Whose opinions should I care about?

  “  Thorns are modified leaves that allow cacti to survive in arid conditions. And just like those thorns, sometimes humans develop survival mechanisms to protect themselves from extreme circumstances. Some people are like cacti. Beautiful, delicate, resilient.  ”

Thorns are modified leaves that allow cacti to survive in arid conditions. And just like those thorns, sometimes humans develop survival mechanisms to protect themselves from extreme circumstances. Some people are like cacti. Beautiful, delicate, resilient.

A couple weeks ago, there was a question sitting in my inbox from a friend that shares my love and respect for Brené Brown. One of my favorite things to do (besides, well, taking pictures and eating tacos) is to read or listen to pieces of information that enrich my life, and then have a discussion with friends about it. My friend watched one of Brené Brown's presentations in which she talks about making a card with the names of people whose opinions matter to us. 

I let the question marinate in my head for a couple of days. In all honesty, I was having a hard time coming up with people for my card. At the end of the day, whose opinions really mattered to me? 

As a recovering people pleaser, letting go of people’s opinions about me is still one of my struggles. I used to care so much about how other people perceived me, that sometimes it would cause me to live paralyzed in fear. What would people think if I quit the “safe” path that I thought I had created for myself? What if I stopped being the poster child that people thought I was? Who would I let down? What would people think if I actually decided to follow my own curiosity and forget about what society makes us think we should do?

At some painful point in my life, I had to stop being a poster child to become the real me. I still struggle with wanting to please people, because as humans, we seek approval. There are times when I still want everybody to like me and I’m tempted to go against what I believe to make people happy. But I think that at this point, I am more worried about living my life with integrity and making something good out my stay on this planet than caring about what people think about me. I’m trying to make my life count, perhaps for all of those times when I didn’t want it. 

The people that would go on my card are the ones that believe in choosing to do the right thing, even when the right thing isn’t the easiest thing to do. People who extend grace and forgiveness to others (and to themselves) when the right thing isn’t as obvious, and are concerned about doing the most good possible, as well serving the world with their talents. Those are the people whose opinions matter to me.

Who would you put on your card?