Saturday, July 21, 2012

Opinions. Judgement. Questionable Acceptance.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
~Eleanor Roosevelt 

Why do we put so much weight on what others think and say about us? I think it’s human nature to want to be accepted and loved by our own. But, at what cost?

In all types of relationships we look for approval. We want to know that we are doing the right thing. We want love, acceptance and kudos. Even from when we are very young, we try to please our parents. We try to pick up on cues of what is right and wrong. Cues of how they want us to behave. So we can please them.

We try to fit in with friends and school mates. We are constantly judging ourselves and making micro adjustments in our behavior to fit in. Then we grow up to be in the same situations with older friends and co-workers. Whatever circle of people we are in (or are trying to be in) we change. We mold. We conform. And, sometimes it isn’t for the better.

We may be on the outskirts wanting to be one of the group.

How many of us have been in relationships where we change to please the other person? From step parents to lovers to friends? We fight hard against some of what makes us “us” to be accepted. Yes, there is the need to be flexible, especially in a partnership relationship. But, to try to be who we aren’t, to change what makes us “us,” isn’t the way to go. We try to be too much of who they want us to be. We may try this for a while. Weeks, months, years. Thinking this will make the other person happy which will make us happy. Rarely have I seen this work. We are the only ones who can make us happy.

I have a friend who is hurting from an online dating experience. He opened up, showed his vulnerabilities. He was led along thinking this other person liked him for all that he was. But, in an instant, their opinion changed. They wanted more. They wanted him to be different. They didn’t like him for him. Their words cut him deep. And he’s left trying to pick up the pieces from that hurt. I think he’s better off knowing this now before things moved farther. How much would he have changed about himself to try to please this other person?

I’ve personally made concessions to be with others. I’ve tried to change the little things that make me “me” that they didn’t seem to like. I’ve even made big changes. And, I’ve felt the hurt too. I was looking for the approval of others when what I really needed was just to find someone who accepted me for me.

Trying to be something else?

Recently, I’ve even put a lot of weight behind what people have said while I’m dealing with this head injury. I look fine. I should be fine. They don’t know what goes on in my head or the constant physical pain that I’m in. I fight that every day. Why do I care what they think? Why do I put so much weight behind their words? They aren’t me. I’m trying to let that go. But, it’s years of conditioning and of trying to be accepted that makes it so hard.

It takes time to undo the hurt that comes from when we are dealing with what we perceive as rejection by those we can’t please. We have to re-find ourselves. We have to find our self-esteem again. We have to realize that they aren’t us. They don’t know who we are or what we’re going through. Most likely they have projected their own insecurities and problems on us to make themselves feel better. That hardly seems fair. Why can’t we all just be kind to each other? And accept others for who they truly are? It would then make it easier for us to accept ourselves. There would never even be that questioning. We would always be happy with who we are and celebrate daily in our uniqueness. In the end, that’s what’s really important.

Have you ever felt judged? Why did you care so much? How did it make you feel?



  1. It's taken me 44 years to really feel comfortable in my skin. I have learned that I need to be happy, or the people around me won't be, visa versa. It's taken me a very long time to really say "so what?" I am who I am and that's it...

  2. I am who I am... I like that. Words we should all live by.

    1. Barb - I can't figure out how to make my reply anything other than "anonymous". I'm sure if I had one of my kids show me how I could, but usually they aren't around. Anyway, I hope things begin to improve for you. (It sounds like they may be). It really sucks when you have an inury and it doesn't heal the way people think it should. ~Jane Dickinson


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