# 54 on my, 99 Life Tips – A List is: The good opinion of some people is not worth having.
If you followed the advice in Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think About You, and stopped caring what other people think about you, shouldn’t you still want everyone’s good opinion? What’s the harm in that? On the surface this seems desirable. Whence then, the assertion, since this is not so much a tip, that some good opinions are not worth having?
A Matter Of Respect
This is primarily a matter of respect. The degree of respect you have for the boss or the customer, the friend or the stranger, the critic or the fan, is what gives value to their opinion, or else devalues it.
And there are at least two things that affect the level of your respect. They are character, and expertise. It is appropriate to give higher weight to the opinions of those with high character or proven expertise in any combination. Likewise, the inverse is true. It is safe and even advisable to discount the opinions of those with low or poor character, and/or zero or limited experience and expertise.
I’m sure you can think of someone whose opinion of you is less than meaningless. Not only do you not care what they think, you’d be embarrassed if they had a good opinion of you. Their regard would serve as an indictment of your character.
Is the person you have in mind a scoundrel or criminal? If so, they are probably at the extreme end of your personal scale. As you slide the scale upwards, you’ll reach a point at which opinions begin to have some meaning and value, at least as benchmarks.
Desiring Good Opinions Is Natural
Even if you don’t struggle with receiving your sense of worth from the opinions of others, and even if your sense of who you are is self-determined, and not foisted upon you, none of us are completely immune to feelings that naturally arise when we hear the opinions of others expressed about us or our work. This happens in the workplace. It’s true with the views expressed by those closest to us. And is especially true when you’re a creator. The desire for positive feedback is natural.
Putting your work out for public consumption is one of the most vulnerable, and therefore terrifying, things you can do. It leaves many potential creatives paralyzed. Self-doubt erodes confidence. And it leaves many sheltering in place for years, preferring to feel the regret over not trying, rather than face the potential shame and horror of rejection and failure. Believe me, I know. Oscar Wilde shows the possibility of being an author and eventually arriving at a different state of mind. One in which the opposite becomes true. One in which good opinions may even alarm you. He clearly believed the good opinion of some people is not worth having.
All Opinions Are Not Created Equal
I’m not there. Perhaps few are. Sometimes the only feedback you have is the opinions of others. But all opinions are not created equal. The opinion of readers has value. Although, for a writer, the opinion of readers who are also writers is more valuable than that of non-writers, because familiarity with the difficulties of the craft makes the perspective and opinions of fellow writers more credible.
I’ve found thus far on my short journey as a daily writer, that the criticisms and edits suggested in love by my girlfriend, are of more worth to me than any number of accolades by strangers commenting online. It’s not that those good opinions aren’t worth having at all, it’s that they are worth far less than the honest, if pointed, opinion of someone who has seen me at my worst yet still believes in me at my best.
I’ll leave you with this final thought. While I believe the good opinion of some people is not worth having, I do think it’s worthwhile to have someone in your life who will push you to be your best, even if they’ve seen you at your worst. I’m aiming to be that kind of writer. Even though I don’t know you, I’m of a mind that there is far too much unrealized good in most people.
Therefore, the good opinion of anyone, who, by their assurances and affirmations, causes you to be complacent and contented with either subpar character, or shoddy work, whose approval and acceptance induces you to a lesser version of yourself, is also not worth having. At least that’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.