There’s a certain type of addictive freedom that comes from being wholly yourself, not worrying what anyone else thinks or feels where you’re concerned. When you find the fortitude to shed away the concerns of others and what their ideas and notions of you might be, you breathe easier, you love deeper, and you live brighter.
For most of my teens and early twenties, I was obsessed with what others thought of me. It was rare that I considered situations or circumstances for myself. Rather, I’d ask everyone around me what they thought I should do and then I’d do whatever the consensus happened to be. Sure, I was good at placating those in my life and it was rare that someone was disappointed in me, but I constantly felt trapped and as if I was being held hostage by own desperate will to please. I wasn’t myself; I was who everyone else wanted me to be.
And then I got divorced. And in the process, everything in my life and conscience was changed.
As most of you know, I was raised in a fairly conservative Christian household. But unlike others in my generation who were raised in the same type of home, I don’t resent it and I have never fought against it. I realize that my parents did what they felt and believed was best and I’m proud of the man they helped shape me in to. But at some point, I discovered that it wasn’t enough to simply rely on the teachings and examples of my family and church. I was going to have to start making some decisions on my own and without the help of anyone else. If I didn’t, I would feel trapped, desperate, and unhappy as I had for the entirety of my life. And at 22, I’d had enough.
Through my divorce, I learned what it meant to disappoint the entirety of those who love you. My clan, try as they might, couldn’t help but look on me with pitiful eyes and wonder just what I thought I was doing, getting divorced and so forth. Didn’t I know the Bible forbade that? And yet, what most of them didn’t realize is that through their disappointment, I gained freedom. I finally felt what it was like to take a stand and go my own way. Despite the immense hurt and pain and depression my life held, I was growing while learning what it meant to be a man and to be an adult. I was learning how to lean only on myself without being concerned with the thoughts and opinions of others.
Since then, I’ve grown into the type of person who cares very little of how he is looked upon or considered. I am who I am and I do what I do. I am wholly myself. I stand by the convictions that I have developed for my own self and I write what I feel I should, rarely, if ever, worrying about how my words and convictions and beliefs will be taken or twisted. Do I aim to incite or malign? Never. But I’ve gained the courage to brand my faith and my choices to my chest and wear them proudly.
It’s possible that you’ve dealt with the same situations in your past. It’s easy to become wrapped up in worrying about what others think of us and what we need to do to please them so that we’ll be liked. My only question is “Why?”
What does it matter what others think of us when our only incessant goal should be to concern ourselves with our standing in God’s eyes? To stand and to be what you wish and how you wish is something that very few of us actually muster up the courage to achieve. But it is possible.
There’s freedom in being yourself, in casting away the concerns of others and walking rightly in your own ordered footsteps. You may feel trapped and beholden to the opinions and feelings of others, but I promise you that if you’ll begin to break free from that hold, you’ll grow to be a happier and more satisfied person. I’m a living example of that very thing.
You deserve to be yourself. And you deserve to be the you that you want to be. So quit worrying about what others may think about you. In the end, it doesn’t matter even a little.
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