In Others’ Words: Living in Others’ Opinions

Do you believe in yourself?

Or do you believe in what other say about you? Do you, as author L. M. Montgomery says, “live in other people’s opinions”?

The thing about others’ opinions? You can get caught in a vortex of competing judgements, conflicting assessments, erroneous presumptions. And then who gets to decide which point of view about you is correct? And how do you decide which opinion to live up to?

So then the question comes back to whether you believe in yourself … and, if you do, what do you believe about yourself? What is the basis of you beliefs?

Opinions come and go. They can be verbal sticks and stones that batter our self esteem or little gold stars that stick for awhile but ultimately fall off, leaving us looking for another word of affirmation. At some point, what we believe in ourselves has to be enough to hold us steady, no matter what others say about us.

In Others’ Words: What do you believe about yourself — what truth holds you steady, no matter the opinions of others? 

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. November 14, 2017, 12:11 am   /  Reply

    Actually, I don’t believe in myself. I’ve reached the wall, beyond which “I” has no individual meaning save my existence within the heart of the Godhead. (Ever think you’d hear that bit of anachronism again?)

    This is all, now, a transcendental web for me; what others think, good or righteously ill, is a reflection of the Almighty, informing and sometimes correcting my actions.

    I was ‘me’, but now, like Tennyson’s Ulysses, I am a part of all that I have met, and the loneliness of individuality no longer holds lease upon my soul.

    I am a drop in a vast ocean, and I look forward to the view from the crest of the next wave.

    • November 14, 2017, 6:18 am   /  Reply

      Andrew: You have a view — I don’t know that I’d call it an advantage — that most of us don’t. And yes, it has cleared your vision of others’ opinions and of what you used to think was important. You have your values firmly in place.
      But I do think you know yourself and who you are and, in that sense, as L.M. Montgomery said, you “believe in yourself.”

  2. November 14, 2017, 6:09 am   /  Reply

    I used to trust others’ oinions too much but have grown in trusting myself as well as what Jesus says about me.

    • November 14, 2017, 6:19 am   /  Reply

      Dee: I think there’s a true beauty in … a true freedom in being able to trust ourselves. And I also think that comes from knowing who we are in God.

  3. November 14, 2017, 9:34 am   /  Reply

    Beth, wow this quote and post speak to the wound I walked around with for so many years. I believe the only way the opinions of others lose their power over us is by us coming to understand our identities in God. When we understand that He defines us as His beloved child (God’s girl, as I like to say) and we embrace that? That’s when others’ opinions stop being important.

    • November 14, 2017, 10:34 am   /  Reply

      Jeanne: I so agree with you. Who I am is now steeped in Whose I am … and that gives me the freedom to believe in myself.

  4. November 14, 2017, 10:02 am   /  Reply

    As a seventh grader I had an art teacher tell me after I’d made a mess on the potter’s wheel that I’d never be a potter. I believed her and never even tried it until I was in my late fifties. She was wrong. While not a great potter, I can make pretty things.

    As to whether I listen to what others say about me, it depends on who’s doing the saying. 🙂 If it’s someone I trust or an impression from God, I listen. Otherwise it’s like water off a duck’s back.

    • November 14, 2017, 11:08 am   /  Reply

      Pat: You make two good points:
      1. The tremendous influence (for better or worse) that teachers have on us.
      2. The importance of choosing wisely whose opinions we trust.

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