Who has the power to define you?

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Brian Kight

I decided to go deeper into the topic I introduced yesterday about how you can’t control people’s perceptions of you, good or bad. A benefit of my Daily Discipline writing process is receiving your real-time feedback and being responsive to the issues that interest you. I enjoy that here. From the many replies I received on yesterday’s message, this is one of those topics. So, let’s go deeper!

What someone thinks of you is their perception. It isn’t Truth. It isn’t reality. It belongs to them, not to you. It’s a construct they’ve created in their mind.

It’s the same with your perceptions of other people. Your impressions of them are not who they are. You’re not the decider of what is true and real about other people. You’re the decider of your opinions. Those belong to you, not them.

Just because someone has an experience of you doesn’t mean that is you. Yes, what we do and how we do it creates experiences for others, but everyone interprets experiences differently according to their beliefs, biases, and preferences. It’s human. It’s normal. It’s ok.

You are something other than people’s impression of you, regardless of what that impression is. I am not your impression of me, I promise.

The more you desire and depend on people’s approval to feel good about yourself, the more other people’s opinions imprison you. When part of your identity is made of their perceptions, those people get to define you. 

People like that chase perceptions instead of purpose. That’s not you. They’re trying to make impressions to make them feel whole (or loved, worthy, included, important, valued, admired, elevated, deserving, powerful, right, free, etc.), perpetually attempting to validate themselves externally rather than internally.

Consider this: if people’s positive perceptions of you can influence how you feel about yourself, so can their negative perceptions. They operate in equal proportion. However much one can affect and shape your identity, the other end of the spectrum can do the same in reverse. One unfavorable opinion can easily crush an identity that desires or depends on approval.

The simple point is this: We must define ourselves and not allow the impressions of others to define us. They can’t define us unless we let them.

Listen, observe, consider, keep an open mind, and learn from the feedback you get. However, always remember that a positive or negative perception of you is just the opinion of another imperfect person, just like you and me.

They can have their opinions, but we define ourselves.

The time is now. Do the work.

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