Since we can't truly see ourselves we need the opinion of others to inform us about who we are and to tell us how we are perceived. We need mirrors...

'Opinion' is an interesting word... In one sense it means: 'judgement-opine'; it means our 'point-of-view'. But if you remove the 'O' it means 'pinion', which can be defined as 'a gear' or as 'a bird's wing' or a 'feather'... Our opinion of ourself is geared or perhaps 'fletched' by the opinion of others.

As a verb, 'Pinion' can mean: 'to bind' or 'to shackle' and to cut the flight feathers of a bird to prevent flight...

Who are these others? Who are they to us that we value their opinion--their judgement or perception--and take it to heart? Do they love us? Do they respect us? Do they have our best interest at heart or in mind? Or are they trying to clip our wings? Where does their point-of-view come from?

For me I much prefer to receive the opinion of someone who has the 'Bird's eye-view'; someone who is aloft, someone in flight, someone who can see the big picture from above. That is most helpful to me in helping me to see and understand myself. That kind of opinion is often validating, or at least offers clearer guidance and valid correction when I can't really see myself or what I am doing...

However, sometimes I slip into the darkness and despair, into the 'Worm's eye-view'...or worse I listen to someone who only ever sees the Negative; the cynical, the depressed, the sarcastic, the hopeless, the ironic and the mean-spirited...when I take their judgments to heart I often end up slipping even deeper into doubt, demeaning myself, and taking away a very dark and negative opinion of who I am or how I am doing.

We need others to tell us who we are, to inform us about ourselves so we can form our own opinions. We also need to be careful who we listen to: Do we want guidance from the Bird's eye-view or the Worm's eye-view?

How we choose to see ourselves is totally up to us... Are they being 'brutally honest' or just plain brutal with their opinion? A friend of mine says: "Opinions are like assholes: Everyone has one..."

Be selective. Choose wisely. Don't take everyone's opinion to heart. Some opinions are better left in the dirt!

--Pahka Dave