I was working on a different post, but a comment on an old post of mine gave me pause. The post is “I Want To Kill Myself“, and the comment related to something I said.
In that post I made the following statement:
Another major difference is the size of my ego. Teasing would do little to shake the confidence I have in myself. The opinion of others simply does not enter into the equation when it comes to deciding who I should be.
To which the person replied:
The reason this startled me, is that I know you were speaking the truth . . .
Do you really believe yourself to be immune from the opinions of others and how that directly relates to your own opinion of yourself?
You can read the reply there, but I wanted to post it because this question has been asked of me before.
The short answer to the above question is yes; the opinion of others does not affect the opinion I have of myself.
At first glance, this may seem arrogant, and many take it as such. Per what I state above, I don’t care what they think, but perhaps an explanation is in order.
Humans are uniquely cursed. We are social animals, but insofar as who we are, our thoughts, our very being, we are as alone as if there were no other persons in the world.
I say cursed because other social animals have strict rules governing their behavior, station in life, position in their tribe. Some are set to a given role by birth (worker bee), others by virtue of their strength (dominant wolf in a pack). As near as we know animals do not have the degree of self-awareness humans do. Worker bees do not ponder if they were meant for something greater. A low ranking pack member does not think they deserve more.
But humans do. That self-awareness is responsible for countless religions, countless suffering, countless political and social systems, all in the name of giving meaning to one’s existence, and to provide recognition to either the individual or to the tribe to which they claim membership.
I see the world a little differently. I do not see my worth being dictated by outside persons or agencies, and therefore those persons or agencies are in no position to affect or judge my self-worth. Recognizing that, I cannot judge other people other than by their actions; I have no other way of knowing what kind of persons they are.
There are not enough words in all the languages of the world for you or anyone to explain to others who you are, what you think, what you feel, why something makes you happy, sad, or angry.
We can try, and words, poems, songs, art, can sometimes come close to letting others peek into your very being, but their interpretation is tainted by what they themselves have experienced. It’is unlikely anyone can truly know who you are, precisely because words are limited, because who we are is shaped by what we experience, and because we can’t read each others mind.
Your confidence in yourself comes from you knowing only one human being in the whole universe knows exactly what kind of person you are. That’s you.
Confidence comes from knowing you are trying your best to continuously improve as a thinking human being.
If you want to expand on that, it means that when you make mistakes, you know they are not intentional, and know you will strive to learn from them, and to not repeat them. It means if you hurt someone, you know it was not intentional, know you are genuinely sorry, and know you will strive to not do it again. It means you live life mindful of the fact you are not perfect, but know you are trying to be; to be just, to be fair, to be compassionate, to be caring.
If you know all that, it doesn’t matter what others think because they don’t know you. And since they don’t know you, their opinion does not count; their opinion cannot count.
Remember what I said about words and language? It applies here. I can explain it, but it cannot capture the whole of the way I think and feel for others to understand. But it should perhaps come close.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.