Our culture may define our status in it, but it doesn’t have to define you. Keeping up with the Jones’ isn’t really that hard to do (just look at my family). You and I know plenty of people working hard to impress their friends, family, and neighbors. I have found that these same people care more about their status than they do your status.
Middle School is some of the most difficult years in a kid’s life. I remember the transition being significant for me. For the most part no one cared about impressing each other in elementary school. You could just be yourself. From the first day in Middle School, forming clicks and labeling people was the common sport.
A pivotal event happened to me in the first few weeks of my 6th grade year. With a group of guys I said something that left me wide open to be made fun of. They verbally attacked me with a vengeance. They not only saw the opportunity to knock me down in the pecking order but also raise their “status” with their peers. From that day forward, I was labeled with a “nickname” I didn’t shed until after high school. My confidence was knocked down.
It took me years to find a way to persevere. I came to realize that I need to be comfortable in my own skin. I had to overcome my need to be accepted by other people and chart my own course. There are times when I still find myself worrying what other people think of me. When I worry about what other people think, is when I make bad decisions. I catch myself trying to meet their expectations and not mine.
Meeting someone else’s’ expectations will rarely make you happy and not help you achieve what you were meant to do.
The most superb quote about this is from Eleanor Roosevelt when she said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Do you worry about what other people think of you? How do you or have you overcome meeting someone else’s expectations of you?