I have been blessed for a long long time with mentors who truly cared about me. Through they years they have offered me a ton of very valuable advice. I always heard the advice they gave me but sometimes, almost always to my detriment, I didn’t listen to it.
One of the very best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is also one that I too often forget.
I had a mentor back in my college years who told me that nothing, absolutely nothing, matters unless I allow it to. He said other people’s opinion of me didn’t matter unless I let it matter. He said comments people made about me didn’t matter unless I decided to make them matter. He said again and again, something only mattered if I decided to allow it to matter in my life.
What matters in life is what we allow to matter. What someone else thinks of you should matter far less than what you think of yourself. Someone else’s opinion of what you should be doing with your life can only impact your life decisions if you allow it to.
The challenge we face is knowing what’s truly important to us. If you don’t know what matters to you, what’s truly important, then you have a gap in your decision making abilities that other people are all too willing to fill for you. They fill it with opinions and ideas that matter to them. When you don’t know what’s truly important to you then you will likely give more weight to their opinions than you ought to be giving them.
I’ve never forgotten the great advice that nothing matters unless I allow it to matter. What I have forgotten from time to time is that I need to decide if I’m going to allow something to matter. When I forget I have that choice then everything thing seems to matter. Every opinion, every snide comment, every critical statement takes on significance that it absolutely shouldn’t.
What I sometimes forget is that just because something is important to someone else doesn’t mean that I need to make it important to me. When I forget that I find myself reacting to what was said instead of thinking about what was said. A good rule of thumb is that if it isn’t going to matter in the future it probably doesn’t matter a whole lot today either.
Don’t allow other people, especially people who you aren’t certain have your best interests in mind, to tell you what matters in your life. You have a choice about what matters to you, it’s one of your life’s most important choices, never give up that choice.