So I was talking with someone and they were telling me how self conscious they feel about what others think of them.
They said when they were in school, they were picked on, bullied, labeled, and made to feel different and excluded.
Whether it was their hair that was different or their lunchbox that got taken and hidden from them, the other kids were relentless.
Now in life, they are still dealing with all those feelings.
Do they look right?
Are they educated enough?
Is their profession something others will admire them for?
And on and on.
And at a certain point, I said, "Isn't it more important what you think about yourself than what others think about you?"
And they said, "Sure, but I still feel like I have to live up to other people's standards. I don't want them to think bad about me or talk behind my back!"
I understand this way of thinking is based on trauma from the past and feelings of inadequacy and not fitting in.
And we can spend our whole lives chasing this illusive acceptance from others.
Or we can decide to pursue we what believe in and love, and to find healing in the good we do, rather than the nods or winks from others that we receive.
If we are trying to live up to somebody else's arbitrary standards of perfection, cool, or being in the in-crowd, we may never be good enough.
Instead, if we pursue what we know is right from our moral compass and our heart and soul, and always do our best, we will attain the satisfaction that comes with healthy self-development and maturation.
Seeking unconditional acceptance and love can definitely leave you feeling frustrated, self-hating, and even quite alone.
But accepting yourself, developing yourself, and giving to G-d and to others will always leave you feeling fulfilled.
Forget living as if your in the fishbowl, and strive for the Superbowl of achievement through incremental progress and goal attainment in your life.
Start with making yourself proud and the others will come around. And if for some reason they don't, it's truly their deficiency and loss and not yours!
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)