In all honesty, most of us do care what others think of us. Even when we say we don’t. I do try to convince myself. My lips are moving, I hear the words. I want to believe me. Rats. I do care.
It still hurts when someone finds fault with me or something I’ve done.
|Looks like they’ve got “being yourself” covered.|
If I can pass anything along to my grandchildren, it would be this: Be yourself. Love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t truly love others. And this too: It really doesn’t matter what others think of you. Really.
Too thin, too fat, too slow, too fast, too pimply, lips too fat, nose too big. Talk too much, don’t talk enough, too smart, too dumb, wrong skin color, wrong clothes. I suffered anxiety over all these things in my adolescence. I just knew I was ugly and dumb and fat. I said those things to my reflection in the mirror. My older brother confirmed it. I was convinced that everyone saw what I saw.
It wasn’t true.
I look at the pictures of my younger self and I’m amazed. Why could I not enjoy those years? There was nothing wrong with the way I looked. Everyone looked like that. We were all in the throes of adolescence. Sure, some endured it better than others. One of my friends seemed completely infatuated with himself and he had a lot of others convinced too. I thought he was handsome, but I wasn’t so fond of his ego.
We all know, because we’ve seen it happen––beauty fades. Hair turns gray or falls out. Skin sags and wrinkles. The pounds pile on and refuse to budge. It happens to almost everyone. All of those beautiful young people are now entering their sixties, right alongside me. It doesn’t seem to matter as much what we look like. We laugh it off and deep inside, we’re just happy to be around to kid each other about it.
And as we grow older, we learn the truth. What others say, what they think of you, doesn’t matter. The one thing that really matters, is what you think of yourself. Who you are is important. What you’ve done with your life is important. What you’re doing now is important, along with where you’re headed. Whether your ten or sixty, you need a goal, a destination. That’s important, too. And if all these things are in place, you can feel pretty good about yourself.
Important Note: Loving yourself shows your children that it’s possible. If you constantly criticize yourself in front of your children and grandchildren, they’re going to learn to do the same thing. If you’re overly concerned about what others think of you, your children will do the same.
So here’s another opportunity to make a difference and pass a universal truth along to the next generations. God wants us to love ourselves. Love your neighbor as well as you do yourself (Luke 10:27 TMB). How can you love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself? How can you truly love God if you don’t love what He’s created in you?
I thank God for you. Now, look in your mirror and repeat that until you believe it.