Ep #15: Other People’s Opinions
Time and time again, I watch people twist themselves into a life that they don’t desire because of their idea of what other people might think about them or their actions. Sadly, these people miss greatest opportunities in their lives, worrying about other people’s opinions, and end up living an unhappy existence. But in reality, it’s not really your business what other people think.
This week, we dig into why other people’s opinions have such a powerful effect on us…and how we can lighten that load. Tune in to discover the different ways our perception of what other people might think about us touch, and even change, our lives. Don’t miss these powerful tactics you can start using today to break free of this burden and start living a full, successful life!
Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It’s the truest shortcut to self-development we have ever created!
Listen to the show
What You will discover
- Why some people see us in a different light as others and have certain opinions about us.
- The biggest game changer that set me free from the weight of other people’s opinions.
- Why criticism can be very painful to us at times.
- How changing the way you take criticism will improve your chances of success.
- Why we look for approval from other people and why it affects us negatively when we don’t get it.
- Why the only person’s approval you need is your own.
Featured on the show
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hi everybody, what's up? Welcome. I am so happy that you are here. You have no idea you guys how amazing it is to have embarked on this podcasting adventure. It has just been amazing. I have loved hearing from all of you. One of the cool things I think about the podcast for me so far is I've always done a blog and I've written a blog for many, many years. One of the things that I didn’t do though on my blog was accept comments. I couldn’t actually in the very beginning figure out how to handle the spam, so I just stopped taking comments at all and I haven’t taken any comments since, but now with the podcast I’m taking comments. I found a way to filter out the spam and it has been really cool to talk to you all in those comments and hear your questions and hear how you are applying the podcast.
If any of you are interested in chatting with me more, come on over to the blog. It is at the lifecoachschool.com and depending on which episode you are listening to, it is always just forward slash the number of the episode. This is episode 15 so you would go to the lifecoachschool.com/15. There you can ask me anything. Chat with me about anything and make any comments and I will answer every single one of your comments. Now one of the comments that I did get was from a listener and also a student asking me to talk about the concept of other people’s opinions.
We spend so much of our life trying to control people’s opinions of us. If you really take the time to think about how much time you spend thinking “What will they think of me? Will they like what I’m wearing? Did I say that right? Should I try that? What will people think if I try that?” Lot of people, “Should I become a life coach? People are going to wonder what the heck that even is. What will my mother think? What will my husband think? What will everybody think?” This generalized concept of everybody out there. It is usually a mother most of us are referring to or our friends.
I've seen people just twist themselves into a life that they don’t even want because of their idea of what other people will think and that’s really, really important to remember is that so much of what we do to control other people’s opinions, first of all it is not controlling their opinion. You can’t control other people’s minds; I want you to really think about that because it is something we forget a lot. We think we can control whether people like us or don’t like us or think we are cool or think we are pretty or think we are smart or think we are successful. A lot of us spend a lot of time pretending and lying to people because we want them to have a certain opinion of us but even if you do all that you still can’t control their opinion of you, so that’s just good to know.
Not only that, when you are going through your life twisting and turning yourself and taking action or not taking action to control someone else’s opinion you are only controlling your thoughts about their opinion. You never really know what someone is thinking. They can tell you that they think you are awesome but you don’t really know what they are really thinking. The truth is it is none of your business. That’s what we are going to talk about today. Are you excited? It is good to tell you it is none of your business. It will really help you to release that because what other people think is based on other people.
I have this concept that I call the constant. You are the constant in your life and I want you to imagine that you are walking into a party and there are let's say 10 people at this party and they are excited to see you right? You go there and these ten people hear you talking and you are chatting and you are telling stories. Now if their opinion of you was based on you and what you said and what you did, then all ten of those people would have the exact same opinion of you because you are the constant. You showed up. You said the exact same thing to all the people. You are telling a story to all of them. You are wearing the same thing. They all can see it. You look the same. You act the same to every single person.
Now if you were the one controlling the opinion of how they thought about you, they would all have the same exact opinion but they don’t, do they? They have 10 different opinions of you because their opinion of you is based on them. You may look like their third grade teacher. They may hate you the minute you walk in the door because you look like their third grade teacher who was really mean to them and they are never going to get past it. You may remind them of their mother-in-law. Nothing you can do about that. They may hate what you are wearing. It is just not their style. Nothing you can do about that. They may love what you are wearing. They may remind you of their best friend.
They may think you are fantastic because you have the same shoes they do. They may like you because you are like them. You don’t know why people like you and you don’t know why people don’t like you. In fact, you can’t possibly understand everything that has happened in their life, what's going on in their brain, their preferences is going to determine whether they like you or not. When you try and act in a way and be a certain way, so someone will like you what happens is you don’t even show up as yourself. You show up as some version of yourself that’s trying to please other people; that’s trying to be cool. That’s trying to act cool.
I see this with my teenagers all the time but the truth is we all do it right? We want to show up friendly and happy and interested and whether that’s really what’s true for us or not is what we need to identify because here is the thing. If you show up as a version of yourself that you think someone will like, even if they love you because they don’t even know the real you because you are acting in a way that you think would be pleasing to them, so they like this version of you that isn’t even you. A long time ago I decided I’m going to start showing up as myself. That’s no small task for someone like me because I’m pretty loud, I’m pretty bold. I say what's on my mind.
I have opinions. I like to dress a certain way, I like to be a certain way. I like to embrace the things I love. I don’t like to pretend that I don’t love the things that I love. I decided if I just started showing up and telling the truth and being who I’m and I stop trying to hide the parts of me I didn’t like and I stop trying to pretend to be someone I wasn’t, that I could just be myself and the people that were my people that were mentor like me would and I wouldn't have to have so much anxiety about who, how am I supposed to act. I would just show up. This is who I am. This is how I’m meant to be. This is how I was made and I hope you like it.
If you don’t like it then no harm done. I’m not for everybody. I love the Pinterest pin that says you could be juiciest peach in the world but there’s always going to be someone that doesn’t like peaches. It is not the peach’s fault right? It’s just their preferences for peaches. That has really honestly changed my life because what's happened is there have been people that haven’t liked me but those aren’t my people but they are people that have liked me have really been my people. They are people that I totally dig, people I love being with; people that I really appreciate and love me and the best part about all of that is the only thing I have to do is just be myself and people like it. My people like it.
I love being around people that can be themselves around me and I just like it. It is like we can all just relax. When I’m around people that don’t prefer my personality or don’t like me or whatever that’s fine too. I give them permission not to like me in my own mind. I will tell you what. That has been a game changer. First understanding this concept of the constant and knowing that I really can’t be the one that decides whether someone likes me or not. It is not up to me. It is up to them and their experience and their life and their preference. That set me free.
The second thing that really set me free was giving people permission to judge me and giving permission not to like me because the truth is don’t like everybody and I don’t everything everyone does. I have my own judgments and although I work on that because it feels better to me to like people than to not like them, the truth is that I do have preferences just like everybody does. That’s okay. If you don’t like peaches; it is okay. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with the peach. If you don’t like me, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me. That really has set me free because then if doesn’t like me or someone doesn’t want to hang out with me, I don’t get all needy and creepy. Do you know what I’m talking about? I know you do.
I've spent so much time before I really did this work on myself like trying to get people who didn’t like me to like me and you act needy and creepy when you do that. Let me just tell you. I would like chase people down in my mind and like “Hi” and act a crazy person. Trying to get people that I didn’t even really enjoy their company either but I was just determined to bring them over. You’ve got to like me. What I did of course was have them totally turn the other way because I was acting needy and creepy and weird. I know you guys know what I’m talking about. It’s like when you are younger some of us when we are older and I haven’t experienced this for a while because I've been married for so long but when I used to date and someone were to break up with me.
Even if I kind of wanted to break up with everyone, I will be like, “Oh hell no. You are not breaking up with me. I’m the one that does the breaking up.” then I would turn into a stalker and a crazy person and I’d be like calling them and so don’t do that. It is ill advised right. If somebody isn’t in to you, if somebody doesn’t want to be your friend that’s okay. If they want to judge you for what you are wearing or for what you do for a living, it is okay. I have a member of my family who thinks that Life Coaching is this ridiculous thing that he has ever heard of and that’s okay. I actually now am very entertained by it because he doesn’t even really understand what I do and that’s okay and he has an opinion and a story about it.
I don’t even try to convince him otherwise. I just kind of enjoy his perception of me. Wow, such a better place to be than caught up in trying to change everybody and what they think about me and how that match how I think about me. Here is the truth. It is funny because sometimes people don’t like me and sometimes I don’t like me. I feel like we are more in agreement. Sometimes I’m like I get it. I totally understand why that person doesn’t like me because I have to work on liking myself a lot of the time too. There you go. Give people permission to judge you. Give people permission to have their opinion of you. Give people permission not to like you and notice how you will bloom.
The reason why we don’t want people not to like us is because of what we make it mean. Let's talk about that for a second. What does it mean when someone doesn’t like you? What we are tempted to make it mean is that we are unlikable. If this person doesn’t like me then I must be unlikable. Remember whether someone likes you or not has nothing to do with you. Whether someone likes a peach or not has nothing to do with the peach. It has to do with their desire and their opinion. If you think about it like how are people’s opinions formed, have you ever had anybody that when you first met them, you didn’t like them. You were like “Ewe.”
I had one of best friends I felt that way about. When I first met her I was like “Really?” Then I ended up like really loving her but it was my opinion based on my history and based on my preferences and based on my story about my first impression that determined whether I liked her or not. You need to remember that about other people right. Whether they like you or not has an opinion that’s based on so many things you have no idea about. You can’t control and you will exhaust yourself trying to. Remember that, oh whether they like peaches or not is not something I can really control. Whether they like me or not is not something I can really control.
I can just relax and be the best peach I can be, show up the best way I can and know that some people aren’t going to like it and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I’m not amazing. That’s amazing to do for yourself. Now, one of the things that is the most frightening I would say for many of us is criticism. I will do this work with students and they will say, “Okay and I can let not like me. I can let people prefer someone else but I don’t want them criticizing me. I don’t want to put myself in a position where they are going to “hurt me.” Here is the truth.
Man, when you become an entrepreneur, when you are a life coach, when you are a weight loss coach, when you are putting yourself out there and creating content and putting out your ideas and writing books and creating programs and creating products, you are putting out material on yourself to be criticized. That’s just the way it is. It is like open ground. If any of have sold anything on Amazon it is like a free for all. “Hey, if you hate me if you hate my book, if you hate my material feel free to write about it publicly for millions of people to read.” That’s what we are signing up for right?
You put out a YouTube video, you put out a podcast, you put out anything, people are able to and as they should be able to, not like you. Not like what you are doing. Not like you are material and they are welcome to verbalize that. I have way too many students, way too many coaches that I work with that are unwilling to put themselves in the “line of fire” for criticism because they are terrified of it. Let's talk about that for a minute. What is it about criticism that is so devastating for some of us? What is criticism? It is basically somebody having an opinion of you. I have had people write reviews on my book that clearly haven’t even read my book.
When I first wrote my book, If I’m So Smart Why Can't I Lose Weight, when I first wrote that book many years ago somebody made a comment that they were very frustrated that I didn’t talk about diabetes in that book because that was their issue. Their issue was diabetes and they wanted to learn more about it. Clearly, my book was on emotional overeating and I’m not a doctor and I have no expertise in diabetes that will not be something that I would talk about in my book but it still bothered me that they criticized me and gave me low stars because I didn’t include diabetes bugged me.
I had to really do some work on it. I had to really think about “Wow, how could I have made this better for this person?” Now that stuff will make him nuts. It will make you absolutely nuts because you cannot please everybody. People are going to not like stuff you do. They may not say it and you may not put yourself in a position where they can say it publicly but if you can handle it privately, if you can handle it in your own mind then you can handle it anywhere. If you can handle criticism, if you can handle people not liking you, your life will explode. What you will be willing to do, the chances you will be willing to take will explode in your life.
Your options will become so much more if you are willing to be criticized. That’s really what I’m encouraging you to do here. I know that it sounds amazingly stupid. Hey let's get up and get criticized today but really that’s what I’m encouraging you to do. Be willing to put yourself out there enough so people do have an opinion of you. People can either like you or not like you. You look at the people that are the most successful; there are a lot of haters. A lot. It doesn’t matter how amazing the person is, it doesn’t matter what they have done in the world, there is haters. The more people that know about you, the more you stand for something, the more haters you are going to have.
If you can allow space for that in your life, then what happens is the people, it is kind of like the work that I did on myself when I started showing up. More people had opinions, stronger opinions about who I was but also and some of them are negative but also so many more of them were positive. I was able to really find my people because I was showing up. That’s a beautiful thing. It is a really beautiful thing. Let's talk just a little bit about criticism. If someone is to write something about you or someone is to say something to someone else. “Did you know that Sally said that you are rude to your husband? Or “Did you know that Janice said that your book had a lot of typos in it and it was very unprofessional?”
These kinds of things happen all the time and they can devastate us right, because we make them mean something. That’s the key. Criticism in and off itself is not painful. It is when somebody criticizes us and we take it on and we believe it and we make it mean something about ourselves. Now I will use this example and I know I've used it in this podcast before but if someone is to say to you “I hate your blue hair” you don’t really get devastated by it because you know you don’t have blue hair, most of don’t have blue hair. If you have blue hair then change the color to blond or something, but if someone makes a criticism towards you and it is something that you know is not true for yourself then it just kind of washes over you.
It is when someone criticizes you and there is part of you that believes it that it gets to you. If someone criticizes you and you make it mean, you make their opinion mean something about you, that’s when you get into the trouble. That’s when you start really hiding and getting away from that criticism because you don’t want to expose yourself to that. The reason you don’t want to expose yourself to it is because of what you are making it mean. That’s really good to know. You are the one causing all your pain, not the people that are criticizing you but you believing it, taking it on and making it mean something. If you can allow people to criticize you and allow them to have opinions of you and allow them to judge you and not make it mean something about you and not make it mean stop and don’t do anymore. Not make it mean that you are unworthy or incapable or not good enough, then it can actually have the opposite effect.
People are paying attention. People are taking the time to write something about me. This is really an indicator that I’m standing for something. I've said something that’s a little bit controversial. That means that I’m showing up. I’m not just being vanilla bland. I’m being myself and not everyone is going to like me and that’s okay. I really want to encourage you to gather up some criticisms and see how you react to them. The other way that a lot of us deal with criticism is first of all we hide and then we don’t show up as much because we feel like we can’t handle the criticism when really we just can’t handle our interpretation of the criticism.
The other thing we do is we lash back. We say, “Oh if you are going to criticize me, then I’m going to criticize you. Now I’m going to attack you.” Then you’ve created this resisting situation where you are judging someone and you are looking for the bad in them and it is like you are trying to annihilate the source which is completely unnecessary. It is okay for someone to have an opinion of you based on their life, based on their experience, based on what they know about you. A lot of people that criticize you, don’t even know you, right. They just know a piece of you and that’s okay but when you come back at them and you start criticizing them then we’ve just brought a lot more tension into the world that’s completely unnecessary.
All we need is that freedom to allow people to be who they are and sometimes people are critical and can you hold the space for someone to be critical? Can you allow for that? That’s a really important question to ask yourself. Let's talk a little bit about approval versus aversion. So many of us are approval addicts. We just are locked into the patterns of our childhood where we are literally trained to perform for approval. We get good grades and then we are approved of, we act politely for mommy and we get approval. We say please, we say thank you. We clean our plate. We clean our room. We get approval. We get locked into that pattern of taking action for approval.
Then as adults we don’t even realize that that’s overdoing. Let me just add, it is not always a negative thing to be motivated by approval. When it becomes a negative thing is when you don’t get the approval and so often we don’t because people aren’t paying attention enough to approve of us. People are busy. They don’t take the timeout. Often they are not paying close enough attention to us to give us approval so we become devastated by the lack of it. Then on the other hand, we have people who have aversion to what we were doing and that’s what I think is kind of opposite of approval and that’s completely devastating.
The lack of approval is devastating but then if someone is paying attention and they don’t like what we’ve done we get the F on the paper, then that’s when our grown adult life then we are devastated. Are you willing to live your life in a way where you are not seeking that approval anymore? Where you are not in that state of emotional childhood, where you are constantly looking for the A paper or the pat on the head. Can you also make room in your life for the aversion for the people who don’t like what you do? It is really something to consider because that patterning can keep you hidden in your life because you don’t want to show up, because you don’t want to get any kind of … If you are not getting applause, if you are not getting approval, you don’t want to show up.
You need that to keep going and the only approval that you really going to want and get is your own. That’s the next step in our evolution into emotional adulthood is to figure what would it take to get my own approval and what would it take from me to get to that space where I can really feel approved by myself approving and then work towards to that because that you can always provide for yourself. Now the bottom line is we want people to like us because we want to feel like we are good, that’s why we are seeking that approval. We were trained as children to believe we are good girls or good boys when we do it right, when we get the approval.
It is really important to me that you don’t beat yourself up over this stuff that you don’t give yourself a hard time for wanting that approval from outside of yourself because it is a pattern that has been developed and has actually served you in many ways but it is important to recognize it because when you don’t get the approval I see so many people when they don’t get the approval they just stop taking action. That is going to keep you from showing up as the best version of yourself because if you are only going to do stuff where you can get approval, you are going to end up doing a lot of stuff you don’t even want to do only to get approval from somebody else.
If you really think about what would it take to get my own approval, what would I be so proud of myself for doing? What do I approve of in my own life? That can get your juices flowing. If you have your own approval and you can also make room in your life for other people not to like you and recognize that the reason you want them to like you is because you make that mean something about yourself and that you can make that mean something about yourself even without them liking you. For example if somebody likes you and you think, “Oh gosh I must be great” or someone approves of you “I must be doing this right.”
If that’s what you are depending on when you are doing your work in the world, you are going to first of all like I said be acting all crazy because you are going to want to be doing a dog and pony shirt or try and get everyone’s attention first of all and then to get their approval but if you decide for yourself like “I’m going to like me. I’m going to figure out what I approve of and then I’m going to go out and do that and I’m going to keep doing that even when I don’t get someone’s approval. That’s when the magic can happen.” That’s in your family life; that’s in your relationships, that’s in your professional life. That’s how you evolve into the best version of yourself by actually owning that you are the only one that needs to give yourself approval. That is not someone else’ job.
It is not someone else’ job to like you and in fact if someone doesn’t like you that’s okay; that’s their prerogative. You don’t need to negotiate with them over what they like or don’t like. I will tell you when you decide that that’s how you are going to go into the world, one of the questions that I get a lot is “I don’t care if people like me. I’m such going to be such a jerk all the time.” I've seen this people. They just don’t care about other people. They just go around and they just act obnoxious all the time. I say “Well if that’s who you are really then maybe you are right but is that who you are really? Are you really obnoxious? Are you really mean? Are you really a jerk?”
What I have found is that people are like that when they are afraid of other people’s opinions and so they just resist them and push them away and say they don’t care but when you are not afraid of other people’s opinions and you make room for them to like certain parts of you or all of you or not all of you, that’s not how you act. You act in a more relaxed and welcoming and unconditional way. You don’t show up and be obnoxious. Most of us are not obnoxious and bitchy and horrible in our natural state. If you think about who you are in your natural state that’s not who you are. You start acting like that, when you are trying to manipulate people and control their opinion of you.
When you get frustrated they don’t act the way you want them to. When you showing up yourself really it is like the best version of yourself is usually very loving, very king, very creative, and very dynamic. I want to say that I think that the most important quality when it comes to allowing other people to judge you and allowing other people not to like you and to being unconditionally accepting of other people’s opinions, it is courage to be continue to be yourself. To continue to show up with confidence when it comes to being who you are and I don’t care what you think of me. It is not like that. It is I get it and here is the last piece of this that will blow your mind a little bit maybe.
When people don’t like you it has nothing to do with you but also when they do like you, when they do approve of you and they do think you are amazing, it also has nothing to do with you. It has to do with them. That’s where you can keep that even confidence with yourself. When I get an email from someone that says, “You’ve changed my life. You are the most amazing thing. I've read your books. I've listened to your podcasts. I've read your blogs. You are the most amazing thing. You are so great.” I do get emails like that. I know that it is not about me. I really do know that. I know that they saw something or heard something that ignited something in them.
Their opinion of me isn’t about me. It is about them and I can still celebrate it and I think it’s wonderful for them but I know that it’s not about me. When I get an email or someone doesn’t like what I do and they don’t what I said and they are mad about it and they have a different opinion. I also know that that has nothing to do with me. It has to do with them. I can still have compassion and understanding and see where they are coming from and here there are criticism and maybe take some of it on and apply it as really good constructive feedback. I can use that to improve me but I also know that other people’s opinions have nothing to do with me, good or Bad and that’s when you find the freedom because when you don’t need their approval or you don’t take it on as something that you need and want to continue, you are free from it.
When you don’t take on their criticism as something that you need, something that you don’t want or that you have an aversion to then you can set yourself free. All you have to do in order to do that is show up, be yourself and repeat. Let other be who they are. Let other people change their mind about you, let them have their opinion about you, set them free to do as they will in their minds with you and notice how your life will change. I would love to hear how you can apply this to your life and any struggles that you are having with doing this in the comments at lifecoachschool.com/15.
I also want to tell you about a new product that I have released. It is called how to solve any problem? It really does work on any problem and I spend a lot of time creating it for you. It is a wonderful product. I would love for you to check it out. You can go to the lifecoachschool.com, how to solve any problem and check that out as well. Let me know what you think. I hope you all have a wonderful week. I will talk to you next week. Bye bye.
Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School podcast. It would be incredibly awesome if you would take a moment to write a quick review on iTunes. For any questions, comments or coaching issues you’d like to hear on the show, please visit us at http://www.TheLifeCoachSchool.com.
Thank you for listening to The Life Coach School podcast. It would be incredibly awesome if you would take a moment to write a quick review on iTunes. For any questions, comments or coaching issues you’d like to hear on the show, please visit us at http://www.TheLifeCoachSchool.com.