I’m guessing you’ve heard at least one of these titles directed at you in your lifetime. If not, what planet do you live on and is it lonely? Rejection hurts and can often leave our self-worth in a panic, desperately searching for validation. Words can destroy, despite how we are taught to develop a “thick skin”. It’s incredible how easily these so-called “thick-skinned folks” get offended when they are insulted.
And yet, what are we to do when demeaning and cruel words are hurled at us? When we are cut down, how can we respond without losing sight of our value as creatures made in the image of God?
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Thank you Eleanor.
Whether you believe it to be true or not, the reality is that we, not the opinions of others, choose who we are and who we become. We’ve heard the true stories of Michael Jordan getting cut from his high school basketball team, U2 being rejected from a record deal, and Helen Keller (who was deaf and blind) overcoming incredible odds, despite how many people considered her a human being with very little to offer. However, they knew who they were and who they desired to become, despite the opinions of others.
I was recently talking with a high schooler who struggles with a disorder that has been misunderstood by her peers. She is bullied, rejected, and told that she’s worthless. Don’t be mistaken; these words will cut to the core of any human being, regardless of how tough that person may appear on the surface. But is she a loser? Is she really a misfit? Will she never amount to anything?
The opinions of her peers, no matter how harsh, do not have the power to determine her destiny. What I absolutely admire about her is her vulnerability and willingness to ask for help, when most people are too scared to talk about the real stuff of life. She’s incredibly valuable and we need more people like her.
The opinions of your peers, no matter how cruel, do not have power over your identity. You were created in God’s image, not humanity’s.
Recently, I talked to one of my best friends from college. He has been having troubles in his marriage the past few years, constantly struggling between their individual dreams and their relationship. His wife has become self-consumed, desiring fame and success in the world of film acting. This past week he was kicked out of his house, which included him being separated from his daughter…His wife recently told him, “You’ll never amount to anything.” Such a lie…I’ve known this guy for over a decade and I can tell you that he has made such a positive difference in my life and he has incredible potential! Unfortunately, not everyone will see it through their own self-centered opinions.
If you are bullied, I am incredibly sorry that you’re experiencing such a cruel side of humanity…Know that you’re stronger than those who are telling you that you’ll never amount to anything.
If you’re a bully, why??? You choose who you become, as well. Stop choosing to harm others in order to build yourself up. You’re invited into a story with incredible meaning and radical love, if you so choose.
If you feel too broken to be of use, remember that we are all broken. Most people are just better liars about their struggles; in my opinion, you’re in a better place for being vulnerable. You don’t need the approval of others to create a better future.
Do you feel inferior, and if so, why?
What harsh words spoken in the past still echo in your heart, telling you lies about your potential and worth?
Who do you long to become?
Your identity is based on what God says about you, not other human beings. Your future is your choice, not someone else’s. The only opinion that will create who you become is the one you hold for yourself. Start telling yourself the truth: you are loved by the God whose image you bear, you are incredibly valuable beyond our silly human standards, and your life means more than we’ll ever know from our limited vantage point.