Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Who Are You Trying to Please?

I remember a time when I used to care very much what people thought of me. Having the approval of other people was very important to me. "Fitting in" was something I desperately wanted. I wanted to blend in, not stand out. I wanted acceptance. 

To achieve all this I had to be very careful with everything I said and did. When you are concerned with what other people think about you and how they perceive you, you select your words carefully and you do things that you hope will gain you approval.  You may not voice your truth because it might clash with the opinion's of other people. The biggest issue that I had when I was trying to please other people was I was suffocating my true self. I wasn't allowing myself to be who I really was.

With all of the social media we have these days it's really hard to decipher if someone is being their true self or if they are being someone they think they need to be to please their social media followers or their friends or colleagues. When we are concerned with what other people think about us we can't possibly be our true selves because we're too busy creating a facade to "look pretty" to the outside world. 

A friend asked me not too long ago - "How did you get to the point where you just don't care what people think about you?" Ah, that's a very good question because I have come along way from my "care-what-other-people-think-of-me-days." 

I would say the first and foremost thing for me is knowing who I am in Christ. That was big for me. Knowing that the only one I need to worry about pleasing is God, takes a lot of other people off my radar. Knowing that God approves of me and loves me no matter how big I mess up or what my opinion is or if I am having a good or bad hair day, is very freeing. Not everyone is going to like me but God will. 

Over the past few years, my life experiences have been so extraordinary that no one can possibly pass judgment on me as they have no idea what I have walked through. Well, okay, they can, but they don't know my story as I do, so they really don't have a place to judge and I know that and that's what matters. When you know that what you know is what matters, what other people think about you and your story doesn't matter at all. Not one little bit. 

No one has a place to judge another person's life. Once I learned that I had no room to judge anyone I also learned that no one has room to judge me. And that made it a lot easier for me to "not care" what people think of me. Yes, I want to be liked, I want to be loved, I want to have friends. I am careful with my words so as not to hurt people but if my opinion or my truth offends people, there's nothing I can do about that. Offense is on you, not me. 

And really, learning to MIND MY OWN BUSINESS has been a critical piece to not caring what people think and not needing to please others. We all have enough of our own stuff to worry about that if we focus on minding our own business and making our own lives better, we don't have the time or concern for other people's approval. 

I don't know if turning the magic Four-Oh had anything to do with it but it seems like it's all kind of happened within the last year. I sure wish I had learned this when I was twenty but, such is life! We learn when we're supposed to learn. When you know better, you do better. 

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