How do you stay true to yourself when you’re surrounded by friends and family that have an opinion on everything you do? Who constantly offer their opinions, whether you asked for them or not? Who seem to imply that they “know better”?

It’s not easy! However, if you’re going to lead the life you really want, you’re bound to run into a few folks who won’t, or can’t, understand where you’re coming from. Don’t let their strong opinions back you into a corner or guide your choices. Stay true to yourself by tuning out the naysayers and tuning in to the only opinion that really matters—your own. These tips will help.

1.Value yourself and your choices. When you do, others will, too. People can see how you value yourself by your presence: how you walk, talk, and relate to the world around you. If you speak confidently and walk with your head held high, people will look at you as someone who has something to offer. If, on the other hand, you avoid eye contact and slink into a corner when someone approaches you, you’re sending a very different message. Your presence is determined in large part by the belief you have in yourself and the life you’re leading.

Own the choices you make in your life. Be proud of yourself and your unique view of the world. When you doubt yourself, others will doubt you. When you believe in yourself, others will believe in you, too.

2.Realize opinions are more about the person giving them than they are about you. Each person sees the world only as he can see it. Your best friend may think quitting your job to start your own business is too risky and a foolish move. She may tell you, in no uncertain terms, that you’re foolish to leave a well-paying job with great benefits to start a business when so many small businesses fail.

Your friend’s passionate opinion doesn’t mean she’s right, better, or smarter than you. She simply has a different set of values, beliefs, and life experiences. She views life through a different lens. And to be sure, that lens is also distorted with her personal fears and insecurities. It’s up to you to decide whether her personal opinion holds water, whether it is valid or invalid. It’s up to you to decide how outside opinions fit your life.

3.Take time off. Too many people telling you what they think? Take time for yourself. To hear the whispers of your heart, you have to be quiet and listen closely. You can’t hear what your heart wants you to hear if you drown it out by giving others too much airtime in your life.

Think of it this way: Is it up to the stadium to tell the Olympic figure skater how to do her routine? She has a team of coaches who help her fine-tune her routine and rehearse her moves to perfection. But when it comes time for her to compete for the gold medal, she stands alone. She must find it within herself to do what she must do to win the gold. She must be able to hear her own voice and tap into her own strength and wisdom. She must tune out the world around her so she can do what she must do.

4.Know yourself. Be willing to deepen your sense of self. Create a personal philosophy for living. Know your values and what you care about most. Doing so will increase your confidence and thus affect how people look at you. It will also keep you out of all sorts of sticky situations.

You’ll say yes to opportunities and requests that fit your life and goals and say no to those that don’t. More importantly, you’ll do so with confidence. You’ll make decisions more quickly and easily. Others will respect your position because you respected yourself by staying true to yourself and the vision you have for your life.

5.Set boundaries. Some people just go too far. It’s okay to respectfully listen, but it’s also okay to set boundaries for areas of your life that are off limits.
Does your mother-in-law have too many opinions about how you manage your family? Does your brother try to tell you how you should invest your money? Set boundaries by respectfully acknowledging their points of view, but let them know you’re making choices how you see fit. It may take a few tries, but in time they’ll get the message and back off.

6.Stand by your side. Our friends and family will often say they want the best for us and want us to be happy. But they also want to be happy. If your mother knows you’re looking for a new home to buy and are considering one within a few miles of her and one across town, isn’t there a good chance her advice to you will be influenced by her desire to have you closer to her?

Others may not be there for you when you most need them. It’s very hard for those closest to us to remain objective, especially when their lives may also be impacted by the decisions we make. The solution: when faced with a big decision, keep it close to home for a while before you share it with others. By doing so, you’ll gain confidence in your choices and will be less likely to be swayed by the emotional responses and opinions of others.

7.Value the pause between someone’s opinion and your response. If somebody really steps on your toes, it’s easy to react quickly out of anger and frustration. Don’t! Of all the things you can do to stay true to yourself while filtering through the opinions of the world around you, one of the most important is to stop before you react.

Listen to what others have to say, but value the moment after they’ve said it as time to recenter yourself and regain your composure. Instead of jumping in with words of disagreement or frustration, let silence reign. Pause, consider what you’ve just heard, pay attention to your bodily sensations and emotions, and then offer your response. By doing so, you’ll react from a place of power and value for yourself. You’ll give yourself the opportunity to think before you speak.

The point is, nobody can guide you better than you can guide yourself. Listening to and learning from others has immeasurable value, but ultimately, your decisions are yours alone. Realize the naysayers, or those with strong opinions, are fearful of life in their own ways and for their own reasons. Learn to decipher the difference between opinions you should consider and those you should let go of.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Cari Vollmer is the founder of and publisher of Sign up for’s free special report and e-course “5 Great Starting Places for Creating and Leading a Life That Feels Great NOW” at