I'm often amazed at just how much influence we allow other people to have in our lives without ever asking ourselves if that person actually deserves to have any influence at all. I see people pushed to the brink of depression by comments made by people who really don't care about them at all. I see people following the lead of others who really don't deserve to be followed at all. I see people who make important decisions about their lives based on the advice of people who really shouldn't be giving advice in the first place, because their own lives are pretty messed up when all is said and done.
someone has any influence on our lives at all, it's because we
allow that person to have that influence. Even our bosses
have influence over us because we've chosen to take a certain
job and keep it. But that doesn't mean that we should give
to them the ability to change our moods, to make us upset or
angry or frustrated. The fact is that most of the way we
feel has to do with our reactions to other people rather than
the actions that those people take.
concept that I try to teach to my students is this: if a
person does something to you that's hurtful, there are two
possibilities--that person did it by accident, or did it on
purpose. If the former is the case, then there's no need
to be upset about anything. And if the person did it on
purpose to get us upset, then that means that the person isn't
someone that we should respect or admire, or in any way affect
us--a person who would do something to hurt us isn't worth us
being hurt over.
we see an ad on TV that makes us want to buy something, do we
ever stop to think who it was who made the ad, and why?
Well, obviously they made it because they got paid to make it, and they
really don't care one way or another about us as people.
Why should they care if wanting this new item or food or product
is best for us or not? What we should care about is
whether it's good for us or not, and just who is behind trying
to convince us that it is, indeed, best.
all have times and situations in which we're followers, but it's
important that we know just whom we're following. Not
everyone out there deserves our devotion or our allegiance or
even our attention, yet we very often allow ourselves to be
persuaded by people whom we don't know about things that are
pretty important to us, whether these people deserve our trust
or not. Is the actor who's trying to sell us an insurance
policy really worthy of our respect, or is he just getting a
paycheck? Is the doctor who's pushing the newest drug
really interested in our best, or is he interested in adding to
his own bank account? Is the "friend" who's
trying to get us to do something we're not comfortable with
really a person whom we want to follow, or is he someone about
whom we should know more before we decide whether to follow his
ideas or not?
because someone's in a position of authority doesn't mean that
the person is trustworthy. Just because someone calls him
or herself friend doesn't mean that we should follow that
person. We really do need to ask ourselves more often just
who this person is who's trying to get us to do something, and
until we're sure of the answer, we probably should stick to our
intuition and instinct. It's important that we know a lot
about someone before we allow them to have influence over
us. After all, the stakes always can be quite high. . . .