Other People’s Opinions

Eye behind camera lens chess

Di @ pensitivity101 continues her Saturday Swapit series by sharing how other people’s opinions (OPO) have affected her health journey. It’s really easy to say “just don’t let other people’s opinions affect you!” And we have heard this advice in various forms regarding a variety of topics, haven’t we? What isn’t easy is to obtain the magic wand that obliterates decades of training. For we are conditioned from day one to worry about OPO ~ from our parents to our teachers to our peer group to our employers to our romantic prospects, we are constantly aware of the gazes and judgments of others. It’s not so easy to turn that off or to compartmentalize the OPO we’re exposed to by ignoring some of them while giving others due consideration.

For example, how do you teach a 10 year old to care about how she is viewed by her parents and teachers, wanting to please them with good grades, a clean room, and a kind demeanor, while at the same time showing her how to become immune to their opinions regarding her looks, fashion sense, choice of friends, political/religious convictions, etc.? How do you as an adult separate caring what your boss and clients think of your job performance from what your family thinks of your choice of career? Or your best friend’s opinion of a film from her thoughts about your new boyfriend? Do we care or not care what others think of our writing? There’s a lot of debate on that, from writing whatever the heck you please to trying to be sensitive to other people’s “triggers” to actually wanting to make sales whatever it takes. Where’s that magic wand now?

Here’s the point where someone, probably a man, jumps in to say “hey I never gave a crap what anyone thought about anything!” First, that is likely untrue and they have jettisoned the memories of when they did actually care. Second, if it is true, they’re likely a psychopath, so their view can be disregarded. Third, this statement is simply unhelpful, as most of us do care about OPO and need a way to put that caring in a healthy perspective. We don’t want to toss it all out. We want to care about OPO when they come from a good place, such as when a family member is legitimately concerned for our well-being. But we also strive to ignore judgments when they are hurtful and serve no purpose. It’s tough to walk that fine line!

To bring this back to Di’s focus on health and weight, I have found one thing to be more helpful than anything else, and I’m sure you can guess what that is. When I deleted all my dating site profiles, I experienced a profound sense of relief because I was free from worry about what random men thought about my looks, weight, lifestyle, job, hobbies, etc. Poof! That was my magic wand and to this day I am reaping the benefits. I can’t even begin to describe the anxiety I experienced when some jerk messaged me that my glasses were ugly or I was the “wrong” political party or I should smile more or whatever stupid, hurtful thing they said to “engage.” I remember freaking out about meeting casually at the beach because while I may have looked nice in jeans or my office attire, the idea of wearing a swimsuit or even shorts in front of any of these men was incredibly stressful. It didn’t matter that they were ordinary looking middle aged men; you know they all wanted a woman to look like a cam chick and judged my 50-something appearance accordingly. Oh, yeah… delete your Instagram and TikTok also unless you want to find yourself comparing your body to a 20 year old’s who spends 8 hours a day in the gym.

I don’t have a lot of other advice, but if you want to immediately separate yourself from unnecessary OPO (including your own harsh and unrealistic comparisons to photoshopped celebs), these two pieces are solid: exit all dating sites and get off the image/video apps.

Finally, Di asks us to list 5 ways we use onions and mine are: sliced raw on a veggie sandwich with cheese, tomato, cucumber, and avocado; cut in quarters to be brushed with oil and roasted in the oven; stir-fried with garlic and mushrooms as a side dish or mixed in tomato sauce; sautéed for use as a pizza topping; and chopped raw to be one of the layers of 7-layer dip (along with refried beans, chopped tomato, sliced black olives, guacamole, shredded cheese, and sour cream). Yum!

©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

18 responses to “Other People’s Opinions

  1. Great post Paula and I so agree about the dating sites and image video apps. I tried the former, but not the latter. Thanks for joining in. I appreciate it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve never been on any dating sites and wouldn’t want to. I figure I’ve had my chance at love, a fairly happy marriage of almost fifty years and now that I have scars from surgeries, confined to a wheelchair and choose not to dye my hair, what you get is what you get. Even young and pretty I never thought so or wanted my photo taken. My grandkids have helped me get over some of this. Unconditional love can do that☺️

    Sent from my iPhone


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  3. I think that “from a good place” is key.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh how I miss onions! Nowadays, onions, in any form, are a fast ticket for a ride on the pain train.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hearing or overhearing OPO can be devastating. Our skin is only so thick.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Of course I care what other people think of my writing. Or I would, if anybody had an opinion. But in some fundamental way my blog posts are no different than a ‘tween posting selfies–just a little more . . . evolved? Debatable. But, all that said, writing is still writing, even if we hope that someone, somewhere, will read what we wrote.
    As far as OPO, as someone said on some TV show, thousands of years of evolution made us this way, and we’re never going to change it. With kids, I think all you can do is offer a support system and if you’re lucky, between you, chocolate ice cream, and their friends and teachers and other significant people, they’ll grow up OK. There is no elegant solution.

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  7. After years of realizing that my now ex best friend never knew me, and my Dads constant telling “my new age stuff” hasn’t saved me (whatever that means). I take people’s opinions of myself with a grain of salt. Depending on whose giving me their opinion, will depend on whether or not I care =D If Stephen King told me he thought my blog was crap, that would hurt, lol. But if he didn’t give me any constructive criticism, after a while I’d be like *shrugs shoulders* lol

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  8. Caring about OPO is hardwired by evolution because we’re social animals – we need each other to survive so we have to care about OPOs, just not too much. 🙂 I love that 3rd paragraph – great observation.

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