Life is the art of drawing without an eraser ~ John W. Gardner

How Others See You

The most given advice of all time is always this:-

It is important how you see yourself. It doesn’t matter how others see you.

Is that all true? Can we really do that?

We live in a world that everyone seems to be in the game of pleasing each other. It is so often that we do things to please someone, we were taught this way.

When we were small, we were taught to obey our parents. We would be deemed as naughty or bad when we misbehave. When we behave the way our parents expected us to be, they would be happy and reward us (with more love) and then we would be happy. If you behave so well, you would even get praises from your relatives and your parents would be even more delighted and you get more love and you get happier…… It works in a circle. You see, we were taught to please others since young. IT IS IMPORTANT how your parents see you and how others see your parents through you as a child.

When we went to school, again we were expected to obey the teachers and be the one that every kid likes to play with. When we didn’t do well in exams, teachers saw us as rotten apples and blamed the parents for not teaching us well and we often got bad treatment. When we did so well in school, teachers loved us more. We were told to be nice to our classmates, so that they would want to play with us. We certainly did not want to be the lone ranger in the class that has no friends. Again, IT IS IMPORTANT how your teachers and classmates see you in school.

When we stepped into college/university, we were even more eager for attention. Everybody seemed to be fighting for attention from everyone. Wanting to please so much to gain others’ acceptance. How often did we see an outcast and not feel pity for him/her? Of course we don’t want to be an outcast. So we continue to do what pleases others and we do what others expected of us. IT IS IMPORTANT how your mates see you.

When it is time for us to walk the career path, we are even more aware of how others see us. Good relationships with co-workers are vital, good working relationship with your immediate superior is even more crucial. We certainly don’t want to be the public enemy. In the workplace, we have to be careful not to step on others’ toes and we have to be mindful of what comes out from our mouth. We do not want to be called rude, but we do not want to be a hypocrite neither. We need the job. So, IT IS IMPORTANT how your co-workers see you.

When it comes to friends, it is the only time that we can say “I don’t care how you see me, this is me, take it or leave it”. Friends do not come with benefits, they offer you companionship, guidance, advice and ears. Don’t like something you hear? Just leave it. She gets angry with you for nothing? You can choose to un-friend her. After all, it is you who choose your friends.

How others see me, is important to me to a certain extent. My job nature requires me to maintain at least neutral relationship with every colleague. I can’t be seen as taking sides. I can’t react harshly. I can’t show much of negative emotions. I have to be seen as working well WITH everyone. How others see me in the workplace, is important to me. I can’t bother much about what others may talk about me behind my back, so long as I can still work with them and vice versa, I am happy to go along.

Well, guess the importance of how others see us depends on various situations and how important the other person is to us. I can’t bear the thought of Andrew or the friends whom I care about see me as a bad person.

Those that I do not care or are not important to me, I can’t care much about how they see me.

If someone is totally ignorant towards how others see him/her, can we say that he/she is arrogant? She sees herself perfectly fine and how others see her doesn’t matter to her. In fact, everyone dislikes her. He sees himself perfectly fine but in fact everyone hates his arrogance.

So, I believe the most important thing is to be humble and yet feel confident about yourself. One has to have the ability to differentiate critique and criticism.

Is it important how others see me? Yes, only if they are important to me.

Photo by Ashley at BOH Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands.

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