The word “opinion” has been in my vocabulary since I was in high school. I understood it to mean what I or someone thought about something or someone. Wikipedia defines opinion as a subjective belief, and is the result of emotion or interpretation of facts. I never thought too much about people’s opinions until I realized that I was getting lost in them. What that means is I was starting to believe people’s opinions about me, my actions, and my decisions in life and was losing sight of who I am and my strengths. The part of the definition of opinion I was glossing over was its subjectivity, which is a significant part of the word! When subjectivity is involved, there is room for judgment, emotions, misinterpretation, and someone’s projection of their own insecurities, which independently or put together, can hinder personal growth opportunities. When I am “lost” in the opinions of others, I believe what others have to say and do not have a stable and sound foundation to base it against. For example, if someone tells me I am an unloving person, and I believe it, I may feel bad about myself and either try to prove that I am indeed loving or fulfill their opinion by becoming unloving. Alternatively, if I know I am loving and someone thinks I am unloving, I can revisit my stable and sound foundation (my support network, God’s truth, and my truth), and respond with strength and self-knowledge and accept that opinion as it is and give it no value or power. This growth opportunity (surprisingly) has been a challenge for me because I have to continually choose which opinions I want to listen to and believe: opinions from individuals who know me and want what’s best for me (my support network) or from individuals who don’t truly know me and are not looking to promote my growth. This is still a work in progress for me and I hope to build my stable and sound foundation each day by continually checking in with myself and letting my support network and God envelop me in love and truth.
Is this a challenge for you too? How do you go about responding to the opinions of others? Why do we care about some people’s opinions over others?