A need to impress
In the end, devoting your life to doing well in the family or friend or community or culture or – even worse – mainstream media polls is a bad idea. It is a big mistake. For this misguided life emphasis results in giving other people way too much power over your life. Your vision quickly becomes clouded as you lose a sense of your larger life purpose. Instead, sadly, daily life is reduced to playing endless little competitive and comparative games. And that routine gets old and wearisome after a while.
Thinking or believing or doing or saying what you need to simple to please others is a waste of time.
Yes, it is much better if you can break free from an excessive concern about what other people think early on. Find a way to move beyond an obsessive preoccupation with the opinions of your peers. This shift in your thinking will help you move ahead. It will reduce your level of stress and anxiety and free up a substantial amount of time. Relief from the controlling and arbitrary opinions of other people is possible. Amen to that.
One way to do this, is to get to know a wide variety of people. Mix things up. Expand your horizon. Enlarge your social circle. Parachute into another culture if you can. What will you discover? Different people and different groups of people often have different opinions. How about that! What amounts to “Thus saith the Lord” in one setting turns out to be insignificant in another. Oh yes, some people will smile and others will frown no matter what you do with your life. That’s how it works. So expect some criticism and some I-am-definitely-not-pleased-with-you-talk coming your way. This will happen. The trick, however, is in knowing who to listen to.
When people lose a sense of respect for the words of their Creator their own thoughts and opinions have a way of becoming much more important than they should be. Canadian or American or “North Polian” culture suddenly becomes the norm and the standard by which all others are judged. And, of course, the gate-keepers in any one culture become the gods. While there is great variety among the lesser deities, money and possessions and success often becomes the measure of personal worth. The Almighty dollar, for example, is considered worthy of a never-ending chorus of praise.
Think clearly. Remain calm. Learn to see through all the cultural shenanigans. Learn to filter mere human opinion. You will be glad you did.
There is no denying, though, that being put down is often a negative and painful experience. It isn’t likely something that you will look forward to. Comparable to a physical injury, constant condemnation can have a crippling effect. But only if you choose to believe the lies that are coming your way. And failing to impress can on occasion be a positive experience: It can serve to open your eyes.
Stop for a moment and think about a specific time when you managed not to royally impress someone you were really hoping to. It could be a recent experience or more of a distant memory. For whatever reason, you didn’t get the approving nod or the pat on the back. Congratulations were not in order after all. Nobody felt led to offer a word of encouragement or genuine affirmation. Rather, you were given the impression that you were nothing special. Not particularly outstanding in your field or anybody else’s field either.
Looking back, you definitely did not receive the response you were hoping for. But, so what?
Life goes on. So they weren’t impressed. Who cares? Why does one little persons’ opinion get to matter so much? Do you really want the limited perception of another human being to determine what you do with the next twenty years or even the next twenty minutes of your life? Do you want to be controlled by their fickle feelings or inappropriate behaviour? Does that make sense?
It goes without saying that we can all sometimes be much more impressed with our own opinions than we should be. It happens. We decide that we are not amused about this or that, about him or about her, and then assume that the universe must readjust itself to our perspective. So don’t be too hard on the people who put you down or criticize you unnecessarily. Chances are that you have done exactly the same thing in other situations. I have. We all have.
If only we could learn to redirect this partly positive need we have to impress or please someone somewhere.
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