Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why do we care what other's think of us?

That's a tough question. I think, in part, it's because we sometimes have a hard time seeing ourselves so we rely on others to tell us what they see; kind of like taking a friend clothing shopping. 

**Side Story: About five years ago I came home from a shopping trip with some clothes I thought were fantastic. I did the obligatory fashion show for my good husband, who complimented each one, then gently suggested that perhaps next time it might be fun for me to take a friend. Turned out that my clothes were cute, but my style, like my dance moves, seemed to have been frozen in the nineties (yes, I can do The Elaine.)   Luckily I've been able to move past that--well, at least the clothes part.

The problem comes when we allow what others think--especially the wrong others--determine our worth in our own eyes. 

That was something I struggled with as a teenager. In 'Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?' I explained that "I sold my identity for the compliments and criticism of others." And it was true. I would come home from middle school/high school and sit by my awesome rotary phone, waiting for it to ring. If it did, I felt great! If it didn't, I was sure it was because no one liked me because I was totally lame. 

I gave others the power to tell me what I was worth. The ironic thing that I grew to understand later was that they didn't really care. Not that they didn't care about me, but they didn't spend inordinate amounts of time considering my intrinsic value. They were just living their lives.

But I didn't know that then. I let what they thought--or more accurately, what I thought they thought of me, make me feel either good or bad. 

The difficult thing about that is that, for some crazy reason, it is so much easier for us to believe the bad things we hear than the good. So, for a long time I felt pretty bad about myself. 

Then I changed where I was looking.

As I grew older, I stopped looking around me and started looking above more. I began to really strengthen my relationship with God, and in turn, I began to see Him and myself differently. 

I began to see glimpses of how He sees me. And I wasn't lame. I'm still not. I know this because He told me. And He doesn't lie.

I've changed a lot over the years. So has my phone. And so has my view of myself. I know who He is and who I am. I like who I am. And I find great joy and confidence in that.  

But (and isn't there always a big but), sometimes I falter--especially when the threat of a CPS call is looming like at my daughter's Mother's Day Tea a few years ago. (I give a sum-up of the funny story in the video below. The full story is in my book.)

Luckily, those moments don't last, and I remind myself that no matter how bad I think I might appear in someone else's eyes, God know me. 

God knows who I am. He knows my intentions. He knows my weaknesses and shortcomings. He know my strengths and talents. He knows me.

And He thinks I am pretty amazing. 

So I choose believe Him. 

Because He can't lie. 

So, amazing it is.

Of course this doesn't apply only to me.

Are there times when you feel lame? Time when maybe you let  the opinions of others sink too deeply under your skin? Does it sometimes affect your sense of worth? You're not alone.We all do that (well, most of us, anyway. There are some that truly are impervious to anyone else's opinions-though they are few in number.)

The point is, when you feel that way, it's easy to start on the path of feeling better. Start by looking up to God. He knows you. He knows who are. He knows your intentions. He knows your weaknesses and shortcomings. He knows your strengths and talents. He knows you.

And He thinks you're pretty amazing.

So, choose to believe Him.

Because He can't lie.

So, amazing it is for you too. 

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