How would other people describe you? How much importance should we place in their opinions? Why does it matter? Or does it not matter?
I agree that the person’s opinion that should matter the most is your own. You need to be comfortable and love the skin you’re in. And on the road to self-esteem and self-confidence begins with understanding what you value and how you live those values.
For instance, if you value honesty, then you might jeopardise your perception of yourself by telling little white lies to get ahead in your career, even if it makes you successful. But ultimately, we improve our perception of ourselves when we accomplish hard things, when we move out of our comfort zone, take a chance, build up the confidence in something new and excel at it. And the only way to ensure you excel at it is to be focused in the present, not worried about how slow or poor you currently are but only trying to be better than yesterday.
However, the reason why other people’s opinions are so important is twofold: firstly, we all have blind spots in our perception of everything; we see things through our own internal filters and understanding things through our own internal biases. Secondly, we have to interact with others to accomplish any of our own intentions or goals – the proverbial phrase “no man is an island” only begins to scratch the surface of the interconnectedness of our species.
Because we miss things and need help from others, we, therefore, have to leave others with a favourable impression of us or we may alienate the people in our lives, or at the very least, overcomplicate a simple situation. And the truth about it is that, the impression that one person has of us, which is also influenced by their biases, could be interpreted in a different light by another person even if given the same set of interactions.
For example, some people would describe me as privileged or well mannered based on some of my behaviours which appears as entitled or spoilt to others. Or another scenario could be misconstruing my levity and humorous nature for irresponsibility. And with this judgments on who I am, you can easily see how treatments may vary.
In terms of importance, the sad truth is that human beings are adaptable and can survive the loss of anyone. There is literally no one in your current existence, no matter how much you love them, that you cannot live without. The lose may transform who you are as a person, but you will still have happy moments, sad moments, horny moments, humorous moments, angry moments, tired moments etc…
Therefore, there is no single person’s perception of you that should define you. However, a collective perception of you should influence your decision on who you are or better still the impression you are giving others. Even Jesus asked his disciples who do others say I am, but at the heart of it he was concerned with who his disciples perceived him to be. As such the importance we place should correlate with the significance of the relationship.
So be you, authentic and complete you, but be mindful of the you that you are to others, as sometimes, you need to learn from them, because you are not always the you, you think you are… you know.