You cannot control who will like you, who will vilify you, who will speak kindly of you, who will judge you, who will love you, who will treat you unfairly, who will support you, who will spread lies about you, or who will be your biggest fan. We literally cannot control how any other person is going to feel, think, or treat us. When we come to recognize that as an actual fact, we can turn our focus to the only thing in this life that we actually can control, and that is how we feel about ourselves.
“Be proud of who you are, and not ashamed of how someone else sees you.”
I learned that lesson many years ago after going through a series of very difficult events in my life. I had come through a very unhappy marriage, a difficult divorce, a rough time in my professional life, and strained relations with certain members of my family. I had spent years trying to please other people, wanting them to recognize the good in me. I had spent years trying to be smart enough, or pretty enough, or skinny enough, or nice enough, or successful enough, or good enough, and all those other ‘enoughs’ that people were expecting from me. Yet, as hard as I tried, there was always someone who would tell me that I wasn’t enough, and my view of myself would fall completely apart. I would feel horrible about myself. I would feel sad and discouraged and I would allow myself to believe that someone else’s view of me was, in fact, true, rather than looking in the mirror and knowing for myself who that girl was that was staring back at me.
“How others see you isn’t important, how you see yourself means everything”
By seeking other people’s approval of me I had literally given away my ability to control knowing who I was. I had given up all ability to control my own happiness by placing that power in the hands of anyone who wanted to form opinions about me. I felt helpless. Then one day a wise counselor helped me to see that as long as I cared about what other people thought of me I was never going to have true confidence in myself, because I literally could not control other people’s judgments about me, and the fact is that other people are never equipped to pass fair judgment on us because they are not God, and God is the only one equipped to pass fair judgments. The counselor helped me to realize that I needed to let go completely of caring or worrying about what anyone else thought about me and start focusing entirely on what I thought of myself. I had to first block out everyone else’s opinions of me and instead focus all my attention on being the girl I wanted God to see in me. God is the only person I needed to worry about pleasing, and pleasing Him is something I had total control over. Suddenly I no longer felt helpless.
My life changed drastically after that. I began to live my life focused on doing the best I could each day. I no longer needed to compete with anyone else because God isn’t going to judge me on a comparative basis to anyone else. God is going to judge me on whether I do my best to become more and more like Him; not on if I become what someone else thinks I should be. God is going to judge me on whether I pick myself up after making mistakes, learn from my mistakes, and move forward as a better person determined not to make that same mistake again; not on if I was a perfect person. God is going to judge me on my efforts; not the outcome of my efforts. God is going to judge me on making the most of my gifts and talents; not on a comparison with other people’s talents. God is going to judge me on how He feels about me; not on how other people think, talk, or feel about me. As I focused all my efforts on only pleasing God and letting go of what anyone else though, my entire life changed. The distractions and discouragements of others that had held me back previously went away. My confidence grew and my talents and abilities blossomed in ways I could never have imagined. My life is full of blessings beyond measure in every aspect, but most of all I have been blessed with the feeling of peace that comes from understanding that God’s opinion is the only opinion that I need to focus on.
There will always be those people in the world who take pleasure in telling you that you are not enough. Those people who would tell you that do so because they themselves don’t feel like enough, and their insecurity demands that they drag others down into a state of misery with them. The fact is that they simply cannot judge whether you are enough or not, because they are not God. And only you know where your own relationship with God stands – nobody else. Only you control improving that relationship. All it takes is being the best person you can be each day, growing and learning and improving along the way. The best part is that God doesn’t play favorites in who He will love, God doesn’t get fickle when it comes to being proud of you, God doesn’t decide the quota of good people is filled and therefore you can’t make it into the “good group”, God would never tell you that you are not enough – He knows that you are enough because you are his child and by birthright you have the ability to be everything if you just focus on being the very best that you can be.