Hello! Good evening. Tonight I would like some clarity on how to keep my head on straight when other people disagree with me…. especially when I care about what they think. Today I had one such an exchange, and though I find that I could stand my own ground, I feel rather frustrated and out of sorts right now. How do I keep my poise and stand in my belief in the face of other people’s opinions?
Chris, this is a very good question. It is not always easy to sort through the opinions of others, especially when you are confused about them agreeing with you and them liking you. When it seems as if their approval or agreement is necessary for them to like, respect, and accept you, it can be easy to be confused over this matter.
That is a very excellent point. I have often been quite confused over this in my life! I definitely see a lot of progress in this area. In fact, the encounter today is actually evidence that I am stronger and more sure in my own choices, even when they are different than others. Yet you make a great point: perhaps I still somehow confuse people agreeing with me with people liking and respecting me. They are not the same thing!
Yes. To a child who is afraid of losing the love of a parent, for example, it can feel to them as if they have to pretend, to comply, to obey, or to be like their parents. Yet in sacrificing their own confident stand on their own, they imagine that they are weak, that they need someone else’s approval to be lovable, to be loving. Yet getting someone else’s approval and being lovable are very different things.
Yes, this makes total sense. I really get that. I can tell that I am sometimes still sorting this one out!
That is okay. In fact, it is normal. Most humans are very insecure… or at least, they have come to believe that they need other people’s approval or agreement to prove their worthiness or value. Yet do they? Do you?
Well, I’m assuming the answer is “no!” And what I really like about this is that you are declaring a huge distinction between whether people agree with me and whether they like me. It totally makes sense that the two aren’t the same thing! In fact, if you need people to agree with you in order to feel worthy or loved, you basically have imposed this terrible condition on it!
Yes, indeed. There are no worse conditions for a person than trying to make someone else like you if it requires you to ignore who you are.
Yes, it goes back to the highest betrayal post I wrote: betraying yourself in order to betray another is betrayal nonetheless. It is the highest betrayal!
Indeed. And so, this situation is helping you clarify what it is you really care most about. Do you care about being happy with yourself, about being happy with your choices? Or do you care about other people being happy with your choices, regardless of whether you are?
Well, the first can yield real happiness. The second one just causes misery. The problem with it is that it leaves you constantly vulnerable, trying to please this person and that person, and you just feel like a fricking tether ball being banged about. No fun!
Indeed it is no fun! It is not truthful, it is not authentic, and it is not satisfying. When you care more about being authentic, about being satisfied, and about liking your own choices… when you care more about liking yourself… you risk other people disagreeing. That is just how it is.
Wow, deep. And it makes so much sense. I definitely have heard this before, I have thought this before, yet you bringing it to me really helps. I didn’t realize how simple the issue was. Thank you!
Anytime, Chris 🙂