When creating a life we love we must consider the people, places and things we encounter most. We often read about removing toxic people from our lives or learning to focus on the positive of those we can’t exactly remove for one reason or another, (coworker, family member). One thing I have found in my research, reading and just life experience in general is we often tend to adopt the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of those we hang around the most, sometimes without even realizing it. I have discussed the influence of people in our lives a few times before, but today I want to get a bit more specific and discuss opinions and how to determine which ones matter and which ones don’t and why.
I am a habit and routine junky. I am constantly reading books on how to become more efficient and productive to get the most out of my day. I am also an observer, I like to watch people and their behaviors to discover their routines and habits. Listening and observing has taught me a lot. As I have progressed through my education I have become more aware of why I choose to validate some opinions more than others and those reasons are not always good. As a young woman I had to learn that just because someone is your boss and you value their assessment of your work ethic and abilities does not mean you must value their opinions in all areas of life. Just because someone is older does not mean they are wiser and know more than you do, and just because someone is successful in one area doesn’t mean they are in all areas. Sometimes I struggle to separate my respect for a person in one area of life and my total disagreement in another area. In these relationships I have learned to create boundaries so that I could still love and appreciate what they brought to the table in a positive aspect and not let the other get under my skin. This ability can come with maturity but it still takes practice no matter your age.
Be a leader, not a follower is a phrase I have often stated to my daughter. Don’t be afraid to be different and don’t conform to the majority if your gut is telling you something isn’t right. Basically, learn to think for yourself, which is one of the most important things for a teen and young adult to learn in this world (or anyone for that matter). If you don’t understand something then don’t just take another persons opinion as gospel, research that shit yourself and form your own opinion. Also, you must always consider the source. Then ask yourself, is this person really someone whose opinion matters in this particular situation?
At this point in life I realize whose opinions mean the most to me and it is a pretty small circle. I am respectful enough to listen to others, but the value I assign to it varies. Watching how others live their lives helps me determine if this is a person whose opinion I should value and to what extent. Being aware and setting boundaries can be life changing and most of all, freeing. When you stop letting everyone’s opinion matter then you are free to be yourself without the stress of worrying what others think. Ask yourself what value each relationship brings to the table for you and understand that each one does not have to be all-encompassing. Boundaries and balance are such great qualities to learn when it comes to any relationship. So next time you find yourself becoming frustrated by someone voicing their opinion on a particular subject ask yourself why? If it’s an individual that you truly admire and their opinion is important then you can take it a little deeper and explore the why. If this individual is voicing an opinion and they have no real importance in the big scheme of things in your life, then why let it bother you? Because at the end of the day I will quote what my old school, military Dad has always said: “honey, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one”. So basically, its up to each of us to determine which ones really matter to us and why.
With love, health, happiness, and a little humor from Dad,