I used to love going school clothes shopping when I was a kid. My parents didn’t have a lot of money and every fall my dad gave my mom an allowance for me and my siblings.
I knew we didn’t have a ton of money, and I knew we were limited as to how much we could get. But, this one particular day we were shopping specifically for jackets. I can’t remember why we were only looking for jackets. Maybe my mom waited until it got cold to get them.
I had my heart set on a jean jacket. Hey, I was about fourteen and I wanted to look cool. By the way, jean jackets are totally in again. You may want to consider getting one … wink, wink.
I was easily swayed by fashion, friends and influenced by the opinions of others. Let’s just say the opinions of others could bounce me around like a marble in a pinball machine. I was all over the place!
As I stood in TJ Maxx looking all over for a jean jacket, my mom held up other (not so cute) jackets and asked me what I thought.
Feeling pressured by her opinions I said, “Oh, that’s not bad.” I didn’t want to tell her the truth and hurt her feelings. I mean, I didn’t like any of the bulky, ugly jackets she held up. But I didn’t want to say it.
Finally, I told my mom, “I’m looking for a jean jacket.” My mom looked at me like I was crazy. “A jean jacket won’t keep you warm. What about this one?” She held up a dark, navy blue puffed sleeve jacket that made squishy sounds when I walked.
I hated it and never wore it.
The Power of Opinions
If you’ve lived long enough, you probably know by now that opinions have power. We logon to social media and see hundreds of opinions each day. We turn on the news and instead of hearing facts we are bombarded with opinions about politics, religion and everything in between.
The world is made up of opinions and although I’d love to get rid of them sometimes I know they’re needed. In America, opinions go with our first amendment right. Thank goodness we’re allowed to have them.
But, the real question is how do we keep from being easily swayed by the opinions of others?
How can we stay the course in situations where we can have a differing opinion with someone and still be friends? Or take a different stance on something and remain cordial? Or like different things, have different interests and still be unique and be o’kay with it?
The answers to these questions can at times cause social conflict. Most people want to sway the opinion of another instead of accepting that their opinion may be different. Today, we’re going to talk about why we care about others opinions and how we can stand our ground even when what we think doesn’t align with someone else.
Are you a people pleaser?
Does what others think override what you think? If so, you may be a people pleaser? Psychology today lists ten characteristics of a people pleaser. They are:
1) You pretend to agree with everyone
2) You feel responsible for how other people feel.
3) You apologize often.
4) You feel burdened by the things you have to do.
5) You can’t say no.
6) You feel uncomfortable if someone is angry at you.
7) You act like the people around you.
8) You need praise to feel good.
9) You go to great lengths to avoid conflict.
10) You don’t admit when you’re feeling are hurt.
What we must remember is that it’s o’kay to have our own opinion. But what is your opinion based on? Is it on Biblical truth? Not everything requires a bible verse, so don’t get me wrong. My jacket wasn’t a situation where I had to seek Jesus.
But in reality, if God is leading you down the road you’re going, you don’t have to answer to anyone else. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
We cannot allow another person’s opinion to guide us or take us off track.
Are you confident in what you believe?
People who are easily persuaded by the opinions of others are not confident in their own beliefs. What do I mean by that? James 1:6 says, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
I was on a cruise a few weeks ago and I looked out into the ocean and saw the waves going every which way. The swells were so high and the water literally rolled from all directions. I was on a huge ship and I felt the tremendous rocking start at one end and reach to the other. I could only imagine being a tiny boat out there. How could I navigate through waves that seemed to toss even a large ship with an experienced captain at the helm?
That’s how it is with a person between two opinions. We are easily tossed and swayed when someone with a “better” idea comes along. We aren’t stable and confident enough in our own opinion, so we allow ourselves to be taken off course with the opinions of others.
3 Ways to make your opinion matter over everyone else
1) Don’t follow the crowd.
People will always think what they do is best. Come to terms with that now and you’ll be better off moving forward.
And because they do, they will rally the troops to try and follow what they’re doing. That will make us want to jump ship too because we have a natural tendency to want to follow the crowds.
Don’t do it.
Only go where God leads you. Jesus never followed the crowds. He only cared that He was about His father’s business. And we should too.
2) Water your own lawn.
The grass always looks greener on the others side, but common sense tells us the grass is greener where it gets the most water. Take care of what God has entrusted you with and you’ll flourish.
3) Don’t let the opinions of others keep you up at night.
If you’re thinking about what other people want from you, they have too much power over you. Your opinion matters as long as it’s founded on biblical truths. Remember that and reel your thoughts back in.
My challenge for you today is to start thinking about how you can trust in your own opinions. Are they founded on truth? Are you being led by God? You may need to answer those questions and then have some serious conversations with the Lord.
Opinions are powerful. They persuade us, guide us, and hinder us. They shape our thoughts and they occupy space in our minds. They’re not always healthy and sometimes they’re good for us. We need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to understand the difference.
For more on this topic, listen to episode 7 of Her Faith Inspires, “Why Do You Care What They Think”.
My opinion is that you’ll get lots of inspiration.