I used to struggle with self-worth and the concept that we shouldn’t care what others think or say about us.
It seemed logical. Conceptually speaking, I’m on board with it.
But when it’s someone you highly respect and value, do you care what they think?
What if it’s your:
- highly respected and accomplished boss who ensures your long-term career path?
- spouse from whom you want acceptance and approval and love?
- parents who you want to make proud?
- kids who you have been the hero for all their lives?
- customers or clients you see as determining your value and success?
- …or if it’s someone else influential in your life who holds a position that you respect and admire?
There is a very careful and easily overlooked distinction that makes all the difference.
Our Beliefs Are Taught
The world tells us from the time we are children that it doesn’t matter what others think about us and that we shouldn’t care.
The mantra of ‘don’t care what people think or say about you’ continues to be used throughout our world right now. We probably hear ourselves saying these words frequently to those around us.
I want to challenge that.
Let’s try caring MORE about what others think, their opinions, their perspectives.
Sound completely crazy and maybe even wrong to you?
It’s Not in Hearing – It’s in Believing
The risk and the error do not come from listening, respecting, and caring about the opinions.
The risk and error come when we BELIEVE their opinions about us and to allow it to BECOME what we think about ourselves.
When we allow the opinion, thought or belief others have of us to define how we think about ourselves, that’s where we create the problem.
And it happens subtly. We can easily mistake the messages we are receiving from the world, which can make us doubt our self-worth.
The truth is that it is highly encouraged to respect and value another person’s opinion of ourselves.
Why? Because it helps us to:
- understand them and the world better
- create connection and intimacy between you
- open up the lines of communication
Another person has valid views and beliefs too, just like you do.
The error is not the listening, respecting, caring, and understanding.
The error is when we:
- decide to believe what they think about us
- become what we think they see us as
We Decide Our Own Self-Worth
When we allow others to decide our truths for us, we become disconnected from each other and become more detached from ourselves – our truths, authentic beliefs, values, and opinions.
We become angry, hurt, and resentful. It sends us in to a protective place where we believe that we are somehow at risk and that being exposed to another opinion will cause us harm or pain.
Gaining feedback, obtaining information that is different than ours, or hearing something we don’t want to hear will not actually cause us any pain. Deciding that it might have merit, that it could be an opportunity to expand our mind or grow in a new or different direction – these things don’t cause pain, either.
What causes pain is when we beat ourselves up after deciding that it must be true, believing that it redefined who we are and what we believe about ourselves.
Some try to avoid feeling that pain. They create their defensive plan to avoid feeling that pain, putting up walls, and bolting the door around themselves.
It is possible to respect another opinion and not agree with it – and to decide to think and believe something different. This is courage. It is also compassion and authenticity.
When someone questions your value or integrity, allowing that to determine what you believe about YOU is the ULTIMATE disrespect of yourself. This devalues what is true for you.
The same is true when others are complimenting you or placing you on a high pedestal.
Sure, it feels good. But ask yourself, why…
- did they need to be the one to tell you?
- didn’t you believe it before?
- is their opinion of your value higher than your own opinion of your value?
Becoming Too Dependent Upon Compliments
Being recognized is nice.
But not being recognized doesn’t mean anything at all.
If you become dependent on compliments, to determine self-worth, what happens if they stop?
Really think about these questions:
- Does that mean you’ve lost value?
- Is our value and worth determined by others on a day-to-day basis?
- Is it fair to require that level of responsibility from someone else to help us keep our levels of self-worth high?
Respect the opinions of others. Then decide what you believe.
We get to choose. The choice for how to feel and to create the result around you that you want is yours.
Respect, kindness, and caring all create connection.
Be the example of it. Inspire others to see this value too by modeling it.
What would change in your life if you did? What would change in the world if you did? Changing you changes everything!
At Strive Coaching Studio, we’re here to guide you to be the best authentic leader you can be.