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“What others say of me matters little; what I myself say and do matters much.”
Elbert Hubbard (Artwork by Cindy DeLuz)

I was in the shower when I remembered my friend saying she has a thing about people’s feet being clean and manicured. Even though I was rushed to get to our lunch date, I spent an extra minute or so on foot care before I dried and dressed.

This is just one humorous story among plenty that aren’t. I have many more stories where I allowed what others said to determine my actions.

Dismissing distracting voices (and standing on our own two pedicured feet) makes it easier to stay our course. But that’s not as simple as it sounds, especially if you tend to trust others’ opinions more than you trust your own, as I often do.

Here are four sayings that help me.

  • Praise and criticism go down the same drain.
“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame.
I simply follow my own feelings.”
~ Wolfgang Amadeus MozartThis took a while to wrap my head around because while I go out of my way to avoid criticism, I want praise. Putting credence in either one means turning our self-esteem over to someone else and asking, “What do you think of me? Am I okay or not?”

Michael Hyatt shares a link on his blog that illustrates this best – Matt Ragland’s recollection of a story about empty blessings and angry curses.

  • You spot it, you got it.

What we see in others is likely a part of our personality. Psychologists call it projection when we assign our unlikable traits to others, like calling attention to a friend who talks too much; all the while, we’re talking too much. If someone criticizes you, chances are they’re talking about themselves, and vice versa.

  • What others think of you is none of your business.

We’d be better off to mind our own business. If negativity does come our way, it’s best to live by the quote that says something like “Live so people won’t believe it.”

  • Others really aren’t thinking about you. They’re thinking about themselves.

Most of us are self-absorbed, with plenty of problems and projects of our own. Even if we make a gossip column, it’s short-lived.

Whose voice is louder, your own or someone else’s?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – It’s wise to learn from what others say about you and your work. It’s unwise to be distracted by it.

On the side: This post was inspired by Carol Anne Wright Swett’s blog post about Velcro at Confessions of a Fraidy Cat.

Artwork used by permission from Cindy DeLuz @ An Artsy Chick Dares To Dream.

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