“Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
In life, we often turn to others for their support of our ideas. Having people with whom we can share our ideas, hopes, and dreams—people we love, trust, respect, and admire—can be enormously helpful in our decision-making process. Likewise, when we have certain beliefs or opinions, sharing them with others who are open and receptive can feel very validating. But not everyone will be on board, of course, and that can sometimes feel discouraging.
What if I told you that, when we can be strong in our opinions and ideas while being open and receptive to the views of others, the world will change? This would be a true movement for peace. When we are rigid with our beliefs, we close down communication, learning, and growth. We are missing out on the opportunity to possibly see things in a new light, clarify our ideas even further, and find that common ground with which we can move forward together.
This is all great . . . But what happens when someone’s opinion gets us down (even if we are trying to be open and receptive), and we start questioning ourselves? What was I thinking? How can they think that way? What happens if our thoughts are met with such resistance that we start to feel uncertain or perhaps even silly for thinking a certain way or wanting to do something? We have all experienced this in some capacity and have felt “the wind knocked out of our sails.” Right? So, what can we do? How do we keep our passion alive in the face of negativity?
- Love, trust, respect, and admire yourself. You have to love yourself first—who better to turn to for advice than your own intuition, your own heart? I say in my TEDx Talk, “We can learn to trust ourselves completely.” We can do this by sitting with ourselves in silence, listening to our inner voice—the whisperings of our hearts. So, each morning as you connect within, little by little, you will learn to “trust yourself completely.” For guidance on this sitting practice, click here: Waking Up.
- Bring to mind one of don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements: “Don’t take anything personally.” The Four Agreements is one of my favorite books. It truly changed my way of relating to myself and others. When a differing opinion or idea is expressed to you in a less-than-compassionate tone, take a breath and say, “This person is likely responding to me from his or her own inner conditioning, which has absolutely nothing to do with me or my thoughts.” That’s it. It’s not easy, but with practice, you will start to learn this truth: We are all walking in our own shoes, and how we respond and what we perceive are completely unique to our own conditioned behaviors. Consider reading The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. His book is on the reading list for The Practice.
- Take what you can use; discard the rest. Sometimes even when others’ opinions are expressed with kindness, we may feel out of sorts and uncertain after hearing them. This is the time to reflect on what that person is saying. You do not have to blindly follow someone’s advice or even use all of it. See if any parts of their advice and/or opinion might actually be helpful to you, and let go of anything that does not feel right. If things are not a resounding yes, then they are a no—at least in the moment.
- Be open to taking chances. Elbert Hubbard said, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” As you know, doing nothing would be the complete opposite of taking a chance! What sort of chance do I mean here? The chance to express your authenticity in the world. When you act upon your ideas and beliefs, they help shape your life. But if you put too much stock in what other people say, you may find yourself avoiding risks altogether. Taking chances and welcoming new opportunities are what helps us grow into our magnificence. It doesn’t matter at all what other people say when we are living our truth.
- Remember, it is your life. Here is one more piece of wise guidance that can help get us back on course when we start to feel swayed by someone else’s opinion even though we know deeply that it is not true to us: “There is just one life for each of us: our own,” said Euripides, and this is essential to remember! When it comes to living life, we can only live our own, and doing it the best way we know how can only come from being connected within—loving ourselves completely and listening to our inner source of power and knowing.