Do you listen to the naysayers in your life? They’re the people who hold judgment over you, nitpick, compete against you, refute what you say, and criticize – or at least skeptically question – everything you do. They’re the relatives, coworkers, bosses, committee members and, yes, even friends, who like to oppose you at every turn. They seem to be ever-present and can really get you down. Their oppressive behavior can even alter your self-image, convincing you that you are who they say you are.
Well, you’re not.
That can be hard to believe, sometimes because the naysayers are an insidious bunch who feed on belittlement. I’ve never quite figured out whether it’s because they think so little or so much of themselves, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, does it? Regardless, they can be a danger to you. The good news is that they’ll only affect you if you let them. Trust me; I’ve been there. And, I have to admit, I find myself going back there occasionally – falling prey to a naysayer when I’ve let my guard down.
The solution is simple; its implementation takes practice and finesse: Ignore them. Don’t ignore the person, because that would be disrespectful, but ignore the behavior. Let the naysaying become their problem, not yours and stay the course. Just make sure that the course you’re on is the one God has willed for you. Live a sacramental life, remain in the state of grace, and follow our Lord’s commandments, If you’ve got that covered, then you’re all set.
Above all, remember that you are a child of God. You are loved, valued, valuable, and worthy. God made you in his likeness and image for a purpose that he designed uniquely for you and nothing anyone says or does can change that. Ever.
There’s a quote from St. Leo the Great that I find particularly helpful when I’m dealing with a naysayer. It helps me to remember who I really am in God’s eyes.
“Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God.” (St. Leo the Great)
St. Leo the Great makes an important point. Not only must you remember that you are a dignified child of God, but you must not allow yourself to fall into the baseness around you. No matter how tough the naysayers can be on you, resist the temptation to push back or even grumble about them privately. Then you’re no better than they are.
Instead, rise above it. Pray for them, offer your pain and frustration to our Lord, implore our Blessed Mother’s comfort and intercession, turn it all over to God and be on your way. You’re an heir to the Kingdom – don’t let anyone threaten your inheritance.
Image: Public Domain