Believing Other People’s Opinions

I was a doormat.

I believed what people said to me about me. And usually they weren’t kind words.

My mother told me I was useless repeatedly, my friends told me I was sensitive, and my managers at work told me I took feedback well (no joke).

I felt miserable most of the time. Not because the people I loved or admired had negative opinions about me but because I believed them.

Other people’s opinions hurt, not because of their words or tone, but because we believe what they say about us. We believe them because we had a sentence run through our mind like:

“I must be a terrible person.”

“Why can’t I get it right?”

“I guess that must be true.”

They seem innocent or like we’re acknowledging a truth about us that will help improve ourselves. And that doesn’t work, does it?

These little, sneaky sentences create our feelings of shame, guilt, doubt, etc. The other person and their opinion said out loud (“You’re so useless.”) isn’t the cause.

If a random stranger on the street came up to you and told you “you’re too sensitive” it would catch you off guard but you probably wouldn’t believe them. Instead, you might even think they’re weird and feel surprised and confused.

Same opinion but you have a different sentence that’s in your mind about it.

But even if the same opinion comes from someone you know, their opinion doesn’t have any truth to it just like a stranger’s opinion. It’s their opinion based on a lot of different things like experiences or memories and coming from their own emotional state.

And we’ll sort of get this when it comes to a stranger; we’ll think he’s having a bad day or has anger problems. The same is equally true with any person’s opinion about you.

The main reason why it hurts is because we believed it to be true.

And so the next time you believe someone else’s opinion ask yourself: What makes their opinion not true?

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