“The most destructive thing I’ve ever done is believe someone else’s opinion of me”
A few weeks ago I was lined up at the sushi shop. A man came up next to me and was looking in the cabinet at the sushi. I stepped aside a little to make room for him. When it came to my turn to be served the person working behind the counter actually went to serve the man that had been standing next to me that I’d stepped aside for. The man realised I was there first and turned to me, smiled and said ‘you were here first’. I look him in the eye for a few seconds, waiting for something. Some sort or acknowledgement. But nothing. I said thank you, ordered my sushi and walked away.
Sixteen years ago on New Year’s Eve my husband & I were at a church camp. Three months after our baby had died. It was a hard night knowing we were going to be entering the new year without our son. During the nights events Ben & I went for a walk on our own. We were overwhelmed & just needed to get away from everyone. Approximately 2000 people! While we were strolling around the camp site in the dark a man walked up to us. I knew his name. In fact I think he came to our wedding. Everyone ‘knew of’ everyone but didn’t necessarily ‘know’ everyone if you get what I mean. He was my parents age and I don’t think I’d ever said more than hello to him.
He looked at us half concerned and asked ‘how are you both?” Ben answered “not great’. The man’s response haunted me for years. He said “well that’s not good enough!” – I can’t tell you how the rest of the conversation went, or even if there was any. I blanked out. Suddenly I had just taken on the weight from someone who was meant to be an authority figure in my life, that I couldn’t even grieve my child the right way.
It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve stripped away others opinions of me. Realising that they don’t define me at all, even though I’d adjusted my entire being to live within others opinions.
As I stood at the sushi shop looking in to the eyes of the man who had cut me so deeply with his words all those yeas ago, I realised he doesn’t even recognise me or know who I am. Yet I lost years of my life worrying about his opinion of me.
It took a few days for that to sink in, but it would have to be one of the most valuable lessons of my life.