Have you heard people tell you that you shouldn’t mind what others think of you? Yes, of course, we’ve heard people say that. We’ve read some quotes on that. I think the point of those statements is that sometimes when you believe what others think and say about you, their words can discourage and cripple your potential to progress in life.
I have also heard a lot of people tell me all kinds of negative statements like, “You don’t have the ability to do this, or you will not succeed in doing that.” I’ve heard people’s gossips about me that crushed my spirit. Yes, we all in different ways may have gone through some of these experiences in life. That is why words of encouragements that offer hope and motivation are needed to lift up our thoughts and emotions.
Yet it is more helpful for us to not totally ignore all the negative comments others say about us. If we do that we may not see some things that are true about us that we do not even realize are there. Thus it is better to listen to what people have to say about us and consider if their opinions are true or not. Then we can decide what to do about it.
For the past few years, I have always took a repulsive stand and a very critical approach to challenge whoever said something bad about me. I always felt good when people said positive things about my life and what I did. But I didn’t like the bad comments people said about me. In fact, I always thought of myself as a better person than some others and never really saw the faults in my motives and character.
When I first got married, I thought I was the better person and wanted to change my wife. Yet, I did not realize that there were many things in my life that I needed to change in order to cultivate a good family relationship. For the first few months, things didn’t work out the way I thought it should be.
As time passed we spent time together discussing how we could improve our relationship with one another. It was then that my wife started pointing out some of my weaknesses. At first I didn’t want to accept what she said. I always had reasons to justify my niches while I pointed out her faults and weakness in life. This went on for some time until one night as we sat down talking to each other, my wife became so upset about my arrogance that she left me in the middle of our conversation and went to bed. I thought she was arrogant and not submissive, so I went and spent some time in prayer asking the Lord to change her. However, in the middle of my prayer, I somehow asked the Lord, “Maybe if it is me that is arrogant and stubborn then Lord, please help me see my mistakes.”
A few days later, we were having another conversation,
and as I was listening to my wife talking, it suddenly dawned on me that she was right. I needed to change some of my ways. It was not easy to let my wife tell me what I needed to hear in order to change. But as I listened, I began to realize that if I do not change, my negative impulses and character will affect my life, my family, work and the people around me.
Character and reputation are two different things. Character is what you produce. Reputation is the reflection you get from what others think of you. Your reputation is as important as your character. If your character is good then your reputation will also be good. Unless you change your character, you can never force people to change your reputation.
What others think of us is important because we do not live on our own. We live among other people. There are many things that can affect our lives based on how others think of us. Whether in business, school, church, games, or anything, if you have a good reputation, you pay your own ticket. In that I do not mean that we live to please people. The principle is whatever you sow, you reap. Whatever you throw up into the air, comes down. Whatever character you display, your reap the reputation.
We are all not perfect. Each of us have strengths and weaknesses. Yet most people do not like to admit their weakness or even listen to what others have to say in order to help them improve their lives. Often I see love quotes that say, “I need someone to love me just as I am.” We’ll people can love you despite the fact that you may be ugly, short, skinny or have some physical disabilities. Yet, if you have a bad character or habit that affects people, do not think they can easily put up with you. Like a rotten apple that tastes bad so is your bad character. People love you but your character is what affects them, and you are responsible to change it. If you change now, you will not regret in the future.
The next time you hear something negative mentioned about you, do not ignore it. Take it into consideration and see if what others are saying is true or not. If it is not true, ignore it and move on with your life. But if it is true, you need to find a way to change it.
What is something negative about you that is causing some people to talk about you?
What is the common approach you’ve taken most of the time when you hear something negative mentioned about you?
Here are few suggestions:
- Find an accountability partner. You can look for someone whom you trust and feel more close and comfortable with to share your stories. Ask them if they can evaluate your behavior and give honest feedback to help you.
- Spend time with a company of friends that will help you nurture the good character in you.
- Read books: There are many books that have been written on any topics that you may need. You can ask your friends to lend you theirs if they have any. There are also many websites on the internet that offer free advice and tips on how to help yourself in different areas in life.
- Attend seminars that will help you improve your life.
- Watch educational videos: It’s better to spend your time watching a good educational video that benefits you rather than watching a movie that entertain you but does not give you any benefit in return for the time you spend watching it.
- Get involved in something that will add value to your life and other people’s lives as well. That will contribute a positive outcome to your reputation in your family, your neighborhood, in school, or at work.
These are few of the many things I have been doing and have seen a lot of improvements in the way I think, act and relate to others. To be honest with you, it will take time for the negative emotions to heal. As that happens, you go through a process of reconditioning your mind and emotions to adjust and adapt to a new life. I have seen changes happen to me and my family because I was able to change.
I believe that regardless of who you are right now or what people say about you, you can change and become a better person because people do not control your reality. They are like mirrors that only reflect the image you present to them about your reality. You control your reality and it’s up to you to change it. If you change, your reputation will also change.