January 1

We must not allow
other people's limited
perceptions to define us.

Virginia Satir


Today's Meditation:

Sometimes I can't believe just how much time I've spent--wasted, actually--worrying about how other people have seen me, what they've thought of me, what they've considered me to be, the value they've seen in me.  In my life, I somehow grew up putting a great deal of value in other people's perceptions of who I am and what I'm worth, even if those people really haven't known much about me at all.

Because of this tendency, I've made many of my decisions in life based on what I've thought other people would think about me and my decisions and my actions.  I've rejected possible relationships because of what I thought other people would think about me if I went out with a certain girl or woman.  I've not pursued certain careers because of the judgments that I was sure other people would pass on my choice of professions.  I've not pursued certain passions because I didn't want people to think less of me.

Because of this tendency, I've lost an amazing number of opportunities in my life.  And while I'm not going to spend today regretting what I did or didn't do yesterday, I know that my life could be much more fulfilling today if I had not worried so much about what others thought earlier in my life.  I wanted to be the person that I thought others wanted to see, so that they would accept me more fully.  But that acceptance would have been conditional, which is the worst type of acceptance that we can possibly pursue.

I knew a man once who wanted to be a lawyer because that's what his father expected from him.  His dad had defined him, defined his likes, his dislikes--his very life.  But his dad didn't have to live that life.

I need to define myself.  My tastes, my preferences, my passions, my likes and dislikes--all need to come from me if I'm to live a genuine and authentic life.  They need to come from my heart and my spirit, not from what I think others want to see in me and from me.  If I allow others to define me and to define who I am, then I'm allowing others to do so from a very limited and distorted position, and I'm setting myself up for major disappointment in my life.

Questions to consider:

Who defines who you are?  How is that definition reached?

Why do we sometimes give others the power to decide who, what, or how we should be or act?

How can we take back the right and ability to define ourselves?  What will be some of the positive results if we do so?

For further thought:

There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout:  This is me damn it!  I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love!  I am a whole complex package.  Take me... or leave me.  Accept me - or walk away!  Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don't fit your idea of who I should be and don't try to change me to fit your mold.  If I need to change, I alone will make that decision.  When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad--you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.

Stacey Charter


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