Why Other's Opinions Don't Bother Me
Everyone has one. All believe theirs is the best. They usually will give it away freely, but refuse to really ever let it go. What is it?
Well, its an opinion!
Its important to remember that opinions are usually estimations at best (that really helps me).
Estimations that others have on each other are very common and I would argue many live in relationships that in majority are made up on estimations not facts.
IMAGINE if other acts in the world were made based off of opinions? The math and engineering for bridges that carry weight, chemicals, and people we love is built based on opinions. That would be disastrous! We shouldn't see relationships any less important and not live off of opinions but on factual and actual experience with others.
Jessica and I have been in ministry together for four years. I have been in the "Fish Bowl" of vocational ministry for 15 years (geez thats getting to be a big number). One thing that comes with the territory of offering our thoughts, experiences, heart, and care for others in the many communities that I have been part of over the years is getting feedback from your efforts.
Sometimes, the responses from others is helpful and constructive. A lot of the times, it is off base and inflated, minimized, and coated with opinions that have had a good amount of editing placed upon it.
Its wonderful when someone comes to you and actually realizes a relationship between you and them that you get to come around these opinions and there is a dialogue. It is another thing when someone wants you to receive a monologue of daggers and the expressions that are coming from hurt, fear, anger, or a lack of trust between the two of you.
Here is where I find it helpful to infuse Scripture from the Bible
"It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe." -Proverbs 29:25
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
Definitions from External sources instead of Eternal
I state that others opinions don't bother me, but there are times I struggle to get to a place where I steward my heart into a posture to remember that the source of my worth and value is not from man but from God. It helps when others have their best estimate about you (and we should remember to hold that for others) but this isn't the case with God.
His view of you is factual and the ultimate truth of your value and identity. He knows the number of hairs on your head and the future and hope you are to live into. He seeks for you to realize this identity more and more and it isn't one of God giving you insight or understandings from a place that is imperfect. God is Holy and in his holiness he has given us the best source to know that we all are a work in progress. Yet, may we ever seek to be a work that is progressing to joy, peace, and joy from this eternal source instead of external ones that can stunt our growth.
Winning the right to be heard
As a youth worker, a key Young Life idea was to win the right to be heard from the youth you are seeking to invest in. This meant that when you win this right given by another, it is a place of trust, care, and safety. I wanted student's to know that I am coming from a place of deep care and love. This should be the same for others who give an opinion about you. Have they won the right to be heard? Or are they always on the outside of that circle of trust and care? Then I would encourage you to be courageous and strong like Joshua and to realize that the words, actions, or inaction's are not for your benefit. As God's people, we should always be willing to let others win that right and we should be pursuing avenues to be deemed as a safe and approachable person. It is perfectly healthy to have a boundary when people aren't showing they have a right to be heard in your heart.
What fills that gap, trust or suspicion?
One of the pastors I work with, reminded me of Andy Stanley's trust vs. suspicion. When we have a gap in communication, what do we fill in that gap? Trust....? Or suspicion....?
We should always believe the best in others and we should also pursue facts instead of estimates in gaps of communication. if there is a gap, then that is OUR responsibility to fill it (resist the eye roll here).
It can be hurtful when opinions come your way that are not what you ever thought someone could think of you. It isn't fair, it isn't true, nor should being powerless to address it be where you find yourself. However, it is the task to grow amongst difficult times while keeping the tenants of the gospel in place ("Out of reverence for Christ, submit to one another..." Ephesians 5:21).
So, it isn't that no opinions bother me, its more of having boundaries and pathways where others should be winning that right to be heard while not seeking to detour my value from eternal to external sources.
May in the ways you challenge these estimates with the truth of God's view of you be a restorative process where you realize just how strong and courageous you are meant to grow into. Remember, God has no opinions about you, he only has the facts about his child!