Balancing How You View Yourself

One of my favourite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt.  He said, “I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do. That is character!”

A very powerful quote full of irony and a strong principle – self-reflection.

As a Work Life Balance Specialist, each week the consistent ‘theme’ that I am seeing in my private clients, employers and employees is that their balance point is being found in feedback from opinions.  Yes, opinions from people who you trust and respect in your life.  This is certainly an option to give back to yourself.

Being out of balance certainly comes to the surface when you allow yourself to be concerned with your own self-inventory or assessment of who you are — both in your behaviour or your actions.  Especially when you allow others to chime in – at your expense.

Why are you worried about what others think of you? Praise or criticism can definitely unbalance you and your life quite quickly.

I was an instructor at Fanshawe College from 1990 – 2001. I instructed various classes in London, St. Thomas & Woodstock campuses.  I distinctly recall a specific class during my first year of teaching in 1990.

A small group of students were making a presentation to the class as part of their final course requirements.  During the presentation I remember hearing some antics and laughter among the class towards the group of students presenting.  The students kept looking over to me to see my reaction when I finally realized they were presenting and having some fun at the same time mimicking my mannerisms, my laugh, etc.  As I watched the end of the presentation it was my ‘aha’ moment that my students were portraying me as a good-natured, fun instructor.

As I sit and write this post, 20 years later, that memory has stuck with me. I realized after that day that who I really wanted to portray to those students was authentic and genuine. A great college instructor who was passionate to teach young minds.  Being mimicked by my students solidified that I truly cared about their opinion of me and more importantly I was projecting my view of myself which they interpreted and had some fun and ran with it!

You can learn a lot about how you are being perceived by others.  Have a watchful eye, closed mouth and two ears that are truly listening.  You may be surprised at what you see and hear — especially if you don’t talk.

I will close with another powerful quote for this week.

“It is better to be hated for what you are, than loved for what you are not.”-André Gide

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