Many people whom I have met, some of which have evolved to become close friends over time and some comfortably remain as acquaintances would typically have such a hard time seeing their true qualities or potentials.
What I find interesting is that they are so occupied in being critical about themselves that they failed to realise that nobody says anything. Those critical voices are mostly just in their heads.
When I heard colleagues, friends or even students belittling their talents and potentials – it breaks my heart. It is one thing that you believe you are inadequate and lacking in hundreds of ways, but what you are not aware of is that these negative thoughts are slowly internalised in you.
You will become what you think of yourself – eventually. Therefore, you should not permit these negative thoughts to further in your life.
Be Content with Yourself
We are pressured to meet social expectations, and it is not excessive of me to say that they begin since we were at a young age.
We also learnt that it is hard when we thought we have failed to meet other’s expectations about us. This is totally understandable.
In 1943, Abraham Maslow produces a pyramidal hierarchy of needs that suggests, as social beings, we seek to feel accepted, appreciated and respected. Thus, it is only reasonable that we strive to meet the expectations of others in order to secure those feelings.
In actuality, you can be content by focusing on meeting your own expectations.
I know it sounds radical, but let me explain. This is because others do not know your true limits and potentials. Their assessments of you might have some truth, but not the whole truth because you are your own variable. You, yourself can trigger change and influence your own learning curves in future, and they have no prior information to determine that aspect of yours. You actually have more control of your life and future than you thought you were.
This might not be the best advice, but I always said to my friends, be comfortable with your own disadvantages and advantages. When you, yourself are at peace with your own weaknesses and strengths, perception of others cannot affect you easily.
Surround Yourself with Positive Thinkers
The ideal way to grow effectively as a person, or in a career is to surround yourself with positive thinkers. Some things are easier said than done – I know. Therefore, as a start, you can eliminate those factors that affect you negatively.
Again, this could be hard as the negativities may come from your own family members. How do you get rid of the negative family members? You can try to avoid them, but in the long run, it is simply impossible. You tend to cross path nonetheless. The classic example is during your cousin’s wedding.
I’d say, you need to toughen up. Growing up, I always been misunderstood by family members and sometimes, kids and teachers at school, and neighbours. They just couldn’t process this weird, complicated kid. I was way too different for their likings, but it’s okay. You cannot please everyone, and those specific people who you cannot please may not be in your social circle in the next 5 or 10 years.
Others may have opinions about you, but you should have more say about yourself, who you are and what you want to be. You hold the power to see the Giant in You.
Looking back, I think not only I have exceeded other’s expectations, but most importantly, I surpassed mine.
Sarini Azizan has a Ph.D. in Accounting from The Australian National University, Australia. Her research explores the theory of source credibility in corporate financial information communication.
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