Archive for August 31st, 2009

How others see you

We are¬†often told we shouldn’t be concerned about what others think of us. I think that – like most things – there are two ways of looking at this. If we live our lives on the basis of “what will people say?!” to the detriment of doing what we want to do to be happy, to fulfil our dreams and to be ourselves, I think it is a bad thing – or at least a sad one. However, if other people have a positive image of us, then why would we not think it was a good thing to take some of that on board? The problem is that in my experience¬†we generally tend to believe the negative and not the positive. If a person speaks badly of us and we find out, we are generally hurt because the child inside says that if somebody said that about me then it must be true. If we hear a person talk about us as a really wonderful person, we tend to think they must be deranged, or they don’t really know us, or they must want something from us.

Ideally we try to be and to behave like a person we would like to be part of our lives. If we are strong and have healthy self-esteem we can roll with the punches, knowing that if someone does speak about us, whatever they say they are expressing their opinion, full stop. They may or may not be right in what they point out. If we look inside ourselves, we’ll probably know quite well whether what they said was accurate. There is a problem with taking others’ negative opinions and comments and internalising them, reinforcing them to ourselves and making ourselves feel steadily worse. If we are going to take notice of what other people think of us, it would be good if we made room for the positive opinions and comments we get as well, which we are so much more likely to dismiss.

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