“We are trying to sort out if we are okay relative to what others think of us.” Michael Gervais
From the moment we exit the birth canal we are needy—for nourishment, touch, warmth, and a soothe familiar voice. These fundamental needs soon blossom to include acceptance and loyalty. After all, in early, early childhood we see ourselves as the center of the only universe we know, the universe of our “self.”
Somewhere, however, between the ages of 3 and 6 we begin to learn that others have needs as well, implying that we are not the only ones in this universe. Unfortunately, too many of us never seem to learn that lesson to its fullest.
Because we are so familiar with a high need for self-regard, we still think the world owes us respect and admiration. We seem to feel that although we may not be the only ones on earth, we are certainly the most important ones.
With these thoughts as backdrop, it is no wonder that we are so hungry to have (and to make) people want us or like us, or even, to adore us. I think this is because most of us lack some interior barometer telling us that we are okay, just as we are. Therefore, we are left without knowing precisely how we can justify our personal self-worth—without the court of perky public opinion.
But your life is not a popularity contest where the one with the most “Likes” wins.
Now, do the opinions of other people even matter? Of course, they do. It is like having a real-time ongoing feedback loop. Still, let’s keep in mind that opinions are unvalidated comments from questionable sources. Yes, while the feedback from others is valuable and ripe for pondering, it is not the Truth. It is only opinion.
Feedback is a primarily mechanism built to measure how well you are living according to your own values. So, yes opinions (and feedback) can be valuable, but only for evaluation, little bite sized bits of evidence for your interior barometer to consider.
Values that Matter
For me, you are left with only one thing that really matters: your values. Which deeply held beliefs direct your actions and attitudes? This is a whole ‘nother matter. Your personal values are not measured by popularity, but by consistent living according to your deepest needs and beliefs.
After the Public Vote is In
The Only Vote that Matters is Your Own
Photo courtesy of Petro Bevz at istockphoto