I liked hearing what they said about me.
How I was smart, how I was funny, how I was special and would go far in life. Yes, I simply loved hearing the praises of man.
….Except for when they didn’t say those things about me.
Like the times when they said I was lazy, or when they said I wasn’t the best, or that I wasn’t as gifted as someone else or when they described me as unattractive. I didn’t like when they laughed at my uniqueness, no I didn’t like that at all.
It was not a good feeling when they weren’t exalting me and so I didn’t like when they said those negative things about me, for I didn’t like to hear the criticism of man.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I came to a point in my life where I gained clarity that it isn’t the adoration or the disdain of man that matters.
I had heard the quote before that states “Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business.”
Most certainly I had rolled the quote around in my mind, however I had never grown to understand how to grasp it much less put it into action in my life.
I come from a background where reputation is important.
The way I grow up, for someone to say something that you deemed disrespectful was not to be tolerated.
You were expected to expend energy correcting them.
However, I have come to find that the quote is true and the way my childhood neighborhood taught me to defend my reputation is not the best use of my energy.
Other people’s thoughts concerning me have no bearing on me. They do not add to me nor do they detract from me.
I am me!
I recall a couple of months ago walking into work and having a coworker feel compelled to inform me that during my absence I was the main topic of conversation.
I informed my coworker that I did not care to know what was said about me while I was not present. He appeared to be surprised. I further explained to him that I simply didn’t believe that it was for me to know.
I will be honest that there was indeed a time when I would have wanted to know what was said about me. And then feel either upset or happy depending on what was said.
Thankfully I have grown in that area and truly reached a point in my life where I recognize that what is spoken of me is as the previous quote states truly “none of my business”.
I am me, I define me, not the praises and criticisms of others!
It doesn’t matter what others think of me, what matters is what I know of me!
If I were to allow others to define me then who would I determine to be my standard?
Those who tell me only what tickles my ear or those who crush my spirit?
Should it be family members, coworkers, friends, strangers or a combination thereof?
Who gets to tell me whether I am beautiful or unattractive ?
Who will determine my value, my worth, my success, my level of intellect, my capabilities, my strength and my character?
I assert that the person who should define me is me.
I say who I am and not others!
By no means does this mean that I turn deaf ear to criticism of others for as the proverb says “only a fool despises correction”.
But nor does this mean that I rest in the praises of others, because I recognize that not working on my weaknesses can lead to complacency.
I strive to live a life a balance.
Balance means I actively choose not to worry about what others think of me.
Balance means that I process what others say about me and I determine if it is true or false and make adjustments as necessary, but I do not blindly accept what is spoken of me as truth without deciding if it rings true or not.
Balance means that I do not feel the need to correct people who think less of me than I think of myself.
Many people would frown upon how I live my life and others may envy it. But ultimately all that matters is how I feel about me.
For far too long I was looking for love outside of myself. I wanted someone to come along and love me and make me feel like I was a person of value. And yet ironically it wasn’t until I started to realize that it was actually my job to love myself that I began to start to feel loved by others. The lack of love I was experiencing in my life was a representation of the lack of love I held for myself. I grew to recognize that it was up to me to define myself. For it wasn’t until I fully understood that no amount of external love would ever make me whole that I truly started to consciously take the steps of loving me. Loving me meant I had to stop looking for someone else to come into my life and validate me and I had to deem my own self worthy.
I am still on this life long journey of loving me. And I have found that loving me entails not putting stock in what other people think about me.
Realize that you define who you are. You and you alone. No one can ascertain your value for you, but you!
If a million people tell you that you are valuable but you do not believe them then what a million people say simply has no bearing.
Likewise, if a million people tell you that you are worthless but you do not believe them then what a million people say will simply have no bearing.
All that matters is what you believe. So there is no need to get upset about the naysayers. People are going to talk about you when you succeed and people are going to talk about you when you fail. You may as well go ahead and live this life the way that pleases your soul.
Stop seeking the approval of man. Stop trying to correct those who say things that pierce your soul.
Recognize that the only reason that what someone says upsets you is because somewhere in yourself you agree with it. When things don’t resonate with us we are able to dismiss them. The fact that someone was able to say something and it affected you means that somewhere inside of you it rang true. It isn’t a matter of what they said, it is a matter of what you believed.
Choosing not to confront others or look up the latest gossip on yourself and go into defense mode isn’t about not standing up for yourself. Rather, it is about having enough confidence in the man or woman that you are that even if a million whispers of disdain come your way you will still rise above all of themin confidence.
Know yourself, and when you do you will no longer be concerned about what may have been spoken about you while others were hanging around the water cooler.
Love yourself enough to know that you are you and not who they say you are!
© Renata Pittman, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.