By Dimkatso Lukhele
Have you ever noticed how most of us tend to care about people’s opinions about our lives? How we often don’t follow our dreams because we are afraid of what they might say? I have only been living for 26 years and growing up I have realised that ultimately it comes down to us looking for approval and in some cases making sure we don’t receive disapproval from others.
The need for approval has been conditioned in us from the day we were born. We were raised in a society where approval from others gives us a sense of higher self-esteem. We’re convinced that their acknowledgment matters to our self worth and how deeply we value ourselves.
When I faced the difficult decision to resign from my job and start my own company, I thought, “If I leave, what will they say?” I didn’t realise just how much I cared about people’s opinion of me. After being on my own, learning to deal with both positive and negative feedback from those around me, I soon realised what I needed to do.
“Adopt a ‘So What’ attitude”. The moment I realised the only solution was to do what was right for me, no matter the outcome, was when I was able to let go of caring about what other people thought and made my decisions free and clear of other people’s opinions. Before long, I could effortlessly and powerfully move forward on my own terms.
So what? Yes. So what if someone thinks my dreams are too small to their liking? So what if someone thinks I’m not capable of being a successful female entrepreneur? So what if someone thinks I’m not capable and lack skills to run a profitable company? How is that any of my business?
Being the grown woman that I am today, I have learnt that the older I get, the more I want to ignore things that don’t benefit my life. I have learnt that if you really want to live a happy and successful life, learn to mind your own business. There are people in your life that will always have your best interest at heart, so it is important to value those opinions.
However, often times there are people in your life or around you that may seem to be on your side, but when push comes to shove, they will judge you harder than your worst critic. These people are detrimental and will relish in your shortcomings while continuously pointing them out every chance they have.
Have you ever come up with an idea that you thought was amazing?You said to yourself, “No one else has ever thought of this” and you’re going to make millions on it, right? You tell your partner, best friend, boss and they say, “That’s an awful idea! No one will ever buy that.”
Wham! You’ve been stopped cold before you ever had the chance to get your idea off the ground. What happened to the dream? It died on the spot. Someone else’s opinion meant more to you than your dream. You placed a higher value on their opinion than your amazing idea.
Imagine if the owners of Facebook, Twitter and Google gave up the first time someone told them “no” or said, “no one will ever spend that much time connecting with friends on a computer!”
The obsession to the opinion of others affects areas of your life you may not even be aware of. That is why the ‘So What’ attitude shouldn’t only be used for strangers who judge you, or colleagues who treat you badly. Adopt this attitude into your everyday life.
At some point in my life, I would get angry even when someone close to me said that I’ve gained weight or looked troubled.
Learn to practice the ‘So What’ attitude every time you feel as though you’re catching feelings or getting emotional because of someone else’s opinion of you, whether big or small.
Wrapping up, always remember that the best way to tackle nosy people is to ignore them and to let them say what they say and keep moving on with your life. This will hopefully set them right. Try not to lose your temper over such people, as some do it unknowingly and some do it knowingly to irritate you.
It is unfortunately the way of life, you will come across many people like this. It is better to keep your cool and to respond to those whom you feel are important to you so that they may talk sense to you and about you.
Even if the entire world says you can’t, if you decide you can and take consistent action, then you will succeed. Follow your dreams!