Defining Who We Are Without Other People’s Opinions

We know how the saying goes. Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one. But that doesn’t mean it’s important or worthy for us to take into our realm of truth.

People are going to think whatever they want about us. They are going to make snap judgements about how we talk, dress, and behave. They are going to react to us that show us what they think of us. They see us through their own filter. But it’s not truth.

When you are single, you are shedding a layer of skin, a personality. When we as human beings are in a relationship, it is natural to chip away a little piece of ourselves to make room for the other person to fit. Over time, more and more can get chipped away to make space for the “we.” And then, suddenly, the relationship is over. And we shed the “we” and then we realize that there is a chunk missing and we don’t know what’s wrong or where it went. It went away with him, and you want that part of you back. Many people think that means they want the guy and the relationship back. That will make them whole again. And sometimes it feels good again, for a little while.

But that’s not the issue. The issue is that there is a part of you that is defined by “we” and not by me. When the relationship changes and you’re single, you have an opportunity. You get to decide  how to define yourself.

The people around us, our friends, family, romantic relationships, coworkers and boss all have an opinion about who they think we are. Sometimes they share their opinion with us. We need to look at this feedback as an opportunity.

Danielle LaPorte wrote The Fire Starter sessions and in one section it encourages you to seek the opinion of a dear friend that will be completely honest with you. I was afraid to ask for someone else’s opinion of me. I think we all are, we’re afraid that they will have harsh things to say about us that they’ve been holding in and just waiting for an opportunity to let us have it.

I learned the exercise is actually twofold. The first is getting the feedback from someone you love and trust. The second is realizing that our friends really do love us and will never tell us what we can’t handle. The feedback I got was that I am too hard on myself! All that anxiety that there are awful things I’m doing and I am told that I am too rough on myself.

But getting that feedback from my friend gave me the opportunity to hear something from someone I cared about and then I could decide what I believe out of what was said. Because I’m the one that has to deal with it, not her. She said her piece and that was that. There wasn’t anything for her to deal with, it’s on my plate.

You can hear feedback. You can be told anything, but you can decide what you want to take in and take as truth. I was told this week that I was too smart and that I didn’t know enough, all in one conversation. I don’t agree with either. He can say that to my face, but it doesn’t have to come inside. I don’t have to accept it. It’s an opinion from an asshole, actually!

When you are single, you can decide who you are. Who do you want to be? How do you want to show up in this world? No one else gets the power to define who you are. And don’t give that power to someone else that has an opinion. Just because they have an opinion doesn’t mean they have any power over you.

No one can take your power unless you give it to them. So don’t give it to them. Keep your power. Make yourself who you want to be. Who cares what anyone else thinks? There’s a saying that goes “What you think of me isn’t any of my business.” I agree.


15 thoughts on “Defining Who We Are Without Other People’s Opinions

  1. This strikes a bell personally. And yet I am still thrilled with its message. Time to take it and the message and shout it from the tops of mountains. Everyone should hear, I think.

    Thank you for this!!!

  2. I just wrote a post on saying whatever you’re thinking, but I’m liking this spin too. We should speak our minds, but also be accepting that people aren’t going to take our opinions in all the time. It’s humbling really.

  3. throughout my life I have been haunted by the way other people make wrong judgements upon my personality and character. even my own family have built up conclusions about what it is i am actually doing in my life. not having a close enough relationship within my family has been the major cause for these accusations.i have always been the forman in my life yet not being ignorant enough to be able to listen to what you don’t want to hear. it is a problem that causes heartache and relentless hurt because you never get to hear a compliment only just to hear all the so called bad things that i have supposedly committed. i have always tried to be a good person and to do give good turns in life for people and my family but sometimes when you receive negative thoughts back after commiting yourself to help others then it slowly dawns on you that the major amount of people you have given time and care to are the ones who let you down, keep on blogging single girl and tell the world how you feel. best of luck.x.x.

  4. Amen !!! I totally agree that people judge too quickly… and being in relationships AND being single has both hurt me, made me cry, made me laugh, and taught me amazing life lessons I can also pass on. This was a well written post and I pray that you find your happiness, and ignore the ones who pass judgement because you know what? At the end of each day, they don’t pay your bills, they don’t define who you are, and it’s YOU you have to face in the mirror daily… not them… so Let Go and let God…Good luck and many blessings for you.

  5. Pingback: Defining Who We Are Without Other People’s Opinions | 6 Months Man-Free Challenge

  6. hi again singlegirl, if there was a better bunch of words stacked together than the poem the ahead then I would certainly post it on here for you to read. as it happens I cant find or think of a more very fitting stream of writing that fits your above blog more than this.. the author of this poem is Rudyard kipling who also was the author of the one and only the jungle book and this was written by him to…….
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    By Rudyard Kipling

    (‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

    If you can keep your head when all about you

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;

    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;

    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

    And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,

    And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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