We all have people in our life who--regardless of what we do and how hard we try--we can never please. They have an opinion of us that will never change. You will never know what caused them to form it, but you have to come to the realization that you will never change it. If you don’t, you will waste unneeded brain time and emotional energy. The person can be someone in your personal or professional life.
In my case, the most memorable two people were a college teammate and a boss some 20 years later. Let’s start with the former. It was my freshman year in college. I was on a basketball scholarship and decided to major in accounting. I did because I knew I was going to go play professionally in the NBA and wanted to be able to keep track of my money. When a teammate heard me talking about the accounting course I was going to take, he immediately said, “You won’t do well in that course because another person I knew made a ‘C’ in it and he is much smarter than you are.” My first reaction was to smack him, but I chilled and said to myself that I would show him instead. I studied my tail off and made an “A” in the course. I couldn’t wait to show him my report card. When I did, to my surprise, all he said was, “So” and walked away. I thought again about hitting him, but I didn’t. I actually thanked him because I don’t think I would have studied that hard if he wouldn’t have said what he did. I went on to become an Academic All-American and MVP.
As for my former boss, he used to call me “Goat Herder”. He would never give me good assignments, performance reviews or bonuses. One day, I looked up what the term meant. To my extreme disappointment, the slang definition is “Someone who is so terrible at life, he can't ever do anything above the bare minimum of existence, that is, staying alive.” I was so devastated that I considered resigning. When I confided in a close friend, he talked me out of it. I’m glad he did because I went on to become an officer of the company. That boss left before I reached that level. Now get this, about 5 years later a good friend of mine became his boss at that company. Somehow he found out I was having dinner with his new boss. He called me requesting that I not say anything bad about him. (WTH?) I thanked him because if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t have immersed myself in learning all of the aspects of business to prove him wrong. His call made me realize that your biggest critics are the most insecure people. They hate on you because they hate on themselves.
I’ve also come to learn that God puts those people in your life to cause you to strive harder and learn more than if they weren’t there. In other words, they give you drive. I’ve also learned to look up and through them instead of at them. Reason being, they don’t control your outcome, you do. God is giving you that extra push you need to be your best. Other people will recognize your value. They also will respect how you dealt with that situation.
In closing, stop trying to change that person’s mind. Change yours and doors will open for you in ways that person never could.