Oftentimes we get caught in the public opinions that others have of us. As much as we may want to say that we do not care, the dirty little secret is that we do. Some signs that demonstrate how much you care include:
- Actively defying public opinions: think about it, if you didn’t care, then why place so much energy on doing the exact opposite.
- Looking for a reaction: this is where I call you “Captain Obvious.” Please do not say that you do not care when you are looking for all the attention. I have done it myself; speaking from personal experience.
- Saying that you do not care: this is the ultimate statement that you do.
- Saying that you “don’t want drama”: that statement screams DRAMA QUEEN.
However, there are ways to get to the “I don’t care” place and you can work to get there. Nevertheless, you much watch yourself from becoming insensitive to others’ feelings. After all, you do want to create meaningful relationships. There was a time in my personal life when I became so disappointed and enraged by poor behaviors that I started to become a loner in my workplace. I may have repeated some of the statements that you see at the top. I went as far as declaring that I would NEVER make a friend on the job because I was there to work. In addition to all of it, I also declared that the feelings of other people were nothing to me. You may have guessed what happened with me later on…I became bitter. Make sure that you don’t make this mistake; I can almost guarantee your misery.
You CAN establish meaningful relationships on the job, but you have to ensure that these relationships are meaningful. The same holds true with your family members and friends outside of work. You need meaningful relationships so that you can share your struggles and be encouraged. Opinions of others do matter, but only when they are honest and sincere. You want to build relationships based on authenticity, but you must first become authentic yourself. These actions do not take much energy, but will take some of your effort:
- Ask yourself if you are being true to your own values. Do you hide your true values in order to please others? Be watchful, this can lead to personal moral issues (whatever these are for you).
- Are you truthful to yourself and others? You reap what you sow.
- Do the individuals that you relate to give you constructive feedback? Are they afraid to tell you what you may be doing wrong out of concern or to criticize you? Remember that you need feedback to grow, do not turn away a true friend that cares for you authentically.
- In what moment are you establishing the relationship? Do not judge others’ character based on momentary emotion.
- Do these individuals help you be better? Are they contagious in a positive way?
- Do they make you jealous? I don’t know that I would stick around someone that makes me green with envy. This stems from somewhere and I feel that your relationship will not be authentic. You’ll be constantly “trying” to not be jealous…that’s too much work.
- Learn when it is time to say goodbye to a relationship, even if it is a close family member. If they drain you of your energy, then you have got to move on.
I hope that this isn’t very insensitive to you, or that I have given you the ‘perfect world’ situation. It is not going to be that way, but you need to put some effort into this or you will be forever lonely.
Getting back to the title of this post. The opinion of others matters when the relationship is authentic. It starts with you.