WHY CARE ABOUT THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS?
What stops unhappy people from leaving a marriage or a lover? What prevents people who are unhappy at work from making a switch? Could they be worried about what other people might think?
Ultimately it comes down to people looking for approval, and in some cases making sure they don't receive disapproval. A need for approval is conditioned in us from the day we are born. Approval from others gives us a sense of higher self-esteem. We are convinced that recognition contributes to our self worth––how deeply we value ourselves.
A client wrote to me, (with permission to republish) about his decision to reclaim his power, no matter what.
‘When I faced the difficult decision to leave my family business I wondered, "If I leave, who will I be?" My adult self-image had been fostered and developed in the business. I worried what my wife would think if our income suddenly disappeared. Could I no longer sufficiently provide for our family? I worried what my friends would think if I had to sell our vacation home. And yet, with all of those questions, it wasn't until I asked myself one very important question: "Why should I stay in a situation that makes me miserable?" I realized I had to do what was right, no matter the outcome. I easily and powerfully moved forward on my own terms.’
There are two types of decision makers. The first are internal decision makers. They self-analyze every step, every option, every possible outcome and never talk it through with others. That doesn't mean they don't care about the opinions of others. In fact, my experience is quite the opposite. They've been burned so many times that they make decisions without discussing them, thereby avoiding rejection.
Then there are external decision makers. They shop the opinions of others. They ask for their approval: How about this idea? Am I right? Is this dress appropriate, do I look good in it? They think of themselves as team players (quite valued in Tribal culture). They get everyone involved in the process and can't move forward without validation from others. Leaving the tribe can be painful and close to impossible.
Have you ever come up with an idea that you thought was brilliant? "Nobody ever thought of this,” you tell yourself. You tell your spouse, best friend, and they say, "That's a terrible idea! Who will ever buy that?" Wham! You are stopped cold. The dream died on the table. Someone’s opinion meant more than your dream. You placed a higher value on their opinion than your brilliant idea. Imagine if the founders of Apple, Facebook and Google gave up the first time someone told them "no" or asked, “Who’s going to spend that much time connecting with friends on a computer!" Think Amazon...delivery by drone? Self driving Cars? Telemedicine?
Being addicted to the opinion of others affects areas of your life you may not even be aware of. For example, your decision to live in a particular neighborhood, drive a certain car, send your kid to private school, wear designer labels, vacations you go on or clubs you belong to are tied to what someone else thinks. Addiction to what other people think has another significant impact; it represses us, which in turn keeps us in a sort of prison, afraid of the consequences of pursuing the life we really want. It’s easier to stay miserable so everyone else in the status quo will be fine.
Since we are the stories we tell ourselves, they impact the way we behave. When we let go of an old story we let go of self-imposed conversations and traps that keep us stuck. We become more confident, more expressive and more likely to make decisions to move our life forward. We are no longer victims of a story that held us back. Be aware the Tribe does not go away easily, they will have more stories of 'why not.'
Is this an addiction? Trade in your sports car for a sedan. Stop going to the gym, getting Botox injections, coloring your hair. Go home and tell your spouse you aren't happy. The only way to have complete freedom is not to care about the outcome. It takes practice and courage to not place importance on someone else's opinion. Remember, an opinion is not fact. It may not even be the truth. It might be wrong. It is merely someone else's view about an issue that is based solely on personal judgment and therefore should not have a major impact on your choices.
You are the one who must become brave, strike out on your own. No matter the outcome. You know in your heart of hearts what you must do. It's time to stop the pain of staying small and embrace the adventure. Become the big, bold beautiful YOU.
Let me know what you think...Doc