We never really outgrow the desire to be liked by others. We can be a grown adult with children and grandchildren, and still be concerned about whether people like us.
We don’t approach people and ask, “Do you like me?” That’s way too elementary school. Instead, we look for affirmation in other ways…
- “Did the boss compliment my work?”
- “How many likes did my last post get?”
- “Are people coming to me for advice?”
- “Did anyone retweet my last tweet?”
- “They didn’t say whether they liked it or not. What did I do wrong?”
- “How many comments did I get on that last post?”
- “Why didn’t they ask me to handle that job?”
- “No one’s commented on my profile picture. Should I change it?”
These are all ways of asking the question, “Do people like me?”
There’s nothing wrong with wanting affirmation. We all need to be affirmed at times. The problem is turning to public opinion for our affirmation. When you seek affirmation from public opinion…
- You will always be on an emotional roller coaster. It’s no news flash that public opinion changes…frequently. The thing that’s hot today is abandoned tomorrow. Today’s game-changer is tomorrow’s disappointment. What’s trending well now is not even a trend tomorrow. Affirmation based on public opinion will never be stable and secure.
- You will be tempted to become what others want you to be, rather than who you need to be. Everyone has an opinion about how you should look, sound, act, think, work, etc. But you were created as a unique, one-of-a-kind individual. You have a unique mixture of gifts, talents, and personality traits that set you apart from others. To deny who your are just to be who others want you to be is like painting over the Mona Lisa because someone thinks you should see her teeth when she smiles.
- You will never feel like you measure up. If public opinion is your source of affirmation, you’ll always feel like you’re letting someone down, because you can’t please everyone. No matter hard you try, there will be someone who disagrees with you and cause your affirmation to take a hit.
Let me say it again. There’s nothing wrong with wanting affirmation. The problem is looking for that affirmation in public opinion.
So where should we find our affirmation?
That’s where we need to take this to another level…
We need to find our affirmation, not in the changing winds of public opinion but in the bed rock of personal conviction.
In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul wrote to a young pastor (Timothy) who was having to battle a lot of public opinion. Many people were saying that Timothy was too young to be credible. Paul told Timothy not to worry about the public opinion, but instead to live out his personal convictions in his speech, his conduct, his love, his faith, and his purity. (1 Tim. 4:12) This is the kind of life will not be shaken by changing public opinion. This is the kind of life that stands strong and steady in the face vacillating public opinion. This is the kind of life that others will notice.
Do you look for affirmation in public opinion or personal conviction? Leave a comment and let us know both your victories and your struggles with this.
Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg