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Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Throughout my childhood, my mother often referred to me as ugly and reinforced constantly that I would never amount to anything. In one chapter, as a direct quote from my memoir cruel, my mother said to a young man called Shaun, whom she befriended:-

“Shall I tell you what I see; an ugly girl, that’s what I see. She’s got goofy teeth and is scrawny, especially those thin ugly legs.

I mean who would be stupid enough to fancy her. Would you Shaun…well would you. No I didn’t think so.

Somebody might take pity on her, but I doubt it. I should’ve given her away at birth she has always been a drain and stopped me having the freedom to meet someone decent after her father abandoned us. Who would want me, having to take on that a Ugly thing.”

The thing is, I find it really interesting that certain figures in our life can have such a massive impact on how we perceive ourselves, the choices we make in life and the lives we lead. Our parents, spouses, teachers, friends, colleagues, bosses, political and entertainment figures can all leave their imprint.

These comments could have left me scarred for life, at first they did, it ate at me, I hated how I looked. But over time, enough was enough, I changed my thinking and I started to love but most of all respect myself and learn that others negativity towards me, was their opinion or issue and not mine.

There seems to be a lot of people these days that are negative and have an opinion on how others should live their lives. They try to imprint their agenda on what we should wear, how much you should weigh, what you should look like or what you should be doing with your life.

By trying to chase another person’s ideal or dream, because you want to fit in, be liked or even popular, problems begin to manifest themselves in how you see yourself and over time, this can negatively impact your self-esteem; among other things. The truth, of course, is that because you are beautifully unique, you can never be them, and they can never be you. Infact, being anything else but you is a recipe for disaster.

Your self-esteem rests wholly on how you see yourself. This is not only a universal truth - it is a personal choice. What gets in the way of choosing to see yourself in a very positive way, can rest often on how you accept or reject the views, opinions and belief systems of others.

When others and by others I mean: friends, family, fashonistas, the media, alleged life gurus, celebrities, colleagues and bosses - try to insist that the way they see the world and live their life, is the best model for your life; what they are really saying is one thing.

‘You’ve got aspects of your life all wrong but you wouldn’t’ – if you followed their way. Now this doesn’t dismiss sound advice about health, wellbeing and safety but even these elements of life are a personal choice.

However, when someone is insisting you follow a particular course of action that you don’t feel is for you and then they judge you for dismissing their advice, it becomes a sad reflection of their ego.

After all, their approach contradicts one of the Universal laws of life, which is, that we all have free agency: the right to make choices and live by what follows.

Let me give you an example.

The tendency to add weight to someone’s negative view of us, can be found in most social interactions that range from bullying to weight shaming and from acidic Facebook comments to peer pressure.

But believing another’s negative opinion of you is solely dependent on you doing two things. Firstly, accepting that their opinion is fact. And secondly, that their negative observation of you, is not representative of your whole identity, character, potential, personality, likeability, intelligence and beautiful uniqueness.

Remember: You are not the sum of others opinion.

The negative language of others is couched in absolutes and prophetic statements, all designed to introduce doubt, fear or pressure into your life, and often under the guise that they have your best intentions at heart.

If you want to accept someone’s negative opinion of you, then that of course is your choice. But you don’t have to. As I said I was frequently told I was ugly and unlovable, but I have not let that define who I am and what I can achieve; I have learnt to love myself for who I am and I really don’t care now of others opinion.

I would highly recommend that you don’t let others opinions negatively change your identity, the person you really are and what you want to achieve in life. Why would you want to do that?

So, I would like to offer three suggestions to combat the negative opinions of others.

Firstly, you have total power over whether you accept a negative opinion of you into your life. So don’t let it impact you.

There is a well-known saying that “some people are venomous”, the saying speaks for itself. But you can never die from a snakebite, it is the venom that seeps into the veins and throughout the body that causes the pain and in some circumstances death. So in other words, when people are negative or unkind, shrug it off and don’t let their negativity eat at you like the venom of a snakebite. Their bite (or negative or unkind words) cannot kill you.

Secondly, opinions are just that. They represent a singular view and are based on the other person’s values, perspectives and beliefs, which may not resonate with your own, so depersonalize anything that may offend or negatively impact you. That is their opinion. No one can define you with his or her judgements.

Thirdly, Learn to love you for you, we all have perceived flaws and imperfections but they are there in order for us to grow and learn. You are beautifully unique - so give yourself a break when you make mistakes. After all, it is how we learn. And don’t let others judge you or any mistake you make.

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