I’ve recently started therapy again and mentioned this very thing to my therapist last week. I told her about something very trying in my life and the opinions of others that have gone with it. I said that I had thought I was a confident person until this happened and I realized how much I cared about the opinions of others. It’s cost me a lot in the way of friendships and support, but I knew myself to be in the right.
I won’t lie. For what felt like an extremely long time I was not okay with this. I hated knowing so many people disliked me or thought the worst of me. I went over and over again in my head what I could do differently to alter their opinion. If I told them my side of the story, they would see reason. If I was just more open with them–let them see more of me and my struggles they would see that I must be in the right. If they knew the facts then they would have different opinions of me.
In the end, I said nothing. I learned to get very comfortable with being uncomfortable. I dreaded going out and meeting people who thought they knew everything going on. I spent less time on social media lest they continue to harass me there. It took months, but I grew accustomed to my own skin. I grew confident in myself and who I was without the approval of anyone else.
I had always been the smart one, or sweet, or caring, dutiful, responsible etc. All these other blanket adjectives from people who never took the time to really know me and any complexities I had. And for some reason, I hated the idea of letting them down or their opinion of me diminishing. These were people who barely talked to me or I to them and yet I allowed them so much power over my life!
Who am I now without their approval? Exactly who I have always been. Their approval or disapproval didn’t change me. I wasn’t less because they no longer liked me. Facts: I am enough. I love myself. I have others that love me. Everything else is an opinion and isn’t necessarily based in reality.
I share this to encourage others. I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with this. I suggest saying some healthy affirmations daily to replace the insecurity and negative self-talk in your head. Eventually, you will believe it. One day, you’ll find yourself believing in yourself without any words from outsiders. When that day comes, it’s a marvelous sense of peace and freedom. You are worthy of that. No matter what anyone else says. Make choices that you can look back on without regrets and that’s what matter in life–not the opinions of others.