Impressing Ourselves vs. Impressing Others

inside vs. outside 2

If you have read my post called “Accepting Our Differences,” you already know that, with one exception, I am not a big fan of putting labels on people and putting them in categories.  I think the only two categories that really matter are whether a person has integrity, good character, morals, and values or whether they don’t. That is, after all, the whole premise of this blog in the first place, to express what I feel all of that means.

A big part of that, in my mind, is whether or not you know if you have all of those traits along with good intentions and a good heart and that’s all that’s important to you, or whether you live your life based on what you think will look good or be approved by everyone else in your life.  Social media, in my opinion, has only added to the need for many people to focus on keeping up appearances and gaining approval from others.  If you are making decisions and doing things based on what you know is the right thing to do instead of what will result in personal gain or recognition, then you shouldn’t need validation from others because that should make you feel good on the inside.

Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of people who have low self-esteem and need that validation.  Add to that the prevalence of people who are so quick to criticize others (also made a whole lot easier due to social media and the internet in general) and that makes it a whole lot more difficult to NOT focus as much on what others think of us and living our lives accordingly.  But if we are doing all the right things for the right reasons in the first place, then others should think highly of us without needing to work for it.  I have very different opinions of my friends and family members who do things out of the kindness of their hearts than I do of those who do things to draw attention to themselves.

Instead of trying to impress everyone else, I think a better approach is to try to impress yourself by being better in some way each day than you were before.  And I don’t necessarily mean better at your job or a particular skill or talent you may have, although that’s important too.  I mean being a better friend, partner, parent, sibling, and so on because you are becoming a better listener, better at communicating and keeping in touch with people, better at being more open-minded, better at focusing on the positives, better at letting go of the little things that don’t really matter, better at being a good role model, or whatever else you think is something that you could improve.  We might not be able to make an improvement each and every day, but we can at least try.  I really wonder sometimes how different things would be, not only in my personal life but in the world in general, if more people focused less on what everyone else was doing and how wrong it is and instead focused more on improving themselves.

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