When we stand in front of a mirror, we see what everyone else sees when they look at us. That reflection is such an infinitesimal part of who we are that it shouldn’t matter as much as it does. But that’s not how the world works, is it?
A couple of nights ago, I was reading an article by Stella Boonshaft (Self-Portrait: Ask Me Why I Took This Picture – be warned if you read this…she uses some strong language – and realized that too many people let the opinions of others define their self-worth.
The thing is, if people don’t take the time to know us, judging us only by what they see, then those people don’t matter. What they think, what they say, shouldn’t affect us in any way. But it does.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
We’re all familiar with that childhood rhyme. How many times did we recite it to someone who said a hurtful thing? How many times did we actually mean it though? I’m guessing not many. It was nothing more than a way to save face. A smart-mouthed comeback to hide the fact that we were crushed and humiliated.
Ugly words and opinions can damage self-esteem to the point where they can impact our whole lives in negative ways…if we allow them to. They can make us feel ‘less than’ … again … only if we allow them to. And if we do, the words and actions we take to heart will affect everything we ever try to accomplish.
The fact is, it’s not often we’ll measure up to the expectations of others, so we need to stop trying to please people. We need to work on becoming the best we can possibly be … for ourselves.
Listen to the words of this song. I mean really listen to them.
That’s how we should feel about ourselves…every minute of every day.
While being accepted by everyone whose opinions matter is something we all wish for, it’s not always going to happen. And when it doesn’t, as will often be the case, we have two choices.
Embrace them – or not.
Each one of us is a unique individual with great qualities we can bring to the table. Sure we have our faults, shortcomings, and other things we might not like about ourselves, but that’s okay. No one is perfect, nor should we strive to be. Each one of us should, however, always work at being the best we can be…but only because we deserve it.
It’s time to stop trying to live up to unrealistic expectations and start loving who we are. Today.