It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.
What a revealing, thoughtful statement! Many times it is so true too, isn’t it?
There are many of us who are by nature self-confident and we can act with self-confidence and mental strength. Under any situation we can decide what is best and act independently. We take the advice of others, but with a grain of salt.
However, there are those of us who live our whole lives caring too much about other people’s opinions about us. We always worry about what they think of this and that about us, our family, our children, our home, job, skills, status and so on and so forth. We probably really care about those people and long for their love and appreciation.
Don’t get me wrong! I don’t think there is anything wrong with listening to others – even children – about their opinions and suggestions. It can be very useful. It is wise to do so. The only thing is that we should have the mental attitude to take it or leave it, and not give too much importance.
Some children need more attention and appreciation than others. If they don’t get it, they do strange things to get attention, or they may develop a diffident nature. For example, one of my friends visited me from another city and at that time she just had one son. I really thought the kid was very sweet and well-behaved. I wanted them to stay a little longer. The next time she visited me after two years, she had a second child. This time I found that the older kid was a total brat now. He threw tantrums as soon as he came and made a lot of fuss. The second child was naturally given a lot more attention. But it seemed like in their home too, relatives and friends were visiting to see the new child and paying a lot of attention to him and giving him gifts etc. I recognized that the parents did not understand that the older child was feeling unwanted and was behaving badly because he wanted their attention and love. It was obvious that they did not have talks with him and prepare him for the second child.
Sometimes children might be over-protected and may not be allowed to deal with even the small problems that appear in life. I think that a guided experience of dealing with people and transactions in childhood can be a big help, for boys and girls, in promoting self-confidence and mental strength.
Such caring about others’ opinions could become a habit. I am quite certain that most of our behavioral, mental and physical problems are due to bad habits!! The hardest thing to do is to change a habit that has been well-established in our minds. Looking for excessive approval from others is one of these really bad habits. So self-confidence should be promoted in childhood and feeling of inadequacy must be nipped in the bud. Don’t you think?
I believe that there always solutions to most everything that we have control of. Our childhood, people around us etc. may not be under our control, but our attitude and our willingness to listen, watch and learn are. To have the courage and guts to ignore the people on whom we have been depending on for love, affection and appreciation is not easy, but we can start thinking about it, learning and practicing a little. And we can teach the kids to be self-reliant.
Gradually we should develop the courage to be mentally independent, especially girls and women. Practice makes perfect! After all, we love ourselves more than others!!