Listening to people’s opinions is a tricky thing. One reason we fall into low self-esteem is by paying more attention to what others say about us versus being guided from within. ( Want to learn more about that? Read Self-Esteem, by McKay.) In doing what I do, it’s difficult avoiding the mirror game.
I practice what I preach with regards to my advice that we grow bigger ears. I listen to people’s conversations about me, and then I decide whether it’s appropriate to engage. If you think for a minute that all these conversations are positive, glowing affirmations of my writing and ideas, think again.
Some folks have different opinions than mine. That’s always great. I learn by those kinds of posts, comments, and conversations. I’m always happy for discourse, if it helps me move ahead.
But often times, I come across comments by people who just don’t like me. It’s okay for folks not to like me, obviously. People can think what they will about me. Where I don’t do myself any favors is when I read their commentary or posts and then take to heart what they’re saying.
We have to remind ourselves constantly that not all who criticize are doing so for our betterment. I think that it’s important to learn from others, but with an eye towards not supplanting our own self-opinion with the random opinions of others. It’s a balance. Learn from the words of others, but keep your own thoughts and plans and self-image firmly in front of you.
Trusting the whims of the crowd to be our “mirror,” where we regard ourselves, is a dangerous practice.