Once upon a time in whatever-the-fuck-that-land-is-called, people went about their jolly good ways, greeting each other with enthusiasm, helping one another with everyday tasks, and generally being abnormally kind and loving to everyone around them. People would help their neighbors out, and once the hard work was done, they’d swap stories and enjoy each other’s company. Advice would be relayed, lives would improve, and society would be generous, happy, and whole.
You’re probably thinking this is absolutely absurd, and you’re right. In today’s world you generally don’t get the help you need when you want it, and get told the way you should run things when you don’t care. But at one time, that’s how this world rolled. We had each other’s backs, and everyone treated one another, even strangers, with kindness and respect.
We Don’t Live in a Perfect World
If you had a perfect version of life, it would go something like this: when you needed help, only those closest to you would meddle in your business to lend a helping hand, and they’d stop short of trying to tell you what to do. Because no one likes being told what to do. That’s a fact, and you can’t argue it. Even if you think you disagree, let someone tell you what to do. Then come and tell me you disagree. Either way, here’s the problem: everyone seems to enjoy meddling in your business to lend their mouths to the tune of absolute crap.
There’s two facts in life you have to understand. One, people have opinions, and they have a lot of them. Two, people will inevitably push their opinions (of which they have many) onto you. How can you avoid this altogether? You can’t – but you can look at it as an opportunity to learn a couple things.
People who push their opinions on you are insecure. There’s nothing deeper to analyze, because there’s no need to. Sure, trying to find out what causes their insecurity could lead you down a rabbit hole, but what’s the point? Worry about yourself, just like they should be doing. But since that won’t happen because we don’t live in some ideal world, you should realize that…
…opinions will be pushed on you from two groups – those who you know, and those who you don’t. Generally, friends or family will try to push their views in a half-hearted attempt to steer you in a certain direction. This is especially true if they think you’re about to go off-roading in the mud with a two-wheel drive Honda. Your significant other (or lack thereof), your career, your religious beliefs – all easy targets of the dreaded “I think you should….”.
The other coin flip is opinions pushed from people who you don’t know. The kind that will tell you in passing that your hair would suit your face better if it wasn’t so red, that being vegan or a meat-eater is wrong, or you should smile more often. Hey, guess what? Not every day is a beaming ray of sunshine that requires a smug grin plastered on your face for the 18 hours of the day you’re awake. Yes, you should make an attempt to fake-it-til-you-make-it, including fighting feelings of self-doubt and lack of confidence, but that doesn’t mean everyone is Joel Osteen on demand for every waking hour. You can be happy without smiling sometimes. Not every day will be a winning combination of feeling like you’re a million bucks. So no, I don’t need to smile just because you think I do.
But I Respect My Friend’s Opinions At Times..
Friends, family, significant others, and people you consider close to you will a lot of times tell you like it is, including their views on how you do this or do that. And there’s nothing wrong with that sometimes, since it can lead to healthy discussions. The key difference is that when something is pushed or forced on you, the intent is different. Every action, good or bad, has intent behind it. And it’s fairly easy to tell when the intent is misguided in nature.
Your best line of defense is to inevitably expect that someone will force his or her opinion on you. Here’s the kicker – instead of being blindsided by it, take note right now that it will happen to you, and the solution is to know that and have a somewhat canned answer prepared. This is especially true when it’s coming from someone you see in passing. We all fantasize about coming up with some absolutely slick and sarcastic reply when it’s put in our face, but reality proves a different story. Instead, we fantasize about what we could have said, dwelling the next few days on all the possibilities we could’ve spoon-fed them into their smug ass face.
So, give yourself a second to sit there and actually visualize two scenarios: how you’d respond when someone you know well inevitably tries to force their opinion on you, and how you’d respond when someone you don’t know says something in passing that may catch you off guard.
Because let’s face it, we all know that stupid ass quote – “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” Except the problem is everyone has 10,000 opinions, and you’re bound to be forced to listen to a few.