It is interesting the scales by which we measure ourselves.
When we are in a relationship with someone we inevitably see ourselves through our partners eyes some of the time.
When we go to work what your boss thinks of you defines your salary and your quality of life, by extension.
In every interaction we have with other people from the deepest relationships to the way we interact with the lady at the checkout at the supermarket we are constantly acting and reacting with each other.
And we are reading the reactions people have to us. If you wear a pair of shoes and receive a compliment you are likely to wear them again. You think to yourself, people be loving my shoes! These are great shoes, I love these shoes. And so the shoes become valuable to you.
What I think we so often don’t realize is that we build up an idea of ourselves in exactly the same way. What we think of ourselves by ourselves is only a small part what we actually think about ourselves. On a subconscious level we are continuously valuing ourselves by the reactions others have to us. And we give ourselves value accordingly.
Weather it is a good thing or a bad thing I am not sure, but I do know this: it is a true thing.
Bearing that in mind there are a number of small, simple things that we should always remember, but I will some back to those as soon as I return from my tangent…
I am nothing if not experimental and at the beginning of this year I decided I would like to find out what I think of myself without using other people as a meter. A fairly pointless and impossible task as I am always around people, but there had to be some way of trying it out, to some degree.
I looked at the most obvious places that these outside opinions come from and I realized that one way to test my theory would be through a year of complete celibacy. Not so much as a flirtation or a battered eyelash. It was a spur of the moment decision and I am now just a few short weeks from seeing that year through!
I wanted to find out how I react to myself without the back up of knowing whether anyone else does or does not find me attractive. It’s just too easy to use as a mental crutch, either way.
Though it had its interesting moments it has been a truly great year for figuring out what I think about life, the universe and me. Selfish? Maybe.
I also found that it had a purging and cleansing effect on my headspace. I finally gave myself the time to get to know myself, by myself. I found, to my surprise, that although I will never really understand myself, at least I can like myself.
The two truths I have learned are really simple:
Be mindful of the effect your words and reactions have on those around you.
And, No one else’s view of you should affect your view of yourself. Good or bad.
Know who you are and who you want to be and stick to it.
The measures that you should live by are am I being kind? Am I being honest? Would I want to sit next to myself on a bus?
These rules apply to how you treat others as well as yourself.
The rest is surplus. That said, not all people are brought up the same way and we don’t all share the same values, so if ever you get confused or lost along the way remember the golden rule: Don’t be an ass hole.