Do you care what people think? Here’s why you should.

tape-over-mouth1Hurray for Social Media!  Because of Social Media I have been able to connect with people from my past that I have truly missed.  I am now connected again with my best friend from high school.  I’m able to stay current on family and friends even though we are spread across so many different states.  Social media has given me somewhat direct access to people I respect and admire and I now get to keep up better with their lives, work and ministries.  Social media gives me unique perspective that I didn’t have without it.  For example, before social media I would never be able to see or know what you’re having for lunch, even while you’re in a different time zone. Awesome!  I’ll try that restaurant when I’m there.  Without social media, I wouldn’t know how many people I know who used to secretly smoke pot in Colorado but are now posting pictures of it on Facebook.  What I have also learned is how many young people “don’t give a (cuss)” what people think of them, or at least that’s what they say…over and over again.

Let us ask ourselves; What kind of people do we think we are?   -Ronald Reagan

I am under no illusion that when it comes to my social media activity, people are forming opinions or having opinions reinforced about me.  Social media aside, people are doing that to all of us everyday.  You are doing that to others also.  Here’s the question; should you care what other people think of you?  Does it matter?  The profound answer to that question is “Yes” and “No”.  Now that we’ve muddied the waters allow me to explain.

Core values & social filters.  I break it down into three categories:

  1. Unchanging values.  Personally speaking, I have core values that are formed by the Bible.  I made a decision back in 1985 that the Bible was going to be the final authority in my life.  My understanding of the scripture has become the primary filter that I use to interpret my life and circumstances.  I am unwilling to compromise in this area.  This has become an area in my life that even when I have been made fun of, pressured or persecuted because of it, I will not change.  I have decided long ago that the negative opinions of others will not change my thinking where this is concerned.
  2. Flexible values. Socially things are a little different.  I have had a Facebook account since 2008 and in that time I have only unfriended two people, both were for very poor behavior.  My thoughts are that I don’t want to burn a bridge or remove an avenue where I might at some point have a positive influence on someone.  I am cautious as to what I will speak up about.  I am not interested in alienating people.  I do have very specific opinions on many areas of our culture but I am very reserved when it comes to engaging in debate about them.  Convictions on the other hand, I will not back down on.  The truth is that in many areas I do care what people think.  I don’t want my language, my attitude or my appearance to ever shut me out of an excellent opportunity.  Unfortunately this is happening to people all of the time.  They are being ignored for some great opportunities because of their language, attitude or appearance.
  3. Your way.  In some situations the most important thing to me is the happiness of others.  In these situations I will be watching for opportunities to adapt & change in order to make the situation run smoother and that everyone is happy.

I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!  –Theodore Roosevelt

Social media is a little deceptive though, don’t you think?  Looking at someone’s Facebook profile is really looking at a highlight reel.  Social media makes other people’s lives seem so much more exciting than yours.  In reality though, while people are posting cool pictures of them doing fun and interesting things, they are posting those pictures in between loads of laundry. Party over there!

Tell me an area where you care what people think?  What area are you uncompromising in?  I would love to hear your comments.  Join the conversation.

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