On The Topic Of Opinions

Recently at Toronto IC Meet-Up, a Bible study I attend, Pastor Q was speaking on the topic of other people's opinions. The key verse was Proverbs 29:25, and we discussed in particular the Message translation which reads, "The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that."

I love the use of the word "disables" here, because it's so damn appropriate. How often have other people's opinions of you prevented you from being/doing/achieving what you are meant to? For myself, I have definitely experienced the paralysis that can come from putting too much stock into what others think. 

I was thinking tonight about some of the lies that people have told me about myself. There are words that have been said in an instant that sliced into me, leaving scars for years. These words defined my idea of who I am, and oftentimes disabled me. It has only been in holding up these untruths against what is true and right about me that I could see the ridiculousness of some of these statements.

A few examples? While we were dating I was called a stupid bitch by an ex who rarely spoke highly of any woman, so why would I be an exception? I was called a groupie slut in high school by "friends," even though I was a virgin, because I enjoyed live concerts and occasionally met musicians. I was called a "black widow" by an athlete with whom I had a painful on-again, off-again fling, because he wasn't willing or able to see the parts of me that nourish and protect those I love. I've been called crazy for caring about a wide range of topics. I've been called fat a multitude of times. I could go on and on.

The point is that people only see parts of you that they want to, or are able to. You're not responsible for the scales over their eyes that obstruct their view of you. Of course, if you know there is truth to others' criticism of you, you can use it as a catalyst to change, but that doesn't mean you have to carry around that damage permanently after you've made progress.

Life-Altering Events Altering Our Perceptions

Maybe it wasn't harsh words that shaped how you view yourself, but rather how you were raised or traumatic events. This is common, sadly. Maybe your parent was an addict and you took their unwillingness to quit as proof that you were't worth getting clean for. Maybe you were abused and your young mind believed you must have done something to deserve it. Maybe you were bullied for being different, and you began to feel shame about your unique identity. Usually these ideas are deep and subconscious, but they can poison so many of our self-beliefs.

It is so important to have a keen sense of who you are so that when you are assailed by negativity you will stand firm. As a Christian I find it helpful to read what the Bible says about me, that I am loved, cherished, protected, and strong. That is an opinion I respect, one that nourishes me.

Maybe you're not religious, but you may have mantras that have helped you through hard times. Whatever reminds you of your utter bad-assness, use it! And if you have the opportunity to unpack your past in counselling or therapy, I can't recommend it enough. What is hidden can't heal.

Build 'Em Up, Buttercup!

On the flip side, now that we've acknowledged the power that negative words can have over one's self-belief, it is important to get into the habit of speaking life over others.

Recently I was told that I am meant to use my gifts to teach others. The women who spoke these words to me barely knew me, but she felt a pull from God to share. I took this message to heart and felt strengthened by it, because it reinforced some positive ideas I had been cultivating within myself. Maybe, in part, it was the push I needed to finally start a blog after all these years.

So I started a blog that I hope will teach, empower, and provoke others. Maybe my blog will reach someone who will make a positive change that will create a chain reaction of positivity all around them. All because this woman shared these invigorating words with me. You see how powerful words can be?

I try to use my words to call out the goodness I see in others, and I know it's rare because so many people seem shocked when I do. We need to change that! Sure, it often takes more than just a few kind words to completely change others' lives, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

* * * * *

We so often live our lives disabled by negative opinions - either our own or others' - but this doesn't need to be the case. If no one else tells you this today, I want you to know that you are NOT what others think, or what has happened to you, or that thing you did that makes you feel ashamed. You are a human being, constantly evolving, who is allowed to make mistakes and grow and become the best version of yourself. Believe this, and the possibilities are endless. To get started, post a compliment to yourself in the comments! Reinforce the good in you ❤️


  1. Love this post! I try not let the things people say about me hurt me but it does sometimes. I know I'm not a mean or hurtful person so I shouldn't dwell on things that are said behind my back. I know that I am a caring and kind person who goes out on the limb for others.🙂

    1. 100%! It is so important to know who we really are and not listen to anything that tries to contradict that truth. Thank you for sharing!

  2. As a recovering people-pleaser, this totally hits home. We don't need to care about other people's opinions. Other people's labels on us do not define us. We can find our true identity in Christ. You never know what someone's going through. Thanks for sharing this. I would love to connect (my blog is byladybry.com). Sounds like our blogs are quite similar. I'm striving to help women share their testimonies.

    1. Amen! I completely agree. Thank you for sharing and connecting, I will definitely link your blog when I get home tonight 💗

  3. Great post! I came to the same conclusion after watching a pastor speech about the need to know our identity in Christ in order not to be manipulate by people and their words

    1. It's such a powerful message, eh? I'm so glad this spoke to you! <3

  4. So encouraging! And beautifully written!

    1. Aw, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it <3


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