“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us.” ~ Virginia Satir …
Happy New Year to us all! Welcome to AD 2017.
It is hard to believe just how much time I have wasted worrying about how other people have seen me, what they have thought of me, what they have considered me to be, the value they have seen in me. I somehow grew up putting a great deal of value in other people’s perceptions of who I am and what I am worth, even when those people really have not known much about me at all.
Because of this tendency, I have made many of my decisions in life based on what I have thought other people would think about me and my actions. I have rejected possible relationships out of fear of what others would think if I went out with a certain person, and the same goes for casual friendships. I have not pursued certain careers, hobbies, and other such things because of the judgments that I was sure other people would pass on me. And I have not pursued certain passions because I did not want people to think less of me.
I have also lost an amazing number of opportunities in my life. And while I am not going to spend today regretting what I did or did not 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 to pursue.
I knew a man once who wanted to be a lawyer because that is what his father expected from him. His dad had defined him–his likes, his dislikes, perhaps the majority of his adult life. He spent years trudging through his career in misery.
I need to define myself. My tastes, my preferences, my passions, my likes and dislikes–all need to come from me if I am 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 and from me. If I allow others to define me and who I am, then I am allowing others to do so from a very limited and distorted position, and I am setting myself up for major disappointment in life.
Periodically ensure that you are not placing the baseless perceptions of you by others above your own.
Questions to consider:
Who defines who you are? How is that definition reached?
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?
For further thought:
“There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me… or leave me. Accept me–or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don’t fit your idea of who I should be and don’t try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision. When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad–you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.” ~ Stacey Charter