For many people, how they value themselves comes from other people.
This can be great when people are treating you well but when not so much when you’re treated poorly. You go from feeling good about yourself to not feeling good enough and because you’ve become reliant on other people to determine your value.
It may even get to the point where you almost feel lost and are unable to truly establish how you feel about yourself without it coming from other people. And so, you feel down and worthless whilst also blaming other people for how you feel.
I think that stage of blaming others continues until you’re able to realise that nobody else should be in control of how you feel about yourself. That’s not a solid foundation.
Robin Hood is infamously known as the one who ‘steals from the rich to give to the poor.’
He is an interesting character because he forces us to see things from a different point of view.
If asked, we would probably all say that stealing is wrong but would consider it less wrong if it was for the sake of those less fortunate.
And so we don’t consider Robin Hood to be a ‘bad person’. He’s someone who does a bad thing thing for a good reason.
What would happen if we extended that level of awareness to people in real life, not to accept or encourage ‘bad’ behaviour but to simply acknowledge that we understand.
One of the mistakes we often make is thinking that there is only one solution to every problem. And so, when the way a person chooses to solve a problem does not match up with what we believe the solution to be we can end up being critical and telling them they are wrong.
In these cases, what we are actually doing is forcing our beliefs, opinions and perceptions onto other people. The reality more often than not is that you and this person perceive things differently, it’s not that anyone is wrong or right.
I think that this is something worth remembering. A lot of people find it so easy to be critical of others and tell them what they should or shouldn’t have done.
But the truth is, it’s simply a matter of perception.
How you view yourself impacts how you act. How you act, influences how you are perceived.
If you don’t think much of yourself, it’ll show up in your posture the way you speak and the kinds of things that you say.
And in turn you may be perceived as quiet, shy, uninterested, someone who doesn’t care. But maybe you have low self-esteem and maybe nobody taught you to think good of yourself.
Perhaps, even though you haven’t yet learnt how to say it or even show it, you actually care quite a lot.
If you had to leave your home and could only take 10 things with you, what would you take?
Turns out the things we value in our day to day lives aren’t the same things we value in an emergency.
In our day to day life we’re more materialistic, we care more about perception. It’s not that we don’t value the things we need to survive but that they are a given rather than something we need to think about.
In an emergency we place value on safety and survival. There’s not much point valuing your green faux croc handbag when you are without food and water.
And sometimes people choose to live their day to day lives valuing only the essentials even when they don’t have to.
…but it’s worth it.
In a recent post I shared some thoughts about quitting daily blogging and I laid out some plans for what I would do moving forward.
At the time I thought it was a good idea and I thought that it would make things easier.
But in the weeks that followed I really started to enjoy daily blogging again. The writing process had become less difficult than it had been at the weeks prior.
Now, looking back I realise that the changes I planned to make wouldn’t have made things easier, they’d have remained pretty much the same. I’d have gone from posting short blog posts daily to posting slightly longer posts a few times a week. As much as daily blogging doesn’t always feel easy there is something quite special about making a commitment to posting everyday.
There is something special about the way I choose to see the world because I know I have to write something, even if it’s only 167 words.
If you won’t care in a few months time then maybe you shouldn’t care at all.
It’s easy to get swept up what everyone else is doing or whatever the popular thing is at that point in time.
It might even be a great cause, helping people or bringing light to something that matters.
However, I think it’s important to ask yourself why you’re joining in. Is it something you care about or do you just want to be a part of something? Maybe you want to be perceived as someone who cares?
You don’t have to care about everything and you don’t have anything to prove.
You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon.
In periods of uncertainty we often put an excessive amount of pressure on a particular outcome.
You tell yourself you’ll be be happy if things turn out one way and that the other outcome will be a disaster.
And of course, in life often one option is much better than the other. However, too much attachment to something you have no control over can have unhelpful impacts.
What happens when things don’t turn out the way you wanted?
I’ve learnt that it is much more helpful to focus on yourself and your own well being and not be so dictated by external influences. That way even when things don’t turn out the way you’d have liked, you’ll still be totally fine.
I think most people like receiving praise. Not necessarily in front of a large crowd with the spotlight shining down but to simply be told you did something well is more than enough.
Many people go around thinking they’re subpar and for them praise serves as a reminder that they’re doing okay. It can be difficult to tell yourself that you did a good job, perhaps it feels big headed or self indulgent.
Feedback on the other hand can be difficult to take from others but easy to give to yourself.
It feels good to be told that you did something well but it isn’t always easy to hear what you need to work on from other people.
Afterall, how could this person know what you’ve been through and have they considered that you’re doing your best.
This observation of how we take in praise and feedback is simply a reminder not to cling too much to opinions and perceptions, not even even your own.
I first came across Zig Ziglar after hearing Seth Godin mention him. I later listened to one his talks on YouTube, This is your brain and here’s how it works.
It was a few years ago but I jotted down a some quotes that I thought were worth sharing:
- Positive thinking won’t let you do anything but it it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.
- Motivation isn’t permanent.
- Opportunity is where you are, most people simply overlook it.
- The person you are and the person who people think you are , are many times entirely different people.
- You cannot consistently perform in a manner which is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.