“We can’t control the filters that others choose when they look at us.” –Rachel Wolchin
In the teenage years we tend to put tremendous focus on what others think of us and we often allow our self-worth to become dictated by what others think of us. Whether it’s having the person you like like you back, or its having the popular kids accept you into their friend group, or its having your parents voice their approval – teens tend to look at themselves through the eyes of others, allowing that to become their own self-view. Unfortunately, that habit of basing our own self-worth on the opinions of others often follows us from those teenage years into adulthood, where we continue to base our self-worth on how our boss sees us, or how our spouse sees us, or how the neighbors see us…. The problem with that is that when we do this we end up allowing our self-worth to be dictated by people that we can’t control the filters they choose to look at us through. Meaning you could do everything right and others could still choose to see you through the filter of doing everything wrong. You could be absolutely beautiful and they could choose to look at you through a filter of ugly. You could be brilliant and someone could choose to look at you through a filter of stupid. And the sad part is that the filter someone chooses to see you through might not be at all a reflection of who you actually are, yet your allowing it to determine your self-worth.
During my teenage years and my early adult years I found myself falling into this trap of basing my self-worth on the filter others saw me through. As a result, I found that some days I felt great about myself and other days I felt horrible about myself, depending on who was around me at the time, and which filter that person was choosing to see me through. Rather than living by what I knew to be right, I found myself living to please others, which led to high highs and low lows depending on who I was around that day. Finally after several years of constantly trying to please a person I loved, only to be told over and over again that I was never going to be good enough and seeing myself through their filter, I came across a quote that read,
“How others see you isn’t important, how God sees you means everything.”
It was as if a light switch inside of me flipped on for the first time. I realized that I had allowed my view of how God saw me to take last place to how everyone else saw me. And try as I would, I was never, ever, going to be able to control what filter this other person saw me through. But what I did know how to control was the filter that God would see me through. I knew exactly what I needed to do each day to please God, and doing that was something I could completely control. And the best thing was that if I did those things it was guaranteed God would view me through a perfect filter, the one that would give an exact reflection of who I was – no other person was ever going to be able to do that, not a spouse, not a parent, not a friend, nor a boss…not anyone. From that moment on I knew exactly what I had to do to control my self-worth. In that moment everything in life changed for me…for the better.
I was able to accept the fact that some people were going to see me through a positive filter and some weren’t, some would judge me fairly and others wouldn’t, and some were going to love and admire me and others wouldn’t…and there was truly nothing I could do to control that. But what I could control was living my life every day in a way I knew would make God proud, and can I just say life becomes so much simpler when you only have to please one perfect God, who always loves you perfectly, who always sees the best in you, who always forgives you when you mess up and who will never judge you through an imperfect filter…
Have a beautiful start to your week!
~Amy Rees Anderson