punishments. Unfortunately, this mentality continues into adulthood, and we end up following what others want from us for fear of retaliation and being discriminated against by others.
- Lack of confidence and self-esteem makes us less trusting of ourselves concerning our capabilities and potential. Some of us resort to following others' opinions instead because we may think others know what's best for us. It's challenging to decide by ourselves, so we let others decide for us.
Decide what you want to hear and follow.
Nowadays, many people are very opinionated. Before, you only heard them when you got to converse with others directly. People's opinions are now everywhere on the Internet, especially when you go to the comments sections of articles and social media websites. It can be easy to get swayed, take other people's beliefs, and apply them to your life. Nothing's wrong with this by default, but you may take the wrong advice and opinions from others. Not all opinions will be good for you; some are inherently wrong, but you may not know because you are unfamiliar with the subject.
So what's the right thing to do when it comes to listening and applying the opinion of others to us? First, you must know your goals, personality, strengths and weaknesses, and values well. Knowing yourself well will guide whether you should take somebody's opinion as something that can help you or will go against your beliefs. If an opinion is not helpful, listen to it mentioned by somebody, but move on, and you don't have to apply it to your life.
The second thing you can do is to pick who you listen to for an opinion or advice. Every person has their view of the world, and somebody's thoughts might not resonate with yours. So you want to find people whose opinions can inspire and motivate you to do something or give practical advice to help you solve your life problems. Don't just listen and do something immediately based on what the majority says if it's not going to benefit you.
Finally, trust yourself. Believe in what you can do and that you are capable of making decisions that can benefit yourself. Fear can strike when there's uncertainty over something, and this is when the majority's decision can have significant weight on what you would like to do. Try doing something by yourself and see if you succeed. Learn to deal with risks and weigh if taking others' opinions will be better or dare to maneuver yourself if the consequences are not severe.
In the end, you will decide what to do by yourself.
No matter how much weight people's opinions can give you, in the end, it's up to you to decide whether you will heed what they say. Regardless if others insist you do something or even do what they want for you, it's your choice to decide and act upon something you hear. Opinions are there to give us a different insight into something, and we may agree or disagree with them.
The problem with taking somebody else's opinion and doing what others want for you is that it may cause a conflict of interest within yourself. You may do something out of practicality and conformity, but deep inside, you feel like you should be doing something else. When such feelings arise, it's time to question whether you should continue doing what you heard or told or explore an alternative that resonates with your values. On the other hand, it's a good feeling to be able to do something heartfelt from your decision, and you would feel more fulfilled and happy doing things this way.