Tag Archives: self-definition

Other People’s Opinions (vs your own)

I wrote these two short entries back in 2005 for a friend of a friend. Evidently, she’d had been feeling brought down by criticism. I passed this along through my friend. I never heard anything more about it but I kept a copy.

Other People’s Opinions
Your opinion of yourself should not be unduly influenced by others’ opinions, be it praise or criticism. The goal is to have a self-opinion* which is relatively stable, neither too inflated by compliments nor too deflated by negativity. Moreover, you should choose whose opinions are worthwhile to you; judge the source before taking them to heart. All opinions are NOT created equal…

*Self-opinion
Self-knowledge is CRUCIAL – If you do not know who you are you remain susceptible to others’ interpretations and definitions. There will ALWAYS be people waiting to tell you (especially as a woman) who you are or SHOULD be. If you are pleasing everyone, then you do not yet have self-knowledge. Self-knowledge comes at cost, but lack of it is costlier. Over-dependency on anyone or anything will always circumvent self-knowledge as the dependency defines you first. Self-knowledge must be treasured and defended when necessary.

5 Things That Define Me

(I’m taking this idea/suggestion from a post on Story Time With John)

1. Humor. Looking for the humor in things, both wanting always to be amused whether by books, movies, or people; as well as being funny to entertain myself and others. I’ve said it before, but I know when I lose my humor – about anything, whether it’s a person or a situation – it’s a huge red flag to me that things are seriously out-of-whack. Humor makes life tolerable.

2. Nature. I feel like I am my best self when I’m outdoors, in nature. When I first heard of Thoreau and Emerson in a college literature class, I felt these are my boys. I’d never heard of transcendentalism before then but immediately recognized I’d had that experience – sublime moments in nature where everything seems to come together, the purpose is clear, and all is right with the world. (This doesn’t happen a lot but even lesser experiences are well worth it to me. Being in nature is both immensely calming and invigorating. It suits my strong desire to be unrestricted, unhampered, “free” if you will.)

3. Connection. A powerful drive to have meaningful, substantial connections with other people. I can experiences actual “highs” from being with other people – specific people that is – that leave me feeling euphoric and uplifted; my mind buzzing away with thoughts and ideas. That is the best.

4. Understanding, characterized by a lifelong penchant for asking questions. I have a real need to find meaning in life, in events that have happened, in relationships I’ve had, and what we’re all doing here. I want truth.

5. Creativity and expression. I’ve been making stuff since I first had crayons and construction paper. The materials have changed but the desire to transform materials, whether for usefulness or art, is one of the things which makes me happiest. I include writing here because it’s my rawest, truest form of self-expression (I think so anyway).