Don’t be defined by other people


Life is an endless game of “what if (s)…” and “if only I’d (s)…” and lots of  “why did they think of me like this (s)…”. Every person is surrounded by a cloud of self-doubt, and many constantly seek approval from others. But when seeking approval, people tend to put themselves in a “box”. Made up of self-created walls, people look to conform to the ideas others may have for or of them. This leads to yet again another endless loop of self-deprecating doubt. 

Hearing other people define how we see ourselves and letting those thoughts rule our brains can be detrimental. The childhood saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is truly just a saying, because words, in fact, do hurt. These words can feel like stones being thrown at a lake, and their effect can be more than a ripple. One has to focus on not letting others define their self-worth. You can not let someone define who YOU are. This is no small feat, because everyone has had the notion of fitting in and making sure others are comfortable drilled into their brains from a young age. It is hard to break that mold and focus on oneself. But in order to be better and more hopeful for the future, one must find a way past the words and make their own definition of self. 

Self-worth is the internal sense of being good enough, worthy, and belonging. This can sometimes be a hard concept to work with, but it is necessary. Every person is worthy of love, support, and being treated with respect. People who decide they want to define someone else’s self-worth by bringing them down most likely have low self-esteem themselves. Our brains are wired to make fast judgments of our surroundings and those around us and most people do not spend a lot of time thinking about how that judgment may affect someone else. Taking time to stop, and working on understanding a situation or person can be helpful. 

Let other people think and act how they want. No one can control anyone else’s opinions or actions, but one can choose to not care; not letting others’ labels and opinions shatter one’s self-image. Practicing positive affirmations and working on a positive mindset is one step in the right direction. Other steps can be as simple as working on mental health and making sure to set goals and prioritize them. Practicing gratitude and understanding self-worth is also extremely important. 

Working towards not letting others define oneself is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. However, taking the first step is always the best option. Everyone deserves their own definition of self-worth, un-tarnished by anyone else, and purely self-based. Try asking yourself how you would describe yourself in one sentence, and go from there.