Are You Afraid of What Others Will Think?
I am afraid of what people will think of me. It still affects every decision I make. I can’t be happy with my own decisions if I am going to get a negative response from other people. That’s no way to live. My choices, my life, what I love to do, shouldn’t be influenced by outside critics who have not earned a seat at my feedback table. I should only be concerned with feedback from the people that I have asked to give me feedback. Why is this concept so hard to grasp? It’s easy to say that I’m not concerned about what others think, but the reality is I want everyone to like me and approve of everything I do. That is an unrealistic way to live.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – President Roosevelt
The above quote is from a speech given by President Roosevelt in 1910 a year after he had left office. This speech has recently been brought back into wide circulation and discussion by Brené Brown who used this speech in her book “Daring Greatly”. The words are inspiring – especially in the wake of social media and instant feedback or critique by the masses. It challenges us to get into the arena and ignore the critic who “neither know[s] victory nor defeat”. Brown’s book continues to encourage people to be vulnerable and find strength not in their success, but in being real about your failures.
This is powerful and seems counterintuitive in a world where we try to always present a strong front. Being vulnerable is not something we are taught. Instead we are told as children to “quit crying, rub some dirt on it, to ‘buck up’, to pick yourself up by your shoelaces.” The
Girl, Wash Your Face
Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be
I recently listened to an audiobook that was off the beaten path for what I normally read. A friend recommended “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis and I thought the title was funny and interesting. Was it a memoir? A fictional story? I didn’t even do any research, I just downloaded the book and pressed play.
The book is a combination of instruction and motivation that is geared toward women. As a man, I listened patiently as Hollis encouraged moms, soon-to-be moms, and women who wanted to be moms as well as empty-nesters, entrepreneurs and single women. But the core of the book is about believing in yourself and doing what it takes to make big changes by taking small steps. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think that at the core of many of my own problems in moving forward in a new career path, a dating relationship, or a big purchase is always tied to what other people will think. It makes sense in a world where every single thing we do can be posted on social media and the value of our existence is summed up in the number of likes, loves, and comments.
I’ll admit it, I love social media. I like to post a selfie and get people to tell me something, anything. “See Me!” Seems to be the resonating chorus from our social media walls, some, maybe more than others. Social media is a vortex that sucks me in time and again because it is a quick, albeit shallow, way to get easy-to-accept feedback. The reason I say “easy-to-accept” is because compliments are hard for me to accept. Is the person saying the compliment because it is true, or because they want something? Am I really “handsome, funny, intelligent”? I often wonder why positive feedback through a digital platform is so much easier to take than a compliment in person.
The More Authentic I Am, The More I Love Me…
What I have learned about myself through books and quite a bit of therapy, both counseling and group therapy, is that:
I fear judgment of others because I judge others.
I fear taking chances because I fear that others will judge me.
I fear being authentic because someone might not like the real me.
But what I have found is that the more authentic I am, the more I love myself.
Yes, there have been some people that don’t like the real me. I have had to replace those friends with new friends and I’ve found that being the real me is much less work, less stress, and less exhausting. At the beginning of 2019 I didn’t make any big resolutions, instead, I decided to give myself a break and stop expecting so much of me. When I gave myself a break, I started seeing others in a different light as well.
Aren’t most of us doing the best we can with what we have been given? Sure there are a few people who seem to suck the fun out of things, but I’ve found in general that people are still kind and caring and deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt.
A New Career as a Teacher. The Reward is So Great.
So what is my point in all of this? It can be hard to change careers and to start something new, but iteach works hard to make the transition into a teaching career easy. While being a teacher can be a challenging career, it is also one of the most rewarding.
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