“Other people’s opinion of you doesn’t have to become your reality.”—Les Brown

For a long time, I thought of myself as a bad person. When I was very young, I did something without realizing how other people might see it. As a result, I was labeled and judged harshly. I believed the things some people said about me, and I hated myself. Because I believed what some people told me, even when it wasn’t true, I misjudged myself.

In the process of realizing all of this, I recognize that I have done the same thing to others. I have listened to what other people have told me and have misjudged members of my own family even though I don’t know the true story. What a mess. My condemnation of others has made both our lives harder.

It can hurt to have people think wrongfully about me, but I don’t have to make what they say my reality. I don’t have to let what others think of me make it harder for me to see myself. In the same way I shouldn’t make it harder for others to see their true selves by feeding them what I think about them, true or false.

The point I’m trying to make is that what others think of you doesn’t define you. It might make it harder to find your true self, but it’s still there. I am who I choose to be, and nobody else can make me anything. I won’t let others define me, and I will no longer make it harder for others by trying to tell them who they are.

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