I’ve had the pleasure of growing up with two older sisters by my side since the day I was born. There’s a bit of sarcasm in that sentence because yes, sisters are like permanent best friends, but they’re not always rays of sunshine. We tend to fight, a lot, but I’m truly blessed to have them in my life regardless. My sisters have taught me more than they realize. One of the many gifts they’ve given me is the ability to not take things too personally. I’ve learned this through their uncanny way of being brutally honest when I need to hear it. I know they’ve made comments to me because they care, and I’ve learned to take their comments as constructive criticism instead of as personal attacks. Not taking things personally is not the easiest task in the world; I struggle with it every day, but what my sisters have taught me makes it easier, and I’d like to share them here with you.
1. “A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep” – Unknown
After quite an embarrassing mishap in a Chemistry lab, I was upset over comments made by other students in the room. I called my sister to talk about it, and her advice brought me out of my gloom. She very bluntly told me that I wasn’t a “science” person but hey, I tried my best doing the experiment, and that’s all that mattered. I shouldn’t care what the kids said; I hardly knew them anyway. What can I say? She was absolutely right. Realizing whose opinions matter gives you control, and it’s empowering to know that you have that choice of who influences your life. Think about it: How many people have a true impact on the way you feel, think, and behave? Your answer probably includes some of your family, best friends, and maybe a professor. The number is rather small compared to the amount of people you interact with on a daily basis. So why should a negative comment (intended or unintended) by someone you barely know, influence your thoughts?
2. “You are what you practice most.” –Richard Carlson
My sisters and I are completely different people. We all have opposite personalities, likes, and dislikes. I swear if we didn’t look like triplets, I wouldn’t believe we were related. The differences between us have taught me to reflect on the type of person I truly am. I think reflection is one of the most important skills to practice in life. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics can be one of the best tools in not taking comments personally. If you know yourself, you’ll know whether comments from others are an honest reflection of who you are. This takes practice, though! You live and you learn, that’s how you begin to know yourself.
3. “Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away.”- C. Joybell C.
Fashion can be quite the issue between my sisters and me. Different likes means different styles. Regardless of differences, I will ask their opinions on outfits, makeup, and hairstyles. When one says that they love it, the other says they hate it. Despite their opinions, they’ve reassured me that I need to go with what I like best and am confident in. They’ve taught me a sense of self, and that self worth comes from within. This happens when you realize you should not take negative opinions personally and to take compliments with a grain of salt. Everyone loves compliments, but a self-esteem based on the opinions of others will inevitably crumble. No one is perfect, forgive yourself for your flaws and love yourself for who you are.