Opinions Are Not Facts.
How many times in your life have you changed the way you behaved, spoke, dressed, or shopped because of a comment from another person?
“Stop fidgeting, you look awkward.”
“You always talk about that, it’s boring.”
“That colour is too bright on you!”
“You furnished the room with items in the sale? Won’t it look tacky?”
As a species, we naturally strive to “fit in” and seek approval from both our social circle and strangers. We want to be liked, and do things that are likeable.
Unfortunately, there is no single definition of a likeable person. There are no carvings in ancient stone defining what is a likeable hairstyle, a likeable set of interests, or a likeable pattern for the kitchen tiles.
We therefore unconsciously seek guidance on what is likeable from others, and regularly take criticisms to be factual truths. If one person shares the opinion that our ears "look big", we may immediately accept this comment as a fact, and spend the rest of our lives fashioning hairstyles to cover them. If someone questions our interest in a niche hobby, we may withdraw from it and come to label it as a foolish pastime.
But opinions are not facts.
This is a statement regularly explored at Nurtured Minds. Opinions can alter our entire lifestyles, our self-image, and self-esteem. But despite the power we give to them, opinions always say more about the beholder, than the subject.
Opinions are forged by the beholder’s own life experiences, attitudes, and fears. Instead of describing reality, they often provide a glimpse into the beholder’s insecurities or fixations.
Using the example above of a friend questioning the tackiness of sale furniture, the furniture does not immediately “become tacky” once this opinion is shared. The opinion does not become a fact. The furniture remains perfectly suited for the purchaser, but the beholder of the opinion potentially exposes:
Jealousy – They wish they had found this bargain!
Worry – Have they overspent on their own home?
Insecurity – They thought they had to follow the latest trends to be considered “tasteful”.
This concept can also be applied to very personal comments. Those who regularly share an opinion about our appearance, possibly expose a fixation with their own body image, as well as a lack of confidence to express individuality. Colleagues who are regularly critical of our performance in the work environment, expose a sense of inferiority and envy towards us that they are ashamed to express.
It can be extremely liberating for patients to free themselves from the “facts” of opinions. It bolsters our self-confidence and strengthens our identity. Banishing the self-doubt caused by negative opinions furthermore appeases the part of us that strives to be likeable.
Never forget too, that our own negative opinions (or our critical inner voice), are not factual. The parts of ourselves we do not like, are not perceived in the same way by others. Opinions are not facts. They do not have the power to change our reality, and we do not have to give it to them.
Contact the practice today to learn how hypnotherapy can further strengthen your self-confidence and free you from the power of opinions.