Identity: Who Am I Really?
I am amazed how a word of admiration or expression of affirmation can create energy that lasts for days. I don’t know about you, but a compliment can change my entire day. Positive affirmation creates energy and confidence. Admit it, when a total stranger walks up to you and says, “Girl, I love your shoes. Where in the world did you find those?” you feel good. Inside, you’re thinking, Yes, they are adorable aren’t they? I made a good choice. I have great taste. In fact, I should be a professional stylist.
One compliment can empower you to take on the world.
Conversely, I have watched words of rejection destroy a person’s self-esteem, potential, or dream forever. Rejection is a serious issue, but with wise discernment, time, and effort, an optimistic heart can emerge.
Possessing a clear and definitive identity of who you are will leave little room for the envious, cynical, skeptical, or jealous opinions of others. Before you can conquer the negative words from others, you must first conquer your own negative thoughts….
I want you to develop a renewed identity of who God has created you to become.
House of Mirrors
Children have a way of bringing life into perspective. When our children were young, they insisted on going to the local fair. One of their favorite attractions was the house of mirrors. Fascinated by the warped images the mirrors provided, they would run from mirror to mirror as each showed a new distortion of their true reflections. While one mirror made them look exaggeratedly tall, the next gave the appearance of being extremely wide. The more bizarre the shape, the more they laughed. The fun lasted until they gazed into the final mirror. There they looked up and questioned, “Is that what I really look like?” They had looked at so many distorted views of themselves that by the end of the maze they had forgotten their true appearance.
What about you?
Have you looked into the mirror of others’ perceptions for so long you have forgotten your true image? A misconstrued image of one’s self is the cause of poor self-esteem, fear, self-doubt, and negative thinking.
Your self-esteem is a mirror image of self-perception. If distorted, that mirror can create an unhealthy self-portrait and sabotage any undeveloped potential for success. What is your self-portrait? Is it positive? Is it an accurate description? If I were to spend an hour interviewing your closest friends, how would they depict you? What words or stories would they use to illustrate your personality? Those who have successfully defeated rejection embrace a healthy self-image, while the unsuccessful remain trapped by the warped image of who others wish them to become. How you view yourself will ultimately decide how you live your life.
Years ago, a famous singer and songwriter made a powerful point about self-worth. When asked during an interview, “What keeps you from competing to be number one?” she confidently replied, “Because I know no one can be a better me, than me.” Sincerely humble, yet boldly confident, she understood that when you are simply yourself, the costly spirit of competition withers and self-confidence emerges.
A person who fears rejection often develops a people pleasing personality. Eager to gain or keep the approval of others, they fall into an approval-based performance trap. For some, the need for acceptance is so strong they adapt their personality to fit the role or image others find desirable. Becoming emotional actors or actresses, they take on roles of various personalities, professions, occupations, or even false identities, if it means gaining the approval of another. They willingly do whatever it takes to make others happy. This identity crisis often continues until they grow weary of playing the part and subsequently begin to blame others for forcing them to become something they are not.
Not long ago, I took a mini vacation to Branson, Missouri. Branson is known as a small town with big shows. The shopping is excellent, and overall the shows are superb. The twenty-mile stretch of road leading into Branson is saturated with posters, signs, and various forms of advertisement announcing showtimes and headliners.
On this particular trip, I noticed a large billboard displaying the faces of famous musicians and recording artists. The top of the billboard read, “Today you can see the legends all in one convenient location.” Upon arriving at the hotel, I was given complimentary tickets to the two o’clock show. The theater was small, the stage dimly lit, and the auditorium smelled musty. At ten minutes past two the drum roll began, the curtain went up, and out walked Elvis, or at least someone they wanted us to believe was Elvis. Like clockwork, every ten minutes, the audience was introduced to another impersonator of a true legend. This was perhaps the most unpleasant hour of entertainment I have ever experienced. Remember, no one appreciates a cheap copy of a great original.
At some point we all have been defined by the superficial labels others have ascribed to us. As a society, we encourage free speech and opinion. Opinions are powerful. They are key factors creating the framework of our identities. However, this freedom, if used in a negative way, encroaches on our personal development. Consider a time when others branded you as ordinary, unintelligent, old, poor, or perhaps void of potential. How impactful were their words? Words become the framework of our futures. There will be many voices seeking to judge and define your significance. Remember, who defines you is as important as how they define you. Opinions do matter. What others think and say about you will influence how you feel.
I want you to discover the real you. Not who others have said you are, but thereal you. Remove the mask for just a moment. Peel back the layers of expectation and the unending demand for approval. Who are you beneath the pressure and pain? Have you forgotten?
Let’s step back and rediscover the real you, the original you, without any heartache, before the negative opinion of others and minus the ill-effects of rejection. In my book I am going to share with you multiple ways you can reverse the negative effects of rejection, turning them into positive life principles. Get your pen and highlighter ready; these truths will reveal what the naysayers and killjoys do not want you to discover. If you are ready to climb out of the pit of rejection, then follow me to chapter 2 where we will uncover the truth about rejection.
Watch the Video for Downside Up
Excerpted with permission from Downside Up: Transform Rejection Into Your Golden Opportunity by Tracey Mitchell, copyright Thomas Nelson, 2013.
* * *
Discovering the real you can be a challenge, especially if the perspective isn’t founded in what God says about you in holy Scripture! We’ve all had seasons of viewing ourselves through others’ perceptions which can be distorted and warped — like a Hall of Mirrors, but much less fun, right? Has self-esteem (or lack thereof!) plagued you, too? Today, you can begin reframing your thoughts according to the Word of God! Verses to dwell on today:Psalm 139:13-14, Song of Solomon 4:7, Luke 12:7, 1 Peter 2:9, Zephaniah 3:17, 2Corinthians 5:17, Isaiah 62:3-5, Galatians 2:20. Join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, FaithGateway Women