I can't believe just how much time I've spent--wasted,
actually--worrying about how other people have seen me,
what they've thought of me, what they've considered me to
be, the value they've seen in me. In my life, I
somehow grew up putting a great deal of value in other
people's perceptions of who I am and what I'm worth, even
if those people really haven't known much about me at all.
of this tendency, I've made many of my decisions in life
based on what I've thought other people would think about
me and my decisions and my actions. I've rejected
possible relationships because of what I thought other
people would think about me if I went out with a certain
girl or woman. I've not pursued certain careers
because of the judgments that I was sure other people
would pass on my choice of professions. I've not
pursued certain passions because I didn't want people to
think less of me.
of this tendency, I've lost an amazing number of
opportunities in my life. And while I'm not going to
spend today regretting what I did or didn't do yesterday,
I know that my life could be much more fulfilling today if
I had not worried so much about what others thought
earlier in my life. I wanted to be the person
that I thought others wanted to see, so that they would
accept me more fully. But that acceptance would
have been conditional, which is the worst type of
acceptance that we can possibly pursue.
I knew a man once who wanted to be a lawyer because that's
what his father expected from him. His dad had
defined him, defined his likes, his dislikes--his very
life. But his dad didn't have to live that life.
I need to define myself. My tastes, my preferences,
my passions, my likes and dislikes--all need to come from
me if I'm to live a genuine and authentic life. They
need to come from my heart and my spirit, not from what I
think others want to see in me and from me. If I
allow others to define me and to define who I am, then I'm
allowing others to do so from a very limited and distorted
position, and I'm setting myself up for major
disappointment in my life.
Who defines who you are? How is that definition
Why do we sometimes give others the power to decide
who, what, or how we should be or act?
How can we take back the right and ability to define
ourselves? What will be some of the positive results
if we do so?