So, when I was younger I found that I didn’t have much of an opinion on anything. Or at least I would have an opinion, but the second someone challenged my ideas with their own, I would assume that they must be right and change my mind. This process could go on until I had gone full circle and arrived back at my original belief system!
This exhausting and frustrating process served two purposes for me:
- It allowed me to doubt myself
- It allowed me to appear acceptable to others by agreeing with them
Now don’t get me wrong. I have always been able to see why racism is a load of bulls**t, and I have a strong moral compass when it comes to snatching handbags from old ladies. And I probably had the odd impassioned moment in my youth when I stood up for what I believed and had a strong sense of conviction and personal strength. No situation is purely black and white, and so I did have moments of allowing myself to be opinionated and stand up for what I believed. But all too often, in matters of everyday conversation, I would chop and change my mind to suit the situation.
Having an opinion scared me. It was simply too risky to lay all my cards on the table and not care if others agreed. I mean, if they didn’t, they might decide that they don’t like me! And this can only mean one thing – that there is something catastrophically wrong with me! No, this simply wasn’t a possibility for me during my adolescent/young adult years. Perhaps even more so in my 20s.
So what has changed? As we grow older most of us seem to go through some sort of awakening whereby we discover the things in life that really matter, and get our priorities and belief systems sorted out. For some this process can happen all of a sudden, perhaps due to a tragic or difficult family situation, or perhaps due to a life-changing experience whilst on holiday in Brazil. For others it is more gradual. Either way the feeling is one of liberation and joy:
I don’t have to be what everyone else wants me to be!
Even when I worried what everyone thought, I still made ‘mistakes’ and my friends continued to love me anyway!
I have always been wonderfully imperfect, but now I’m going to own my imperfections instead of running away from them!
I see now how much pressure I was putting on myself and others to meet certain expectations and how short life is.
And so on…
Perhaps you’re going through this process as I write this blog post. Perhaps you’re in your 40s and you’re only just starting to realise how much time you have wasted worrying about what others think of you. It really (really!) doesn’t matter. Each to their own. We all seem to have certain things to learn in our lifetimes and we all learn them in different ways and at different times. Give yourself a break and don’t worry that you haven’t yet learnt how to worry less about the small things.
So, coming back to having an opinion. Once you have begun to accept yourself for all that you are (notice I say ‘begun’ – very few people can claim to have completely accepted themselves, although that’s not to say that it isn’t within our reach), you can begin to own your opinions on certain matters and not worry too much about whether anyone agrees with you. As you begin to accept yourself, you step in to more of who you are, and spend more time doing things which you find enjoyable. It matters less if you are actually achieving anything, and more that you are having fun doing it! You start to develop a centre – a core. It’s like the essence of who you are, and it keeps calling you home every time you feel yourself feeling inadequate or compromised in any way. It’s the part of you that understands and respects what you have been through in your life and doesn’t need anyone else to tell you that you are valid and valuable.
Like with anything relating to personal development or spiritual growth, this is something we need to practice. The more re return to our centre, the more easy and natural it becomes. I haven’t mastered my inner voice perfectly as yet, but the more I listen to her the more we become friends and the more at peace I seem to feel.
So have an opinion! Be outspoken if it is something you feel passionate about. And remember that others will respect you more for standing up for your beliefs than if you just agree with what others are saying.
Own your beliefs.
Respect your life’s journey.
Bye for now lovely readers x