Does it matter?

June 29, 2010
Image by Todd Ehlers via Flickr

“I don’t feel like a 60-year-old when I look in the mirror,” said a friend the other day. “I feel so much younger!”

I responded, “I feel like I am still in my early 20s!”

She went on to say…”Yeah but for the person watching me cross the street at a traffic signal, I am an old lady.”

Does it matter?” I asked.

It sparked a half-hour conversation about age, looks, bodies, minds, and what not.

What stayed with me was how much value we attach to people’s opinions.

What someone might think or say about us to our face or behind our backs.

It doesn’t even matter sometimes whether we know that person.

We still get affected by a glance, a word, a grouchy expression.

We self-doubt.  We question. We wonder what they really meant when they said, “Isn’t that outfit for teenagers?” or “Pink really isn’t your color.”

Especially we women.

We get so hung up on the facade, we forget what truly matters is what’s inside the shell.

Image by GasBombGirl via Flickr

While tummy tucks may make you look good on the outside, regular exercise is what’s going to keep you fit on the inside.

Our motivation to do anything for ourselves shouldn’t rest solely upon what others think of us.

I used to get really worked up when acquaintances made snide comments about my short hair: “You are so Americanized!” or when I colored part of my hair red: “You just want to look different, don’t you?”

My mom always had short hair, so it has nothing to do with my “Americanization.” And it’s my hair — I can color it a bright fluorescent green if I want to!

I’d have restless nights, when three years ago, at social get-togethers, people would earnestly tell me, “You really should have children. You aren’t getting any younger, you know.”

Or when they’d tell me to “Wear perfume, get manicures, look fresh and young,” so my husband wouldn’t stray.

Those folks didn’t matter.

But instead of saying, “It’s none of your business,” or “I don’t need your tips,” I’d let myself get wrapped up in a tornado of emotions.

I’d start wondering what people thought of me.

What they said about me when I wasn’t around.

If they thought I was a snooty b*#ch!

It took a couple of years, but I’ve wisened up now.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t judge myself through anybody’s lens but my own.

I don’t care what a random stranger thinks of me or the picture that acquaintances paint of who I am.

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t base my self-perception on what I am according to you.

The few friends I have, my in-laws, and my parents know certain aspects of me and I value their thoughts and their opinions. I may not agree with all of them, but I will at least give them some thought.

My life partner has peeled several more layers to get to know the real person inside. And for me, his opinion has a lot more pull.

Tony Anders phrased it beautifully in his post, The Uninvited:

The only leverage an opinion has is our acknowledgement of it.

So, the next time, you start worrying about someone else’s hurried evaluation or judgmental analysis of you — stop and ask yourself, “Does it really matter?”

More often than not the answer will be, “No!”

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Does it matter?

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14 Responses to Does it matter?

  1. VyankateshNo Gravatar on June 29, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Good post Mansi.

    I will always remember “Does it really matter?”. :-)

    But one more thought – quite silly though.

    If this is what we think when someone passes a remarks on us, should we say the same before we pass some remark on someone else – and make a conscious decision to refrain from passing it.

    Rightly enough, I have not been able to decide about the last part. It is a question which will be difficult to answer.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on June 29, 2010 at 10:48 am

      Thanks, Vyankatesh. And great addition to the post! Everyone is judgmental — some to a greater degree than others. Most of us don’t show our judgmental streak, but all said and done first impressions evoke a definite reaction. I think we should try to refrain from providing unsolicited advice or being hasty in our evaluation of others, just as we would expect of them. What we see of someone is usually just one aspect of their personality — it’s not the whole person.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mike Padgett, Mansi. Mansi said: How much weight do you give other people’s opinions of yourself? […]

  3. YogasavyNo Gravatar on June 29, 2010 at 11:59 am

    If you believe, trust and are true in your own spirit then that is all that counts. But are we truly ourself with all the friends and loved ones that surround us or do we share bits and pieces of ourself?
    We are seen from different aspects by different people and sometimes their version could be something that we are not ready to hear and so we choose the phrase It does not matter!
    Interesting and definitely food for though!
    Thank You Mansi

    • MansiNo Gravatar on June 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm

      That’s true, Yogasavy. We are only true to ourselves…sometimes even that doesn’t come easy. Everybody else sees different personas.

  4. varshaNo Gravatar on June 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Oh! Mansi,This rings a bell.
    -each time we stop to think about other’s opinions we should ask ourselves:what’s more important?Our freedom to be ourselves or a slavish desire to make people like us?

    • MansiNo Gravatar on July 6, 2010 at 9:56 am

      I wish more people thought like that — there wouldn’t be near as much heartburn in their lives!

  5. HayaahNo Gravatar on June 29, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    And don’t it make you feel oh so much lighter once that weight is off yer shoulders ;)

    I love it when people let this truly become a part of their life. For me it happened after I read something in a book called, ”Why Men Lie and Women Cry”. The authors said something about how we react to the things that are said to us. They said (not verbatim ofc),

    – there are two things that happen when someone says something to you:

    1) If it is good and true – good for you, and if it is bad – why react? change/fix it.

    2) If it is false – why react? reacting wont make it true. It is false and u’ve got nothing to prove. This is where ”does it really matter?” comes in.

    Ive loved basing so many things in life on such a weighing out session quietly by myself, soon as I feel like I may be reacting -not- positively :D

    • MansiNo Gravatar on July 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Exactly, Hayaah. You hit the nail on the head.

  6. BillNo Gravatar on June 30, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Good for you!! You’re right on with this post. We all get so caught up with what others think & the bottom line is that it truly doesn’t matter. If we live our life through love the rest will fall into place on it’s own. There will always be people who try to hurt you or think they are helping you with their comments. The truth is they haven’t been able to discover the love they truly need to grow & change.

    Great Job Sweetie!!!



  7. Tony AndersNo Gravatar on July 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Beautifully written (and thanks for the nod btw)…
    In short I always loved the quote: “Those who mind, don’t matter; and those who matter – don’t mind! Keep up the good works!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on July 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks, Tony. You’re always an inspiration :-)

  8. Myrna RNo Gravatar on July 2, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    You write beautifully. Thanks for this. It’s a lesson I still need to learn fully, but I’m so much better at it.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on July 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks, Myrna. Appreciate your kind words. Life is a work in progress and we all get better every day — it’s all about learning, keeping an open mind, and embracing what is.


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