Jan 13 / Shannon McGuire

Other People’s Opinions

We are bombarded by programs and opinions.

Perception = what you see

Perspective = how you see

Belief = why you see it

Childhood conditioning is a tough mindset to break. From birth we are bombarded with the programs, opinions and beliefs of others. Our parents and caretakers are the main source of the initial lessons we learn in life. And like us, they were subjected to the teachings of their parents. Most of the parenting principles in our society focus on punishment and control—ensuring that kids, “act” a certain way. Parents want obedient children and are sometimes unaware how much this impacts their freedom to grow their natural gifts and abilities. How many of our children feel loved for who they are versus what they accomplish or how well they behave?

After our parents we learn from our siblings and friends. Socialization is so heavily touted as important for youth, yet without focused intention we can lose them to the world. Social media, television, movies, songs, and magazines—all at their finger tips. We have to stop and ask ourselves are we raising our children or is the world raising them? 

Those who follow “majority thinking” end up as sheep following others along the path most traveled. 

When it comes to outside opinions, always question the source. Don’t allow the expectations of others to override your values. Unsolicited advice givers—often from those closest to you—are quick to tell you how to live, what to do, and how to do it. Their advice is typically rooted in talking to their past selves or based on their personality and what they’d do for themselves. Interestingly these may be people that claim to love you, yet there is a strong focus on holding hostage to their beliefs. 

Family conditioning can be a great source of angst. We can feel guilty and obligated to obey our family’s expectations and will cast aside our own desires to conform to their beliefs. How many people do you know that have been beat down by family disapproval over something they were sincerely passionate about? How many people do you know that have been pressured to achieve greatness? 

We are on this earth to grow into the people we are meant to be—maximizing our fullest potential. To do this we have to listen to the calling inside of us. It may be a whisper or a loud shout. Either way, it may come at the risk of casting aside familial obligations of conformity. Most people are risk adverse and they want you to be, too. Change is ambiguous and scary. If you have no clue what will happen next, in their mind its better to be safe than sorry. But is that YOUR belief or theirs? Is that program and opinion suitable for you?