How to Decrease the Influence of Others

I am convinced the media is playing a key role in making the economy worse. All of the radio, television, and newspaper articles impact you even if you think they don’t. I hear that spending is down, that companies are failing, that tens of thousands of people are losing their jobs. I worry about my own future. I cancel a vacation.

But every restaurant I go to is packed. The parking lot at the mall is full. So far, I’m having a good year. But I can’t shake what other people are saying. I am listening to others and ignoring my own reality! What does this say about me?

It has made me think about how I do this in other ways. I may like my new haircut, but if someone says it’s too short or doesn’t compliment me on it, I wonder if it’s so great. I read books about relationships and somehow think those people know more about me than I do! How can I be open to advice and the opinions of others, but not let it override my own experience and judgment?

1.) Do a reality check. Have many people voiced the same opinion? Do you think there is truth in what they are saying? What is your experience? Determine your true net worth before you let a stranger tell you you’re broke. If you get joy from your relationship, don’t let an expert tell you it’s bad for you.

2.)Know that ultimately, you know what’s best for you. You know yourself better than anyone else does. If you can take the time to examine and learn from your mistakes, they will teach you more than some outside authority. I do a lot of training, but I always tell my audience members that if something else has worked for them in the past – go with that. I do not have all the answers. And anyone who tells you they do is suspect.

3.)Take the time to know what you think. Some of us go off searching for answers before we’ve even thought about the questions. If I take the time to journal – to sit down and write out how I really feel and what I really think about an issue – I usually gain clarity. I discover that I often know what to do. I may not want to take the action I should, but deep down, I know.

4.)Research the source. I think we’ve been taught to seek outside experts and sometimes those experts are truly qualified and helpful. Sometimes their track records are no better (or worse) than our own. One relationship expert I thought was great had been married more than four times! Is she really the best person to give advice? Many web sites have an ulterior motive for their information – they want you to buy a solution from them. Always check your sources.

5.)Ask yourself why you are seeking outside confirmation. Usually when I am most influenced by others is when I am afraid or lonely or in a bad place. I don’t need confirmation when I’m happy. When I’m happy, I know I’m doing what’s best for me! And, if I am honest, I’m not really looking for information. I’m looking for comfort or reassurance or a guarantee. And that is simply not something these outside sources can give.

Sometimes we are looking for outside sources to tell us that what we already know is wrong. I read so many postings by people asking for help with their relationships. They already know the other person is not interested, but they are hoping someone online will give them a bit of hope. They want hope, not information, not the truth.

6.)You may have to limit the amount of information you let in. Maybe you don’t need to watch the news every night or read the paper every day. If reading about things you cannot control is stealing your joy, stop reading about them. Maybe you don’t need to search online and ask strangers for answers. Maybe you already know what to do – you just don’t want to do it.

I am a big believer in learning and growing, and I do think there is a tremendous amount of information in the world we can learn from. But I also know the difference between learning something helpful and being influenced in a negative way. One brings you power and joy and the other makes you feel afraid and weak. Use your gut as your guide. If you pay attention, you will know when you need more information and when you just need to apply what you already know.



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