I attended the e-women (entrepreneurial women) national conference last week in Dallas and was inspired by so many great thought leaders. One speaker in particular, Lisa Nicols, said something that has stuck with me. I have been sitting with it a couple of days trying to figure out why it has landed so hard and I am not sure how I feel about it. I have finally decided how I feel and I wanted to blog about it and share it with you. So, Lisa was giving an inspiring day long lecture and she told us that her grandma use to say to her…
“Honey, other people’s perception of you is none of your business.”
I loved it at the time and wrote it down in my journal and underlined it many times…but I am split between my love and disbelief in it. My love for this statement comes from a therapeutic place. As many of you know, I believe in
- healthy detachment
- self care
I believe in understanding and knowing yourself in a deep way so that you can navigate through the world a more confident person. “Other people’s perception of me is none of my business” allows for freedom to be who you are, feel how you need and want to feel without pressure from anyone else. Deep personal growth can come in the form of differentiation; staying confident in who you are and what you believe WHILE maintaining a close relationship with that other person. Most people struggle with this and instead just work on the detachment peace and not on the attunement piece which leads me to my own conflicting thought on this quote.
Going through life without being in relationship to others can be dangerous. Asking how you affect other people is a VERY powerful lesson for EVERYONE. Our intentions can be misunderstood and hurt others, if we do not ask how something has “landed” on someone else it can be damaging beyond repair. We must be bold enough at time to ask those around us “What do you think of me”, “How do I affect you”, “Have I hurt you”? That takes courage and confidence. This is true in all personal relationships; friendships, families, work relationships, clients, children and of course or significant others. We must at time take stock in HOW people perceive us, there can be amazing growth in possibly hearing something tough.
So, I continue my love/disbelief in this quote from Lisa. It sure has gotten my juices turning and for that, I am thankful! What do you think? I would love to hear from you.
Until next time…..
Jessica, my mom used to say that expression too, and I “get” what you are saying about the embracing / non-embracing around it. I waffle on it. For example, as someone who puts herself out on the web as a writer, I understand that my style of writing and topics is not for everyone. It causes me to focus on those who do enjoy what I write, and while I don’t care what the rest of the folks think, I do care what my audience thinks.
If people didn’t care what others thought, there would be no plastic surgery, hair salons, nail salons, gyms, etc. We are a society of “I wonder what others think of me” and tied in with that for a lot of folks, “Am I good enough, worthy enough, etc.” So, by standing out as an individual and saying “this is what I am focused on and believe” – as a writer, blogger, or company owner,I think people inherently are saying they don’t care if others don’t agree, and most of us are open to feedback. I love the expression AND I am always looking to improve as a professional and as a friend / family member / colleague – so I guess I’m a bit on both sides of that fence too!
Jessica, I’m torn on this one too. I have been pondering the same quote and have come to this conclusion – it depends on where you are and who’s perception it is. In my world of TV and broadcasting often perception becomes reality whether I like it or not. I have to be very careful of how I act and what perception others have. There is some freedom in knowing that when a few people try to distort the truth and call it their perception, I don’t have to worry about it because my “body of work” doesn’t support that view.
Bigger picture, for those who work in a corporate environment, the perception people have of you can both help or hurt your career opportunities. Professionals need to be aware of how it can affect their chance to advance.
Jessica, I totally understand where you are coming from feeling like you are on both sides of the statement. What I have come to believe around this statement that it is not for me to constantly be worried about how I am perceived. Sometimes people get so obsessed with others’ perception of them that they lose their own sense of self. And I believe that is the context that phrase came from. It’s a generational thing. I have full responsibility to ensure that I am doing no harm and being received in a way that is meaningful and healthy to my interactions with others. You have definitely given us much to ponder here. Thank you so very much!