Let Their Opinions Be Theirs

I am 35 years old. I graduated from a good college. I have a decent job. I’m pursuing my MBA. I have a full life of hobbies, activities, and friends to create memories with. I present myself well. I believe that I’ve been a good daughter who followed rules and didn’t cause trouble. Yet today, my mom told me that I am the source of her deepest worries.

She is worried about me because I am single. She is worried because I got a divorce three years ago and have not found someone else. She thinks I am too picky. She believes that I should settle just so I have someone to go home to, just to have companionship. But that simply is not me.

  • People who care about you want the best for you, but what they think is the best may not truly be the best for you.
  • When people share their opinions, it’s often a projection of their own situation and not a true reflection of your situation.

The two points above are important for me to remember. I also want to always be grateful, even for the unsolicited advice, because it means that I have people who care and want the best for me. At the same time of being appreciative, however, I need to understand when I should let the opinions impact me. The message from my mom was a projection of what she values most in a relationship–security and companionship–, which are not the most important things I’m seeking.

I am a whole person and am not incomplete without someone else. Whoever comes around will need to elevate and complement my life–I am not looking for someone to complete me. I do not need to settle just to have someone around me.

When it comes to relationships.

  • If I see potential in a person for a long-term relationship where we can grow and build a future together, I will go after it.
  • I will communicate when I feel that my needs are not met, when I do not feel understood, or when I need to understand.
  • I will do my best to be a good partner, to listen, to share, and expect the same back.
  • When we’ve exhausted the conversations and find that no more can be done to move forward, it would have been part of an ongoing conversation and it will not be a surprise that we stop dating.

I will no longer

  • Put myself in a position where I feel that I am not being treated right.
  • Stay with a person who mistreats me, disrespects me, and disregards me, just because I think that things will eventually change.
  • Communicate without being heard.
  • Say yes when I mean no.

Our family and friends care about us but they may not always understand us. People will always have their opinions and it’s important to be able to distinguish between what is advice to take in and what is noise to brush off. When it comes to relationships, I’ve learned a lot over the years, and I’ve gotten greater clarity in what I need and what I’m looking for. I know it isn’t easy and that it will always require work, but also know that I do not need to settle.

What do you look for in a relationship? Do you feel that you often have to settle? (Keep in mind that compromising isn’t always the same as settling.)

We deserve to be treated right! Don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve.

It’s Not Too Late for Change

Despite the recognition that all of our experiences have shaped us and brought us to where we are today, it’s natural for us to be looking back and figuring out what we could have done differently.

If there’s one thing that I still feel bad about, it’s that I did not stand up for my brother when I found out that the neighbors had bulled him over three decades ago. I wanted so bad to storm up to the neighbor’s door, to knock on it, and demand an apology for my brother, but I didn’t have the courage to do so. It bothers me till this day.

Your story of regret is likely different, but whatever it is, it’s not too late to make changes to make up for the missed opportunity. I hope the steps below will help you move forward into a better you.

1. Accept the Past
There may be events in your life, or actions you’ve taken, that you wish you have done differently. The past is gone now, and you must accept the decisions that you made back then.

2. Acknowledge the Event
In my case, I wish I had done more for my brother back then when he could have used that additional support. Recognizing this tells me that my brother is important to me and I want to be there for him. I acknowledge that I wasn’t there for him that day, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be there for him now.

3. Make Changes Now
The simple fact that you’re thinking about this means that that you are a different and better person now. The next time you try to put yourself down for a decision you made in the past, remember that you can make a different decision moving forward.

We all make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them.

What is something you wish you had done differently in the past? What has worked for you in terms of coping and moving on?

When You Are Not Kind

Today, I was unkind.

I was dismissive and judgmental and irritated based on preconceived biases I have on a person. This person did nothing to deserve the way I treated him. Whether it was apparent or not to the person, I did not behave in a way that is in line with how I want to be treated.

First step to self-improvement is acknowledgement of my mistake. I strive to treat others the way I want to be treated, but realize that I am not perfect. Upon some reflection, the steps below are things I can do to avoid hurting another person the way I did today.

1. Check Your Behavior
Most of us know when we aren’t acting the way we should. We typically know how our actions can impact another people’s feelings. When you notice that you are acting in a way that is hurtful or unfair to another person, take pause, and try to stop that behavior on the spot if you’re able to.

2. Create Space
When you are irritated or impatient with someone, it may be a sign that you need space from this person to avoid further damage to the relationship. Create that space and step away.

3. Self-Reflect
Think about why you behaved the way you did and what you can do to avoid or change that. It’s not easy to admit the ugly side of us, but thinking this through will help us make changes and become a better person.

4. Communicate
If I were the other person, I may be confused about why I was treated the way I was. I apologized for my behavior and recognized that I need to have some space between us. Whether the result is that further space is needed or that we can move forward, at least no one is left in the dark.

Be fair to others. Be fair to yourself. We are all humans with feelings and we all deserve to be treated the way we want to be treated.

Have you treated someone else in a way that you’re not proud of? Why was this realization troublesome to you? What are some things you did to change that?

Own Your Insecurity

Free yourself and take your power back by being secure in who you are–flaws and all.

Yvonne Pierre, The Day My Soul Cried: A Memoir

What’s an insecurity that comes to haunt you over and over again?

Mine is my voice. I have a higher-pitched voice that can sound childlike, which has put me at a disadvantage when it came to establishing my creditability. I’ve received feedback on job interviews that my voice makes me sound immature, on presentations that I should lower the tone of my voice to sound more credible, and on customer calls where the customer refused to engage because of how I sound.

The first time this happened to me, I was distraught and outraged. Despite my achievements and accomplishments, I’m always worried about people’s reactions when they hear my voice, that it will discredit me, that I will not be heard. Despite my achievements and accomplishments, every time someone comments on my voice, I get back into that dark hole.

I do not want to feel this way anymore and have taken some steps to ease my insecurity. I hope these are helpful to you as well.

1. Own Your Insecurities
None of us is perfect, but knowing what sets us off, and focusing on what we can control, will help you be less impacted by other’s judgements. I cannot control how my voice sounds, but what I can control is building up my knowledge so that the words that come out have meaning and power.

2. Let Them Have Their Opinions
I believe that everyone will have something to say about anything you are doing, but as long as you believe in yourself, and have a sense of who you are, they cannot hurt you. Take constructive feedback with an open mind, but also remember that you get to choose what you should actually be working on. Take the power of change into your own hands.

3. Hold onto How Amazing You Are
We have a tendency to hold onto the negatives over the positives so we need to keep the positives handy. It’s easy for me to disregard all my achievements when someone offers critical feedback, especially when it is about my insecurity.

Keep a folder or a journal of achievements and praises to refer to during these down times to remind yourself how great you are and what you’ve already achieved.

What is something that you’re self-conscious about that come up over and over again?

How do you manage to cope with or overcome the criticism?

You are amazing! Don’t ever forget that.

Choose Yourself

For most of my life, I strove to put others before me. More and more, however, I’m seeing that I need to be prioritizing myself first.

It’s never a bad thing to choose yourself


This quote is from the original Netflix TV series Pose and it is a great reminder for me every single day as I make decisions. You have to be your number 1 fan and cheerleader.

The 3 reminders below are for me, and it may also help you.

1. Say “No” to Others More
Sarah Knight’s book, F*ck No!: How to Stop Saying Yes When You Can’t, You Shouldn’t, or You Just Don’t Want To, has helped me accept the fact that it’s okay to say no. It’s a perfectly fine answer and you shouldn’t feel apologetic or feel the need the come up with any excuses. “I will not be able to,” is a fine answer.

For me, saying “no” is easy if I feel strongly about the no, but if I’m feeling hesitant, or feel an obligation, this no is difficult and I stress out about deciding between what I feel that I should do vs. what I want to do. I’m practicing listening to my gut feeling and getting the “no”s out there so I can do what feels truly right for me. The reason it has to feel right for me is because I’m striving to live my most authentic self.

2. Say Yes More to You
You deserve to be your #1 priority. That means being attune to your needs and giving yourself the permission to get those needs filled.

3. Say it Out Loud
Listening to your needs is important, but learning to express them is even more important. No one will know what you are thinking if you do not communicate it.

I notice that I’ve been giving my time away and brushing off the nagging feeling that I need my own time or own space. If you feel this way, too, that is okay. Don’t apologize for knowing your needs. Make that time for yourself to recharge, process, and decompress so you can be your best self, and thus the best person for those whom you care about.

I find myself sharing my frustrations to people around me who are not the person I’m frustrated with. This is a big no no. Once I process how I’m feeling, I need to make sure to share that back with the person if I want to understand or feel understood.

When you open up with vulnerability, you’re allowing others to take care of you as well.

Hope these tips are helpful. Cheers to our ongoing journey of living our most authentic and best selves.