Don’t Take This Personally

March 17, 2023

by Tim Brownson

I’m sorry to say this but you are a complete imbecile. I know you probably don’t like hearing it but the truth will out and that’s just the way it is so you may as well accept it

I’d also like to tell you that you are too fat or too thin, your hair is a mess, you’re no fun to be around and nobody likes you!

If any of this fits your internal picture of yourself and you are apt to listen to the opinions of others, you may well be thinking ‘”How does he know all this stuff, is he a mind reader?” On the other hand if it doesn’t fit your own perception or you don’t care what I think, you’re probably wondering “What a jerk, he needs locking up for his own good”

“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!”
- Theodore Roosevelt

Well of course I’m joking, I would never insult anybody astute enough to be reading a book of mine, there simply aren’t enough of you around.

There are about 6 billion people on this planet and about 5,999,999,000 of them don’t know you and probably don’t want to know you. Of the people that do know you, probably less than 10% know you very well and of that 10% nobody comes even close to knowing you as well as you do. Yet even bearing in mind all those figures literally millions of people every day allow their mood to be dictated by other peoples opinions, gestures, actions and the meanings accurate and more often inaccurate that they attach to them. Now that’s what I call a run on sentence!

If that women you barely know gives you a strange look at work one day, she might indeed be doing it because she dislikes you. Or she may be having a bad day and hasn’t even noticed you. How about the driver that cuts you off on the Freeway? Yes he may of course be trying to kill you, but it’s more likely he’s simply in a hurry or distracted by his cell phone. The boss shouting at you could mean that you are about to be fired or it could mean he’s just found a nasty little rash and he wants to take it out on you. Not that the rash, his anger that is.

The point of this is twofold: Firstly you can never know exactly what is going through somebody else’s mind. It’s difficult enough to know what’s happening in your own head, never mind anyone else’s so there’s a good chance that any assumptions you make will be erroneous. So why bother trying?

Secondly, even if they were thinking something negative about you, why would you care? Do you really worry what a casual acquaintance thinks about you? Why would you even value the opinion of someone that’s prepared to judge so easily?

If you’ve given somebody a genuine reason to think badly of you then I understand you may want to make reparation. Other than that, the only sensible course of action is not to allow the opinions of others to dictate what you think about yourself. The alternative is to give all your personal power away and spend you entire life in a fruitless attempt to please other people.

Don’t seek the approval of others, seek the approval of yourself and let others follow if they wish.

Question: How often do you presume you know what somebody is thinking even when they haven’t told you?

Tim Brownson is a UK born Life Coach and NLP Master Practitioner now living in Orlando, Florida. He coaches people one-to-one either face-to-face or via the telephone. You have just read a sample chapter of his new book ‘Don’t Ask Stupid Questions – There Are No Stupid Questions’. You can read his blog at A Daring Adventure!

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2 Responses to “Don’t Take This Personally”

  1. David Rogers on March 18th, 2008 3:44 pm

    In my experience we get more affected by worrying about the opinions of people who are more than casual acquaintances - peers at school or work, neighbors, family members, our boss. The principle still applies, learning to accept not everyone will like you can be hard if your confidence is low. I reinforce its better to have a few good friends who respect you, than 100s of acquaintances who don’t really know who you are - unless they want something.

    David Rogers’s last blog post..How to Look Confident

  2. Self-Confident-Male on April 17th, 2008 12:51 am

    Great post. Most of us spend waaaay too much time worrying about what others think instead of living our lives. It’s a total waste of our time and (more importantly) energy.

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