Illustration by Lu Yue Wang

Being apathetic to others opinions hinders self improvement

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Satisfaction with ourselves is important. But there is a point when we have to consider the impact that we have and how it affects those around us. Settling with the “I’m happy with myself and that’s all that matters,” state of mind does not not help anyone, especially not ourselves.

I have always been the type of person to not care about what other people thought of me. That was the way that I lived my lifemy way of shielding myself from the “bad”, also known as the criticism of others. I easily mistook constructive criticism for harsh judgement, and thought that the best thing to do would be to block all of it out. I could see people’s mouths moving as they tried to give me this constructive criticism, but I could not hear it, because I did not want to hear it. In those moments when my mind worked quickly to put up a fort, I never stopped to think, “Maybe they’re just trying to help.” This apathy for hearing out varied perspectives on me was keeping me from furthering my self improvement and learning to be a better person.

According to <>, the hierarchy of whose opinions matter starts with immediate family, and then other levels of authority. The opinion of colleagues should not really matter as much, and the opinion of acquaintances should not matter at all. What is important is the opinion of those closest to us. We should not ignore the advice and critiques of those who know us best, no matter how much we disagree. At least take it into consideration.

Now, whenever I hear someone give the advice, “What matters is what you think of yourself,” I cannot help but think about what this statement really entitles. It encourages people to only think about how they see themselves and not consider any body else’s view. Humans are selfish and greedy by nature, and it is not the first time that it has been said. We only want to see the best version of ourselves, which is the way we see ourselves. It has happened to everyone, when someone tells us that we embody a certain characteristic, and we just think they are the crazy ones because we simply do not want to believe it, because we do not like it.

The way we feel about ourselves is a sensitive issue for most. I have found from personal experience that there is a fine line between not listening to meaningless banter that people say and not listening to critiques that might help us improve ourselves. It is important to learn how to sort both of them out. Although it is important to be satisfied with ourselves and the way we are, it is also important to consider the critiques that other people have for us, because it is the only way to keep improving.

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