I used to consider other people’s opinions of me when considering my self worth. If the group liked me, then I liked me. If a group had a problem with me, then I needed to address that along with nine unrelated problems. On the surface, that should be easy to identify as false, yet we all do it. If there’s one thing I can stress in the realm of self-confidence, it’s this:
Trust in yourself!
Let’s say Dr. Mindbender, shown above, wants to go to the arcade downtown to play this Pac-Man arcade cabinet. The easiest way for him to get there is public transportation. Along the way, he’s bound to interact with others. Here are six potential scenarios:
- What if someone says hello?
- What if someone isn’t so polite?
- What if someone converses with him about in-depth strategies in Pac-Man?
- What if someone chats with him about something he doesn’t care about?
- What if someone compliments his vest-jacket?
- What if someone critiques his vest-jacket?
Dr. Mindbender should ideally leave all of these scenarios unscathed.
He should consider all of these scenarios, even the positive encounters, to be optional sidequests in his adventure to play Pac-Man. Now, he shouldn’t be rude or distant, and should feel free to fully engage in the positive scenarios. He should also comfortably shut down negative scenarios, if he chooses. He just shouldn’t let any of these scenarios seep into his self worth.
Let’s say that Dr. Mindbender is comfortable with the values he’s determined.
If someone gives him a compliment, like “hey, cool vest-jacket,” then he may be tempted to incorporate that into his self worth. What happens when winter rolls around? Will he continue wearing that vest-jacket in spite of adverse weather conditions because someone once gave him a casual compliment? Or will he adapt to his surroundings and wear a heavy parka of his liking?
Dr. Mindbender should trust his values before anyone else’s.
If someone gives him hassle, like “that vest-jacket looks weird,” then he might be tempted to consider their opinion if he didn’t trust himself. Is this hassler trustworthy? If they’re someone he’s never met, or doesn’t fully respect, then that statement shouldn’t even register on his radar of self-confidence. He should just ignore the hate by remembering why he wears the vest-jacket.
Besides, Dr. Mindbender is on a mission!
More important than anything that anyone can comment on should be his inner motivation to pursue his goal, no matter how trivial it may seem. Maybe playing Pac-Man is his way of rewarding himself for a job well done throughout the week? Maybe as a fictional villainous character he keeps himself in check, not overly harassing the G.I. Joes or hurting anyone, by playing Pac-Man?
What happens if Dr. Mindbender has a few bad games? What happens if someone beats his high score? Will his internal value be diminished until he can reclaim the top spot? He doesn’t care!
Dr. Mindbender doesn’t allow his self-confidence to be externally dependant!