Why and how to look past other peoples’ negative opinion of you

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Have you ever taken into consideration how you would feel if you stopped dwelling so much on other peoples’ opinion of you? Sometimes, all you need is to shut out other peoples’ voices that are in your head.

Yesterday, I got to work as usual and opted to change my normal daily routine. I decided to accompany a colleague of mine and see what he does. As we proceeded with work, one question popped up “Just how do you deal with other peoples’ opinion of you?” Most especially when it’s a negative comment or just something that one normally expects would hurt you in one way or another? It might be your feelings, work or even your social life? You seem to be so calm especially when several occurrences take place.

I smiled and thought…”that is a good question”. Well, we all have different kinds of characters that we come across either on a day to day basis or just by passing somewhere. Everybody is different in their own way but what we all need to learn is that we should all be in a position to accommodate one another. We cannot all expect everyone around us to think or behave like we do. We all come from different backgrounds, cultures and upbringing. How you were raised might not be how someone else was raised. We must all learn and understand this in order to live in harmony.

You should know your personality trait in order to effectively address several situations in your life. What is personality trait? Personality traits as defined in general are distinguishing qualities or characteristics that are the embodiment of an individual. They are your habitual patterns of behaviour, temperament and emotion. The first question that you should ask yourself is “What personality traits do you have? And then what personality traits do the other person that you have / are interacting with have?”

I will touch on 5 major and common types of personality traits according to psychology;

1. Extraversion: This is a trait where one is sociable and can freely talk expressing themselves and their views and is outgoing. You practically feel free to be around them.

2. Consciousness: People who are not just spontaneous but plan ahead accordingly and are quite conscious and have a good control of their actions. They tend to be organised aiming to achieve the highest target.

3. Agreeableness: They are quite compassionate and have the kind heart to assist in tough situations. One can easily trust them. Some people even go to an extent of taking advantage of this kindness and affectionate character.

4. Openness: They are usually very creative and open to ideas due to their curiosity and interest in a wide range of things. They see the other side to every experience that they encounter.

5. Neuroticism: They are mostly viewed as insecure due to their worry, anxiety and instability. Most are emotionally unstable and temperamental. Some tend to have a low esteem and seek a lot of unnecessary attention

Back to my short story; having understood that we all have different personality traits, it’s also good to know that the different personality traits have impacts on our life and way of living. According to study, they influence everything in our lives from the friends that we have as well as our careers. So many of us tend to overlook our personality traits and therefore fail to see how others see us. Once we understand our personality traits, we also get to know our strength and weaknesses. For example; some of the traits I have are consciousness, openness, agreeableness and extraversion. I related to these when answering my colleague. That once you are conscious of your actions and the implications in a particular scenario, at times that which is perceived as weakness according to others, to you it’s your strength.

In a scenario where a person has the personality trait neuroticism and are temperamental and insecure, you need to be open and understand that that’s their character and they have a problem. If for example that person says something to provoke you or wants a fight, it’s up to you to figure out the consequences. Will you succumb to their demand for the benefit of not accepting defeat or will you just walk away and ignore them? His response was “Walk away”. To some of us this will be judged as a weakness but in the real sense it’s not. Walking away from a situation that will bring negative consequences is not a weakness but strength. It takes a lot of courage and understanding of the other person to walk away. It does not matter if you will be regarded as a coward but how do you feel as a person after that?

We should all be free to walk away when a situation poses to bring us more harm than good. People will also have an opinion of us and at times what they tend to think they know might not actually be true. Some will even confidently agree and pose as witnesses in a situation that they were never present but never stoop to their level and get dragged down. Understand that some people have no control over their emotions. Past experiences and bitter childhood upbringings tend to affect us even as adults. Some would seek that opportunity to air out a negative opinion about you just so that they can feel happy having spoilt your mood or day. Don’t give them the pleasure.

Have you ever asked yourself why there are people that get angry because you never reacted to their accusations or confrontations? This is plainly because their aim was for you to react just to please them or convince someone else that you two are the same or even make you lose trust or respect somewhere (at work, home etc.).

I would like you to go back to a scenario when you faced a situation where you debated whether to walk away or react. How did you respond to it? And how did you feel afterwards? If you reacted there must have been negative consequences, but I believe that after reading this article, you now know how to react to peoples’ opinion about you after taking into consideration which personality traits they have and your own.

Take time to reflect upon your life and all those negative opinions you have heard about you, your family or friends. If you walked away and then felt like a coward or were called a coward, I want to tell you that you made the right choice. Make it your habit from today to walk away from negativity and always remember that walking away is not always a weakness but strength. Be and stay strong.



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