Today is my third, in a list of four posts, of things that don’t define you.
If you are like most people, you may often feel the pressures of conforming to the standards of an ever changing world. While obvious trends, such as beauty and fashion, are always evolving, the standards of success are as well. In light of these trends, here are a few things that don’t have to define you.
3.) Other People’s Opinions Don’t Define You
We have all had the pleasure of experiencing the superfluous opinion of a friend, family member or coworker. These, often unrequested opinions, typically effect us more than we would like to admit. Sure we may laugh or attempt to shrug off negativite opinions but we often internalize them more than we realize. Or maybe you have found yourself at the opposite end of the spectrum. Perhaps opinions that validate you are actually your downfall. You find that you constantly need to be reassured and affirmed by others as you navigate life. In any case, the truth is that people’s opinions can not define you. Additionally, you must allow yourself the freedom of not accepting them as your own.
There is a concept that one of my favorite scholars uses. She often refers to the “house” that she lives in. This “house” is not literal but rather, represents everything she is as a person. Her beliefs, passions, and emotions, are all this “house”. I enjoy this illustration for two reasons. The first, is that it conveys a message that she is unafraid to be herself. She embraces herself, so completely, that she is proud to call who she is, home.
The second, is the inference that there are other possible, “houses” that differ from our own. She posits that people navigate life differently. Additionally , she recognizes that we are not obligated to accept each others home as our own, because, well, we are all different, and that is okay.
This notion that we are allowed to be ourselves , to be different, and to be happy is so freeing. Too often, we forfeit the right to be ourselves, because we are dependent on the opinions of others. We are afraid to be uncool, afraid to stand out, to be different. The truth is that there will always be opinions and suggestions on how you “should” be but these opinions do not have to define you. Ask yourself, who am I meant to be? Then consider, will I allow myself to live in my own “home”? Or will I permit others to build this home for me.
Featured image by Mario Purisic