It’s true, other people do judge and criticize us. Mind you, they don’t do it nearly as much as our minds lead us to believe, but they do it, just like you do it to them.
To some of us, this is an accepted part of life that has little to no bearing on our ability to be ourselves and do what we like to do. But to the majority of us, this reality is incredibly crippling and can often be one of the biggest contributors to a persistent state of unhappiness.
For the vast majority of my life, what other people think of me has impacted me far more than I would have ever liked it to. A big contributor to this was certainly my pursuit to become an actor, where audition after audition not only thrust me through criticism, but also regularly reminded me of what about me just wasn’t good enough to get the part.
Thankfully, I’ve since graduated from this state where virtually every outside opinion had the power to drastically impact me, to one where only a select few have that “honour”.
But as of late I’ve made a point of working on that as well, in hopes of unlocking a state of being where I literally no longer give a shit what others may or may not think of me or my decisions. Please understand that the goal here is not to completely disrespect the opinion of others, I’ll still happily seek and grow from that as it arises, but to eliminate the unhealthy tendency to let these opinions dictate my life for me.
Here are some reminders and mental shifts that I’ve found to be particularly helpful in this process so far:
Most Opinions Are Rooted In Jealousy
On the surface it may seem as though criticism is coming from a state of superiority, but in reality it is often rooted in perceived inferiority. Someone else feels threatened by what you are doing, and rather than focusing on how they could do something about it in their own lives, they’ve chosen to expend their energy trying to cut you down.
The truth is, we are never superior or inferior to each other, and the sooner we choose to respect each other’s individual journeys, lives, and passions, the quicker we’ll all be genuinely happy.
Even Your “Failures” Took Courage
We all screw up from time to time, and in the grand scheme of things can all appreciate each of those mishaps as a vital part to our maturity and growth. So when you do next “screw up” and receive some criticism as a result of that, remind yourself of the courage it took to do whatever it is that you messed up. Choose to focus on that, rather than the unpleasant responses and you’ll find yourself back on your metaphorical horse of creation rather quickly.
They’re Just As Concerned As You Are
Only having the ability to be in your own body, it’s easy to believe that the world revolves around you. But there are over 7 billion of us that see it the same way. Keep in mind that as much as someone may have criticized you in the past, they aren’t giving you and your decisions as much attention as you think.
Why? Because they have their own lives and concerns about what others are thinking of them, which from their perspective will always be far more important.
Find What You Admire
In my particular case, where only the opinion of a select few still ruffle my feathers, I’ve found it helpful to identify what it is about them that makes me hold them in such esteem. Is it our extensive history? Their courage? Their accomplishments?
Whatever it is, identify it and then rather than feeling inferior to it, choose to be happy for what they have done, and what they have helped to trigger in your life. It may not feel like it, but each of these people, and the opinions that they hold are all a wonderful opportunity for us to step into our power.
Embrace The Feeling
It may feel scary at first, but the more you consciously choose to defy the restrictions your mind is trying to place on you through a fear of outside opinion, the more addictive it becomes.
I’m not suggesting we all become rebels, but I am suggesting that we all regain the driver seat of our decision making process.