About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Do You Think?

"I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do. That is character!" -- Theodore Roosevelt

Do you worry what other people think and ignore your own opinion? Do you find yourself trying to work out how other people will feel about a decision rather than considering your own point of view? Of course we all need to be considerate of other people's point of view and be decent and sensitive of such. But if we care too much what other people think, we live by our fears of what others think of us!

To be a truly independent and self-confident person you need to start being more self-directed. What do you think? What do you want? What is your opinion? When you start to care less what others think, you'll start living your life as not a dim reflection of what someone else thinks.

When you care too much what others think, you are open to manipulation because you will tend to go with the herd. When you care less what other people think, you become a more honest and decent person because you don't have to pretend so much.

Read the following quote very carefully:

"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." -- Theodore Roosevelt

So if you're worried about what others think of you or your opinions, perhaps it would be a good time to do some internal reflection. First, identify your strengths and weaknesses. Next, learn how you really come across toward other people. Finally, give yourself a reality check and work on some self-improvement.

I started out in life being completely overwhelmed by people in positions of authority. This came as a result of childhood training as I had an extremely controlling father. If I got in trouble at school, I'd get it even worse at home. I wasn't allowed to have an opinion on anything; rather, I was expected to be "seen and not heard." During university years, I learned that if I did NOT have an opinion on something I would quickly sink and fail.

Then I started to become a bit too aggressive and that, too, got me in trouble. It has taken many years of conscious work to learn how to be assertive without being aggressive. Sometimes it's easier to just simply give in to others' ideas and go with the flow, but after their ideas have failed, I admit I've secretly and gleefully relished in their failure. That isn't right, either.

I do try to listen with an open mind to what others think. Sometimes they can sway my opinion. Sometimes they cannot. But as long as I truly believe in what I state as my opinion and state it in an assertive manner, I cannot let others allow me to become less independent and self-confident in my being.

What are your thoughts?

Be nice....*wink*


Jo said...

Oh, gosh, where to start. I have spent my life "editing" myself too, so I would not "offend" other people. So on the odd occasion when I really voiced my opinion, people were shocked. But slowly over the years I have learned that we cannot please everyone.

Mostly, I wanted to be "nice" so everyone would "like" me. Even with my blog, I have let people influence me. (Gee... do I want to post that? Perhaps someone will take offense...) And then of course, I have had the problem of having my blog "monitored" by a family member who thinks s/he has the right to do so. Big Brother is watching you.

My blog post today is about this very subject.

"When you start to care less what others think, you'll start living your life as not a dim reflection of what someone else thinks." That is probably the best sentence I have ever read - on any blog. You should put it on your masthead! Oh, what the heck, maybe I'll put it on mine. LOL

leslie said...

I've learned over the years to just "let it go" when someone doesn't agree with my opinion on something. So what if some people don't like me - as long as they leave me alone, everyone is happy. If they interfere in my life, I tell them that I'll do what I want. It happened just the other day when one of my sisters told me not to do something. I told her I would make my own decisions about these things. She quickly turned her attitude around. I was actually surprised because she usually tends to start a sentence with something like, "I don't mean to be rude..." or "You really should...." I'm tired of it so I stood up to her - and that's a big thing with her as she's very bossy!

Smalltown RN said...

I struggle with this all the time. My husband says it as he see's it...no mincing words....it hurts sometimes...but at least I know where he's stand on a topic. I on the other hand tend to beat around the bush or make things flowery...never want to offend...but when I take the stronger approach, like you said...I to tend to get myself into trouble...oh it is such a balancing act.

I never want someone to be unkind to me...I do want the gentler approach at times...and so I try to do the same and try not to offend but sometimes that is to my own deteriment....I have kinda of lived by the motto " if you can't say anything nice..don't say anything at all"
Good food for thought Leslie....I got some homework to do.....cheers my friend...

leslie said...

I know what you mean, Mary Anne. If a woman says it like she sees it, some could call her a b*tch, but if a man were to say the same thing, he's just strong minded.

Denise said...

I have my opinions, some indeed are quite contrary to Jon's. Every now and again he will comment...smiling as he does so..but I remind him of the person I am, the woman he married, and how the situation would be so different if I was a quiet person! I remind him of the type of woman which suits him, and ask him, whilst he is up to get me a drink! "But I am not getting up!" He replies....."You are dear, you are getting me a drink!" LOL! Off he skuttles.

Elizabeth said...

I am a people-pleaser, often doing stuff I don't want to but think someone else would like.
But I think that is OK.....up to a point.
I do end up doing too much because I find it really hard to say "NO".
Aren't lots of women like that?
See Virginia Woolf's essay " The Angel in the House' where the woman has the brown meat of the chicken and sits in the uncomfy chair.....!!!

RiverPoet said...

I could really relate to what you said: that you went from not being allowed an opinion to being required to have one. Young adulthood was hard for me, because I had no idea how to find my way or to enjoy my life. I made that swing toward being too assertive/aggressive when I was in the early stages of my career. I'm glad to have found a middle ground now. I feel secure enough in myself that I can have an opinion and allow others their own.

If only parents knew how much damage they were inflicting by being so strict and stern, maybe things would be different. I felt like a newborn when I was on my own for the first time. Scared!

Of course, one could argue that parenting has gone to the other extreme now. Just listen to any tired mother trying to reason with her two-year-old in the grocery checkout!

Peace - D

Paulie said...

In person, I am kinda shy until I get to know a person. Once I feel that I fit in, I stand up for myself. I am not usually one to go speak to a stranger first. If they say hi , I introduce myself and talk casually . . . usually. This past year, I got to church and saw a "new" lady sitting in a pew behind where I was going to sit at the other end and I actually went over and introduced myself! (shock shock!) After church, I actually told her about our ladies Bible study and showed her the room and told her between services that the pastor had a Bible study in the same room. Later she told em I was the reason why she joined our church! She even belongs to our Needleworkers group and I recently taught her how to make hair pin lace crochet. So some of the shyness rubs off from me occasionally and I do step out.

Russell said...

Enjoyed your references to Teddy!! He is one of my favorite Presidents and I have always admired his independent spirit.

I remember a person said once that no one can make you feel bad - you choose to feel bad yourself. That is easy to say but hard to do. All of us care what others think.

We try to strike a balance between exercising our independence and voicing our views while at the same time trying to be socially acceptable. If a person is too far one way or the other, they are considered to be odd or not taken seriously by others.

But, yes, I agree with you completely about the need to be yourself, not get overly concerned what others think and be your own person.

I think a wise man once said the best advice is "Know Thyself"!

Take care!

nancygrayce said...

I spend way too much time "walking on eggshells". I've always wanted people to like me and have sometimes done things I really didn't want to do as a result. I have to be careful to stop and think, is this something I want to do or am I doing it so the other person will be happy? I'm getting a teeny bit better! I agree with the whole assertive/aggressive thing.

leslie said...

Appreciate all your comments, everyone! I know that at church you can be suckered into doing something you aren't really interested in doing or end up doing too much. I've found that when asked, I now respond with, "I will have to pray about that." That stops 'em every time.

starnitesky said...

I try to keep an open mind, I will stick to my opinion unless I really am wrong, of course it can depend on how my self worth is on that day!