Your Point of View is Valid Too

People regularly question themselves based on another person’s opinion or point of view. That can be very healthy when used in a way to make sure that you are on track with who you want to be and with your goals, seeing if the new point of view offers a better way to be. This type of assessment allows you to determine if a point of view is useful to you. If it is, you can then integrate it in a manner that suits you personally, rarely in the exact form that you heard it. If it isn’t useful, you keep the point of view you already had.

Yet how many times do people hear a point of view or opinion and have the belief that it either negates the one they have or raises so many questions that they doubt themselves? People can be very sensitive to a point of view, especially if they already have fears or judgments on themselves. There are many people who have never learned that they can have a point of view that has as much value if not more than the ones that they hear from others.

When your position is questioned; what you think or believe, who you are, what you do, what you say, how you say it, how you dress, how you look, when anything about you is questioned or confronted, what do you do? How do you respond? Do you wonder if the other person is right about you? Do you start to feel badly about yourself based on this other person’s words? Or do you react in anger and feel that they are wrong, feeling like you are under attack?

Yet what has changed from before that person spoke? The only thing that really happened was that some sounds were uttered that were processed by your brain to form words that consequently had some meaning in your head. Nothing else happened and nothing changed other than the meaning you placed on it. Why did that person’s sounds/words suddenly take on such significant meaning for you?

Think about your various opinions and points of views and think about what makes you right or not right about what you think and feel. What makes another persons point of view have more or less value than your own? How do you know if your point of view is right or not? What if you aren’t’ right? What do you do then? How do you make up for it?

All these questions, while valid, could drive a person crazy if this process happened every time you listened to somebody else. The bottom line answers are that other people’s opinions or points of view are only right for the people that have them. No other person’s point of view should automatically have value for you. Your own point of view, whether it is right or wrong, is the right one for you.

How can a wrong point of view be right? Because it is part of you’re personal learning curve and the growth that you need to go through. You learn through your experiences. As long as you are responsible for your own actions and words and take responsibility for their consequences, you have a right to believe in what you choose to believe in. When you find that your point of view no longer suits you, you change it.

Do you have an emotional reaction when other people tell you what they think, especially when it is not in line with your beliefs? What meaning are YOU giving to what you are hearing? Everyone is entitled to express what they think or believe, whether it is about you, to you, to somebody else or about somebody else.

People say things for a number of reasons. They may just feel like talking and that happens to be on their mind. They may have a need to feel important or feel they have something of value to say. They may have a need for approval or for wanting you to like them. They may think that they are being helpful, relating back to their own personal experiences. They may be making assumptions, without having al the facts. There are so many more possibilities.

When you react, are you reacting because you have not dealt with that issue within yourself yet? Why get upset with the other person for just saying words? Just say “thank you for sharing that with me” and change the subject. Reflect on their words later if you want, ask yourself why that issue bothers you, and look for ways to deal with it on your own or with help.

When you react, you are making assumptions about the meaning behind peoples words. Even if their intention is not in line with yours, so what? Why isn’t your point of view or opinion strong enough to withstand the strongest of questioning or opposition? What can you do differently to stop making other people’s point of view have so much impact in your life?

The answer is in increased self-awareness. As you get more comfortable with yourself, other people’s opinions or points of view stop having so much meaning unless you see something that might be of value n making yourself a better person. Then the only meaning lies in assessing how what you heard can be integrated into your own point of view. Just be sure about what you believe…for yourself. Stop trying to convince, change somebody’s mind, etc. Just be clear and strong within yourself about beliefs.

So the next time you get upset over what someone is saying, stop your thoughts and think to yourself, “I don’t really know why they are saying that, so I have to stop making it personal to me. I need to change the subject, step back and think about this later.” Then try saying “thank you for sharing that with me” and change the subject or excuse yourself. The act of acknowledging what is said will be enough of a response for most people.

Other factors that come into play when you react are tiredness, stress, challenges, physical health, emotional health, being hungry, etc. These are all factors that affect how you feel in any given moment. Sometimes we become more sensitive because of these additional factors and forget to cut ourselves and others some slack. Deal with the more pressing issues first.

Later, when you look back at what was said, go through the exercise of imagining all the different reasons why that person felt compelled to say what they did. Only think of possibilities that do NOT involve you. The key here is to stop making things personal to you. If you disagree with what was said, then confirm what you choose to believe…to yourself.

Then look at yourself honestly. Are you sensitive about this topic because it is something that you need to look at? Maybe you haven’t had time to deal with this issue. Maybe you just don’t know what to do differently. Maybe it just overwhelms you. Maybe it triggers feelings of your parent’s disapproval from your past. Try to see it for what it is and vow to work on that, instead of reacting to triggers and thinking that the person opposite you is the issue.

Ewa Schwarz 

Thank you for your continued support.

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