We cannot rely on what others say about us as infallible truth. What matters is what we think about ourselves. The beliefs we hold about ourselves can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Our opinion of ourselves can also be fallible. We run a story in our minds about who we are—but it will need many revisions and edits throughout our lifetime. People change constantly, and it is important not to put a label on ourselves and others. We use labels to zone in on a spectrum of behaviours, however, labels do not define a person as a whole. Labeling ourselves can restrict us from reaching our true potential as complex and dynamic human beings.
Personal Growth Can Happen at Any Age
We never know when a person will have a life-changing shift in perspective. Labels can cause a person to overlook and dismiss their own strengths, as well as exaggerate and hyper-focus on any weaknesses.
Negative feedback from others can be useful if it is based in truth, and provides an opportunity for growth. If a criticism is true, we can change our behaviour accordingly; if it is false—the critic is the one with a problem.
This is especially true if a person displays a pattern of gossiping or criticizing others. People can unconsciously project their own insecurities, displaced anger, fears, and feelings of inadequacy onto others. We never know when we will become the target of someone else’s projections.
It is important to surround ourselves with empowering and supportive people.
Avoiding Petty or Judgmental People is an Act of Self-Love
People who gossip enjoy the feeling of power and superiority they get while they are making someone else look bad. It reveals more about the person doing the gossiping than anyone else.
We can usually sense when people are giving constructive criticism because they genuinely care and want to help us develop. We should avoid giving criticism to anyone who we do not truly care about.
Criticism of any kind should never threaten our identity or intrinsic worth as human beings; nor should having to apologize to others if we make a mistake.
Some people have a fragile ego and are not secure enough with themselves to utter the word “sorry”—it takes confidence to admit to a mistake. The need to be right over doing the right thing can cause a tremendous amount of turmoil in relationships. Apologizing when we are wrong, and admitting our mistakes, is an act of strength and humility.
Through all of our mistakes, our self-love must remain unconditional. It doesn’t mean we condone or accept our own negative behaviours—it means that we understand that our inherent worth as human beings is separate from our actions.
A Healthy Relationship with Yourself Leads to Positive Connections with Others
The more internal work we do, the less influence the external world has on our self-image. Self-love and self-esteem are a protective shield against toxic or difficult personalities.