“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me!” Did you hear that saying when you were growing up? Is it true? I will answer that one for you; no, it is not. Words are powerful, strong, strengthening and destructive. The labels or descriptions we put on people can stick on them. They can work their way deep into the mind and remain there for a life time.
The words used to describe you can build you up or tear you down. If you are spoken well of it can boost your self-confidence, stroke your ego, give you positive feelings of being respected, acknowledged, appreciated, approved, and secure. If you are criticized it can have the opposite effect.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How did others learn about you?
- Do they know you?
- Do they know things about you from personal experience?
- Did they hear about you from someone else or from something written about you?
- What is the nature of your relationship with them?
- Does it matter to you what they say?
- Is it true?
- What if it is not?
- Does it matter?
- How will you respond?
There is another saying I heard growing up; *“To thy own self be true.” No matter what others say about you, you know the truth about yourself. Sometimes we are unjustly accused, or unfairly judged, or misunderstood, or gossiped about by jealous or unhealthy people (see part 1). Mostly we are spoken of as a result of our personal choices in word and deed that others see or hear about.
What about your reputation? It is earned over time with a good one easily tarnished quickly.
Wikipedia says, “Reputation of a social entity (a person, a social group, an organization) is an opinion about that entity, typically a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria.”
A take-a-way from this Part 2: Usually what others say about you is what you have shown or said to them directly or indirectly.
- As you are critiqued by the public what choices do you have?
- Have you considered choosing to not be offended even when something said about you is offensive?
- If your criteria for how to be is clear to you, then what does it matter what other say?
- How will you live from this day forward to teach people how to talk about you?
* Original source is a line from Polonius in Hamlet.