I realized that my last MyTake has been a bit depressing and pessimistic so I did a bit of self-reflection and returned with something a bit more empowering 💪 and inspirational this time. Hopefully people will respond better to my post this time 🙂
I’ll kick this off with a Disclaimer: It’s beneficial to have opinions from a few people you can trust to tell you if you’re doing something bat-crap crazy, or to encourage you to take a risk. The occasional punch in the face by reality is good for us. Thankfully, I have friends who will always tell me, if I’m not thinking clearly.
But what about other people’s opinions? What about those who spew hate and venom your direction for no reason? Or what about people you go to school with, work with, or otherwise have to tolerate because you encounter them frequently?
For a good chunk of my life, I valued the opinions of others too much.
I wasn’t the most confident kid. Like many others I was made fun and bullied, relentlessly. I was laughed at for my looks. I was teased because I could beat all of the boys in any physical activity (at least until puberty) and I was a good student. I wasn’t pretty enough. I acted like a boy. My idea of a good time when I was 13 was seeing how high I could launch into the air from a homemade ramp with a pair of roller blades or a bike. This was not “normal” girl behavior, and other kids let me know it.
My analysis to these events was the same: do something different from everyone else and you’ll be berated. Better to fit in.
Unfortunately, I allowed a lot of opportunities to pass me by, simply because I cared too much about what other people would think or say. I would often not be true to myself, or do the things that would make me happy, out of fear of how other people might react. I stopped doing those “things that aren’t normal for a girl” and conformed to the standards. I started to dress different. Act different. I also changed my hair and started wearing makeup (that I hated and still do).
Fast forward a bit. I’m now 20 and still not, (or just stop caring, because I don't really believe in myself..) not completely immune to hatred. Many people still share their negative opinions about me occasionally, and my body&looks. "You're skinny-fat." "You're too skinny". "You should join a gym; you have a lot of body fat". "You should dress better.." "Be more feminine". "Big nose". "Not pretty enough." "Too masculine". "Homely"
So I started frequenting online forums and asking people about their opinion on my looks, they were still telling that I'm ugly, that I need plastic surgery that... that... My depression became worse, I withdrew into myself and cut all contact with the friends I had until one day: I just STOPPED caring.
Now more than ever, thanks to the internet and social media, people have no problem being jerks and letting their opinions fly. The pool of negativity has grown larger, and deeper. It’s time to stop caring about what other people think …
1. The negative comments someone makes is about them, and not you.
The people who go out of their way to make hateful comments, usually under an alias, must have a pretty crappy life. Why would someone who is happy or building a worthwhile life take the time to do nothing more than be hateful?
It’s terribly sad that some people have nothing better to do with their time then try to tear others down.
Now when I receive unconstructive, pure hateful comments, in real life or online I view the commenter differently than I used to. I no longer get upset, and I certainly don’t take their unwelcome opinion to heart. I take pity on whoever is choosing to spend their limited time on this earth flinging bile toward people they don’t even know.
2. This is your one life. There are no do-overs.
All of our stories will end the same. Death is inevitable. As uncomfortable as it may be to acknowledge the fact that we will all die, it can also be liberating.
When you can put things into perspective and realize that we only get one life, it makes it easier to stop caring so much about what other people think and be true to yourself.
3. Remove sources of negativity, immediately.
Purge your life of negative, toxic people and resources. If your classmates have a knack for starting drama, avoid them. If your circle of friends have a tendency to tear you down, then separate yourself and look elsewhere.
If you have a public life on the internet or have trouble with cyber bullying and can’t (yet) laugh off the terrible comments people say about you, for the love of everything stop reading the comments or remove yourself from the situation! You can’t stop people from being hateful, but you can choose to ignore them and do something meaningful with your time instead.
I once made the mistake of reading comments about me on a forum, and I was utterly shocked by some of the comments. I can easily shrug off 99% of the cruel, ridiculous comments people make, but I’m not bullet proof. The fool-proof solution is to simply avoid it all together.
Avoid people and resources (and social media, if necessary) that are negative.
4. Trust a few opinions, but forget the rest.
Have a few close people you can confide in; people who you know have your best interest at heart.
Personally, I can count on one hand the number of people’s opinions in my life that have an affect on me.
And what about other people, or total strangers who feel the need to tell me what they think about me, my body, and my life? Pffft. They don’t matter.
5. Some people are going to dislike you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Don’t waste your time trying to get everyone to like you, because it’s impossible.
Instead of worrying about who doesn’t like you, focus on being a better person for those who do.
Spend your time and energy living an awesome life and using your talents, gifts, and abilities to make the world and people around you better.
To sum up: Just keep doing you.
Those that don't like you or make nasty comments or bully you can just...