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Just a thought-Thank you for your opinion PDF Print E-mail
Monday, December 05, 2011 12:06 PM

Why do we care so much about what other people think? Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t care at all; who isn’t plagued by worries, lying awake at night because you heard so-and-so said something bad about you. And you don’t even like so-and-so. But maybe you’re more like me, prone to care about the opinion of others as much as you wish you could change that about yourself sometimes. So — why do we care?

It  really  doesn’t  make  sense  if  you  think about it. It’s not like we live for other people or make it our life’s goal to please them — especially when they’re virtually strangers — yet I always find myself upset when I hear something bad was said about me, usually based upon an opinion I’d expressed earlier, maybe in a newspaper column or elsewhere.

Will I change my preconceived opinion to simply make this person like me? No. Will I apologize to this person because they disagree with me and beg him or her to please agree with me because I can’t sleep at night otherwise? No. So, why does it matter when someone does openly convey their disapproval or even disgust with some aspect of who I am? Should this person matter? No.

I think it goes back to psychology and an innate human desire to be accepted. We all want that. We all want to feel love and acceptance and to know that we fit in, that we belong somewhere. For someone to alert us, challenges and threatens our basic assumption that there is a core group who will stay with us no matter what, sending us into a panic once we learn that the unwavering acceptance may not always be there.

So, when I hear through the grapevine that a specific person is outraged at an opinion I unveiled, disappointed in me at a belief I hold dear, or permanently disillusioned by me due to a conviction I will never let go of, I really shouldn’t take it personally. None of us should. Differences are what makes the world go ‘round, and it would be very boring if we all believed the same thing, like that the Chicago Bears are the best team ever. (They are, though. My husband says so.)

The bottom line is, we shouldn’t waste so much time and energy caring and worrying about what other people think — it’s toxic and draining, especially when we don’t even like or respect these people. I’ve been trying to work on this for a while because I am prone to caring a lot what other people think. But do I think these same people I’m concerned with are wasting a precious second of their back-stabbing time caring what I think of them? No. I am comforted with the knowledge that they lead such sad, lonely lives that my boring existence is all they have to talk about. I should really feel sorry for them.

My primary coping mechanism, however, has sort of become my new mantra, and I read it whenever I’m feeling down about this. It is from the mouth of Dr. Seuss, someone who attracted the scrutiny of more than enough people due to his political beliefs of his time.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
It couldn’t be more true. I think I need to get that tattooed on myself somewhere to make sure I see it every day. Maybe my forehead.

Can you imagine?

Of course, that would really get people talking.


Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:09 PM

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