Living for Their Opinions
Girl, I have a very serious question for you…Are you living your life based on someone else’s opinion?
Sit back, close your eyes, and take a second to actually think about this. Think about where you live, what you drive, who you are dating or married to, how you wear your hair, how you dress, where you send your kids to school, how you parent, how you speak, what you don’t say, how you do/do not pursue your dreams…Really, take a minute to sit back and think of all the things that you would dream for your life if you weren’t living to please ANYONE else on this planet.
Is the same as what you are doing/pursuing/being now? Is it really?
If it is, then that’s amazing!!! You, my friend, are living your life as it should be lived, as YOUR own.
If you aren’t living that way, and you are, let’s say…
- keeping your hair long because someone somewhere said women are more beautiful with longer hair, then you are living for someone else.
- If you are killing yourself in the gym because some jerk face said you would be ‘better’ if you were just a few pounds lighter, then you are living for someone else.
- If you are staying at home with your kids because your mother-in-law thinks that working moms are selfish, then you are living for someone else.
- If you are a working mom for no other reason than someone said stay-at-home moms are lazy, then you are living for someone else. (Just to clarify, I truly think being a stay-at-home mom is the farthest thing from lazy I could think of!…But some people say stupid things like this because they are miserable)
Moms are typically great people pleasers…women in general are. You don’t have to be a mom to know that our society raises us to believe our worth is in how we serve other people. How we please other people. How we live up to other’s opinions…
I fell prey to this in the past and, at times, still struggle with it. I was always trying to be the best. The best daughter, sister, student, friend, athlete, worker, girlfriend, etc. And even though I struggled, I didn’t reach out or ask for help, because Lord help me if someone actually thought I couldn’t do it on my own! I was terrified that others would think less of me. But even though I was worried, there were still sparks of defiance and ‘who cares what they think’, that flared every now and again. And let me tell you, those moments still hold strong in this little brain of mine because that is when I felt free, when I felt most myself.
And slowly over time, I became better at sitting in that feeling of being me, and not putting so much stock into what others thought.
If you know me, you know I have 4 tattoos, well now actually 6…hello new tattoos!! Each of my tattoos has a very special meaning that sits close to my heart. 4 of the tattoos represent 4 traumas that I have experienced over the years. The two newest tattoos are a daily reminder that I am NOT my story. These tattoos are near and dear to me, I got them for no one else but me. If I were to live by the opinions of my parents, grandparents, or even my husband, I would NOT have any tattoos! None of them are fans of tattoos, and my husband makes that very clear on a regular basis. But you know what? I don’t care. They have not had to walk in my shoes, nor will they ever have to. I am the one walking this path and I am the one who lies down on my pillow every night with my worries/fears/anxieties/hopes/dreams. These tattoos are for me and me only. The end. Period. No one can change that for me. Not even my husband.
Let me give you something to think about. I heard this analogy not too long ago from Rachel Hollis, and I’m sure she got it from somewhere, so I can’t cite the original source. But it goes like this…
Imagine you are a glass vase. And you are being filled up with all the things that you need in this life; love, faith, health, vitality, positivity, gratitude, nourishment, etc. Now imagine that you tip yourself over ‘just a little bit’, to pour a little into your husband, then a little more into your kids, then a little more into your parents, your friends, your church, your kid’s school, and on and on and on.
What happens to the glass vase as it eventually falls over?
This is exactly what will happen to you. You cannot be the giver of all things all the time. You will burn out. And you are no good to anyone if you have nothing left inside of you to give. Let’s repeat that for good measure. You are no good to anyone if you have nothing left to give.
Now picture the glass vase being filled up with all of those wonderful things that God knows that we need. Imagine that we keep letting that vase fill up. What eventually happens?
And all of that will overflow onto those people and things around you that you care for! So not only will you be taken care of and full, you will better be able to overflow onto those you love.
And let me be clear, I don’t think over-giving to your kids, significant other, church, parents, etc make you any better of a woman in the eyes of God. He says that we can’t do anything to earn his love, nor can we do anything to lose it. He loves us simply because we exist. And if we want to make the most out of this gift that He has given us, then we better make sure we are taking care of ourselves.
We have to stop living our lives in fear of what someone else might think of us because guess what, IT DOES NOT MATTER! They do not lie down on their pillow every night carrying the burdens of YOUR life on THEIR shoulders. So why on earth would you give them permission to affect your life? Why? I have yet to hear of a good reason to give a rat’s behind what others think about you.
- ‘what if they think I’m a bad mom/wife/sister/friend/Christian/whatever?’
- ‘what if I don’t get the job?’
- ‘what if he breaks up with me?’
- ‘what if they make fun of me?’
- ‘what if they don’t invite me?’
GREAT question that is; ‘what if?’
So you tell me, what if? What if the WORST possible outcome is someone not liking you, not agreeing with your life decisions, not including you in their circle? You feel left out? You feel a little hurt? You don’t get the job (where you obviously don’t belong anyways)?
Is that it?
Because if that is it, then you need to buck up and look deep down inside of yourself and wonder why you need their approval in the first place. Again,
THEY DON’T LIVE YOUR LIFE, YOU DO!!!!
Now, I am not blind to the fact that there are extenuating circumstances with jobs, different situations, and making sure that you are following rules where it is pertinent to follow said rules. But outside of those circumstances, this argument falls flat. Being afraid of what someone else thinks of you is a waste of your breath. We are not guaranteed another sunrise or sunset and I would hate to see you waste those breaths on something that literally does not matter. You deserve more than that in this lifetime.
If you are feeling rejected or alone and need someone to reach out to, reach out to me! I struggle with this too at times and I don’t want anyone to think otherwise. But, as the years pass, I am learning more and more how to step onto my own path and ignore everyone else’s. I want you to blaze your own trail.
Because the view from your trail is bound to be much sweeter than the leftover views from someone else’s.