What other people think of you needn’t determine who you are because your sense of self shouldn’t be affected by their opinion of you. From an impressionable age, we regard the opinions of others because we want to be accepted and fit in. But as we mature and develop self-esteem, it shouldn’t matter what others think of us. Let me be clear by saying it is important for our peers to accept us, but we mustn’t place our self-esteem in their hands. Acceptance of oneself helps to connect with our core-self and gives us feedback on who we are as individuals. But it needn’t dictate our self-worth because who we are is far greater than the opinions of others.
What are your impressions? Do you agree, what others think of you doesn’t determine your reality, unless you allow it? Regrettably, many people are influenced by the opinions of those closest to them, such as family, friends and work colleagues. Most notably, family has the greatest influence in our lives and may undermine our self-worth. I know people from diverse cultures where the parents play a significant role in deciding the career path of their children. Whilst their intentions are honourable, it is shameful to the family name if the child doesn’t pursue a noble profession such as a doctor, a lawyer. Is this something you can relate to in your family or culture? If so, how did you deal with it and did it impact your self-worth?
Nowadays, everyone has an opinion on how others should live their life, but rarely do these people examine their own lives. In my work as a speaker and coach, I’m yet to come across someone who has all their affairs in order. I mean that in the best way, insofar as our life is a work in progress and we may never reach our full potential. It is why we mustn’t judge others because everyone is painting their own masterpiece as best they can. During my early adulthood, I would worry about the opinions of others, which impacted my self-worth and self-confidence. Who they thought I should be was not something I could live up to, and it hurt me trying to be that person.
Eventually, these relationships dissolved because I wasn’t willing to minimise my self-worth to appease them. I lived according to my core values, even if it meant making my own mistakes. It was important I find my way, instead of living up to someone’s opinion of me. Regrettably, not many people know how you should live your life. They may claim to know what’s best for you, but mostly it’s an impression of what is good for you. We must walk our own path since that is how we learn and grow as individuals. And yes, it is difficult to see a loved one make unnecessary mistakes, but they might be necessary for their personal evolution.
Our task is not to remove their difficulties but to empower them with support and encouragement to get through it. This can be hard, especially if the individual is addicted to alcohol or experimenting with drugs and we may not want to see them suffer this way. I’m not claiming to have the answers, but I know emotional support is the best way we help people work through their difficulties. How are you feeling about this so far? I’m sure you have lots of questions and opinions on what you’ve read so far. I encourage you to journal your thoughts and sit with them for a few days, to see what surfaces.
We mustn’t allow other people’s opinions of us to determine who we are because their opinion is not fact. Naturally, our life path will evolve as we mature, and we will experience many highs and lows where it might seem our life is spinning out of control. But this is part of the journey to discover our authentic self, buried amongst the ruins of failure, dead-ends and despair. It is part of becoming lost and experiencing desperation throughout of our circumstances. I know, because I’ve been there and know how uncomfortable it is to be an outsider in your own life. However, in the months that followed, I experienced an expansion of consciousness that led to breakthroughs in my life. I experienced new insights about my life during those moments of despair. Sometimes, pain and suffering will force us to evolve, so life can take us where it needs to.
We mustn’t resist these moments but lean in to our problems with full conviction. We alone determine our sense of self. It may require going in one direction and hitting bottom ground, so we discover our true potential in those darkest moments. So, whether you are experiencing difficulties and challenges or guiding loved ones through their problems, note where they are leading you. Don’t get caught up in the suffering because it is temporary and will eventually recede, as long as you continue in genuine faith. If we believe the opinions of others determine who we are, we are less likely to live an authentic life. Ultimately, the greatest tragedy is to follow in the footsteps of someone whose opinion of us matters little.