Why does the opinion of others matter?

Why does the opinion of others matter?

A story :

“A king put his court to the test for an important position. Numerous powerful and wise men were around him.

“To the sages – said the king – I have a problem and I want to see which of you is able to solve it.”

He led the people to a huge door, bigger than they had ever seen. The king explains to them:

“Here you see the largest and heaviest door in my kingdom. Which of you can open it?”

Some of the courtiers just shook their heads. Others, who among the wise, looked at the door closer, but acknowledged that they could not. When the wise men said this, the rest of the court agreed that this problem  difficult to solve. Only one vizier went to the door. He examined it with him eyes and fingers, tried several possibilities to open it, and finally pulled it with a strong jerk. And the door opened. It had been left open only, not completely closed, and nothing else was necessary except the willingness to accomplish something and the courage to act with boldness.

The king said: “You will receive the post from the court, so long as you do not rely only on what you see or hear; you put your own powers into play and have the courage to risk a trial.”

(Nossrat Peseschkian. “Oriental Stories as an Instrument of Psychotherapy”)

Some aspects of this story can be understood:

How we perceive our own forces determines how we evaluate reality

A good self-image determines us to “risk a trial”, while accepting that we may achieve something or we may fail but, anyway, it is worth trying

A negative self-image makes us avoid an action by evaluating it as being beyond our powers

A negative self-image makes us influential to the negative opinions of others that we take “good” and adds to our negative opinions about ourselves

Why does the opinion of others matter?

Although, the self-image is our mirror in our own consciousness (self-mirroring), being logical thus to have internal referent, the self-image often sustained or sabotaged by external factors, as seen in the story.

The question “Why do other people’s opinions matter” would be more logical than the form “For whom does the opinion of others matter?” The answer is simple: the opinion of others matters to those who have not consolidated their self-image and, specifically, to those who, at the base, do not have a good self-image, who constantly need to relate to the outside.

When they successful they feel good but for a short time, becoming dependent on success to feel good and when they fail they blamed excessively. They live in constant uncertainty and anxiety, being always vulnerable because their self-image is dependent on external factors.

This explains the different “trends” that affect adolescents: if the external reality demands to be weak and you are uncertain about the self-image, you will understand that you are good and accepted if you are weak, but that never fully satisfies you because, being basally dissatisfied with yourself or uncertain about you, you will never be weak enough. Thus appears anxiety, dissatisfaction, uncertainty and vicious circle of anxiety, depression, anorexia, bulimia etc.

Why is the opinion of others important?

When there is a realistic perception of yourself (you know your qualities but accept that you have flaws) and, implicitly, a good self-image, the external reality confirms or denies what you already know about yourself and helps you improve what you have, where appropriate.

Where does the self-image come from?

The basis of how we perceive ourselves comes from childhood, when we do not yet have a system of values ​​to relate to. We have only parents’ opinion of our acts.

Parents are the first people who can value us for what we do or penalize us for the wrong things. For example, an extremely critical attitude of parents makes the child understand that it is not good enough, that it is “not perfect”.

One of the ways of “evolution” when the child becomes a teenager is to look for those “trends” that will make him “better, more interesting, more accepted / bil”, looking for a community to accept him as he is (by Emo) or, as a teenager and then an adult, keeps his or her self-esteem, thus making his / her existence self-sabotaging as described above. (Modes of “evolution” in the case of exaggerated criticism of parents are many but are not the subject of the present material).

An extremely permissive attitude with exaggerated praise and lack of penalties makes the future “man” have an extremely good opinion of himself but an exaggerated and unrealistic fact which will “penalized” severely in his future relationships, as mentioned above.

These are just two extreme parenting attitudes that can orient the image in one direction or another, and there are others but again they are not the subject of the present material.

In conclusion: the balance between criticism and praise is first and foremost the responsibility of parents, so children and future adults will know how to maintain it.

Parents are also the first to find inside their children the basis of the system of values ​​to which they will relate, being adults, when they will outline their self-image.

Why does the opinion of others matter?

Clinical practice has shown that people with low self-image label themselves as “realistic” and do not see the connection between self-image and parental attitude.

“My mother did not tell me that I was stupid, it  proved by reality.” But such people do not realize that the way we perceive reality and values: right, wrong, stupid, smart, beautiful, ugly, etc. they are not born but assimilated through the “parental filter”.

A child when born  not have the notion of good or bad, it  good that the mother appreciates and bad what criticizes and, yes, the cited person is right in a way: it  not necessary for the mother to verbally criticize an action of the child but to- she gave him meaning, to prove to her that she was bad (the same abuse manifested in another way).

Sure, children will have to be “clear” about what is good and bad, but otherwise, in addition, here  the age at which the basics of self-esteem and self-image are put (0 – 3 years), when, I repeat the child being a purely emotional entity can only reason well / badly after the parents’ reactions. (Thus, it may be bad – evaluation given by the child after the mother’s implosive reaction – and that it was prevented when she was just learning to walk …).

What can we do?

If the inner dialogue mentioned above “sabotages” us we can ask ourselves in our inner forum: “in fact, whose inner voice is: the mother, the father, another important person for us in childhood?” This is an absolutely necessary first step, but not enough. It recommended for an effective result to explore these questions and answers with the help of a specialized person, a psychotherapist, because self-esteem does not build suddenly, it not an easy process especially if the self-image seriously affected, but it represents a complex and lasting process, in which the fundamental element , the desire and the ability to take care of one’s own person.

But until you decide to turn to a specialist person there are some other things you can do:
  • make a list of achievements so far (the most insecure of you may ask others but only people you value and in your opinion, because the corner seller can tell you that you are not social enough for that you did not want to wait a while to hear his soap operas)
  • analyze objectively what qualities you used for their achievement (people with low self-image will certainly attribute the successes to external factors but on the principle “God gives you, but do not put yourself in a sad state”, it obvious whether the external factors were was able to promote success – which  also normal – the road to achieving that success  due to the person who had the ability to use external factors – this in itself a quality)
  • “celebrate” any success, boast in yourself for accomplishing any thing because you “trapped him”, you could have passed very well beside him … not having the courage to risk a trial. . or you could simply not have the courage to want that thing in faith that you can’t get it
Some other things you can do
  • turn failure into feed-back: than to blame yourself for failing to better analyze what went wrong and you can improve in the future or what you did wrong and you may not repeat in the future. Remember that self-talk is sabotaging now, but later, creating that vicious circle
  • start with small steps, big steps can unbalance you. If you are the kind of person who avoids acting out of fear of not failing and postponing things for the same reason I suggest you make a daily list with some easy goals to reach, then at the end of the day analyze what went well and what didn’t. thus, decisions accordingly for the next day. After a month of such practice set bigger and longer term goals. Be patient and persevere in this technique, you will take small but safe and steady steps. Achieving personal goals, no matter how small, contributes to strengthening one’s self-esteem and improving one’s self-image

Why does the opinion of others matter?

Equally important in strengthening the self-image is the awareness and satisfaction of the fundamental needs of man, as A. Maslow (1968) put them in the well-known pyramid of human needs. I will present here the version adapted by the Romanian psychologists Corneliu Augustin Sofronie and Roxana Zubcov in their book “Psychology of order. Quantum psychology” (Perfect Publishing, 2005):

  1. The need for ideals, heroes, perfection, high values ​​of humanity
  2. The need for fulfillment (self-realization, to reach what you can reach to feel fulfilled)

VIII. The need for social manifestation (social intelligence, acceptance as a social individual, social integration)

ARE YOU COMING. The need for morality (knowledge, aesthetics and ethics, rules that maintain social order)

  1. The need for social utility, prestige, success through profession, school
  2. Need for dynamic inner balance for openness to the world (the balance between micro and macro, between individual and social)
  3. The need for proximity (belonging to a group, the need for a friendly space, for recognition)

III. The need for identity (family – knowing and accepting origins as a basis for personal identity formation) or “the need for identity and self-image” (K. Horney)

  1. The need for inner harmony, self-confidence and safety in general (you can plan your life without fear of danger), the need for a partner, or “the need for affection and approval for inner balance” (K. Horney)
  2. Primary needs (food, shelter, clothing, hygiene, sex) translated into the need for independence and freedom, or “the need for freedom and superficiality” (K. Horney).

Even if the lower (primary) needs are urgent and  required to be fulfilled, they are a little short and very short term. But for a good self-image, well-consolidated and of superior duration are very satisfactory.

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