By: Lorene Belotti, Guest Blogger
During a quiet evening with a close member of my family and her girlfriend, I realized I had changed. This girl I’ve known for only a few months said something that would have hurt me a lot some time ago. She doesn’t know me at all and is very cold type of person. She doesn’t ask me questions about myself, shows no interest in getting to know others, but is pretty sure she has all the answers and can read people. Anyway, we were talking and she said: “Before I was 25, I was way too nice; I was a Lorène.”
Unexpectedly, this girl made me laugh. Some months ago, I would have had a stomachache for days, brooding over this nastiness. On the opposite side of things, this night, I realized how much I had changed and how much more confident I was to be impervious to these mean words. What happened? Why wasn’t I upset? I’m still the hypersensitive girl who reacts easily in her gut over the slightest thing; how did I gain this self-trust that allowed me not to be hurt?
Of course, as everybody, I’ve been through some hardship and I’ve probably learned from my experience in relationships. However, I suppose the main point of this process is I’ve finally accepted and understood not to overestimate the weight that others’ opinions carry. I’ve processed the following idea by Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements: “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
When this girl basically told me I was too nice implying I would let myself get walked on, I understood more about her. I get she associated kindness with weakness while I think the exact opposite; I get she was on the defensive in her relationships, distrusting everyone at first sight while I’m always careful to have a positive attitude towards new people I meet; and I saw she was rapidly judging people, without knowing them for real while I tend to have the maximum of information before authorizing myself to give an opinion about someone or something. Clearly, we’re completely different and what she sees as a weakness is actually my pride. What she said called attention to the image I apparently have: a kind girl. So be it, I love it.
I used to give more credit to people’s opinion than mine, but now I know my voice matters as much as theirs. When I tend to fall again in the fear of other’s judgment, I repeat to myself I’m just as important as they are. It’s not easy sometimes, but it worth it. In my case here, it’s not I don’t care what she said, it’s just I don’t want to overestimate her power. Her opinion is not universal truth.
I guess the second main point of this is gaining confidence to learn to let go and it’s the hardest part. I really have this “perfection” problem. I’m doing the best I can in every area of my life, I also prefer not doing some things instead of risking failure (I’m working hard on that one) so knowing someone thinks a bad thing about me is like failing somehow and it can break me sometimes.
I’m working hard on the idea of letting go and this anecdote actually shows me I’ve evolved. I’m processing the idea it’s not worth fighting for things we can’t change. It’s not right if my entire world is shaken by one person’s opinion. I have to think bigger. I’m the only one to know everything that I’ve been through, who fought for things the others don’t even know. Indeed, I’m the unique one who can judge because I am also the person who’s going to handle the consequence of my behavior. I have to show myself the respect that sometimes, others don’t because just like all of you my dears, I worth it.
It's hard not to let the opinions and perspectives of others impact you, but always remember that the time, attention, focus, and energy you give these opinions gives them their power. Take back YOUR opinion power and invest in loving yourself!
Lorene is a French observer and learner of life. She’s been working as a salesperson and a marketing assistant for four years to learn the ropes of the business world. She used to be a sports journalist while doing her Master’s degree and she loves writing and telling stories about great people too much not to go back to her first love soon. She lives in the French Alps, and loves to try to solve the world’s problems while having a great meal with her loved ones. She is passionate about foreign languages, self-development books, American TV shows, and people. Oh, and she’s a total nerd of Academic studies (when she’ll win the lottery, she’ll go to Harvard).