Do you have what it takes?

I read something on social media a while back where a young person was asking for someone to please be proud of him.  It got me thinking – a lot.  It saddened me that he felt that way, but the truth is, it is completely in his control.  

First, let’s look at the difference between I love you, and I’m proud of you.  

My love for you does not depend on how you act because it isn’t based on who you are, it’s based on who I am.  Love also can’t be taken, it can only be received. If it’s taken, it’s not real love, but something devious that we call manipulation.  Manipulation is the place where the selfish people play.  These will try to make you perform in order to be loved, but that’s not real. Real love must be given, not paid for.  It comes from the heart of love, and is demonstrated by giving.  This can be clearly seen in the famous Bible verse John 3:16.  

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

There’s a huge difference between I love you, and I’m proud of you.  I love you can exist on it’s own because it’s not really dependent on you.  It’s a decision made by someone else, and it’s based on what’s in their heart, not on you, or what you have done.

That being said, when someone says I’m proud of you, that is a way of saying that they are pleased with you.  Being pleased or displeased with someone doesn’t mean that you don’t love them.  It just means that they have done something you think is awesome or they’re doing things you don’t like.  Maybe they’re doing something that you are uncomfortable with. This is where some might get confused.  People can love others, but not want to be around them because of the way they act.

When someone tells you they are proud of you, or are pleased with you, they are telling you that YOU have done well.  Pride in yourself, or other people being pleased with you is based on YOU.  It comes from what you do or have done.  How you act is what matters here.  

Here’s a hard truth, and the faster you learn it, the better off you’ll be.  People don’t really care how you feel.  Seriously.  They don’t.  What they do care about is what you do.  

You have an unspoken agreement with everyone you interact with.  They may care how you feel, but they care far more what you do.  So much of what happens to you, or for you, is based on how you act.  

Does it seem like nothing goes your way?  Is it hard to get ahead?  Does it seem like you just can’t get a break?  When I hear people say stuff like this, the first thing I start looking at is how well do they take instruction and criticism.  What I usually find is that when people think they are struggling and can’t seem to get ahead, it’s usually true.  The reason it’s true though is because they won’t listen.  They can’t take criticism without getting their feelings hurt or getting angry, and they can’t take instruction because they act like they already know it all.  

When you’re arrogant, people don’t like dealing with you.  They will push you to the sidelines of their life and only deal with you when they have to.  

I know this from experience.  When I was 19, I was hard to get along with.  I had a very bad attitude.  I was arrogant, smart mouthed, and easily offended.  I was a real pill.  I had a friend that I worked with named Tim. Tim cared enough for me to pull me aside one day and tell me the truth. He said “People don’t like working with you.  If you don’t change your attitude, you’re going to get fired.”  The fact that he was there talking to me about this meant that it was the topic of conversation among my coworkers and my supervisor.  He was warning me.  

While it was extremely hard to hear, it cut straight through my bad attitude and hit me right in my heart.  It was apparent to me that my friend didn’t want me to get fired.  He wanted me to change, to do better, and he knew that I was burning my own bridge and my time was running out.  

Let me stop here and ask you a question.  What would you do if you were me?  Would you spout off something like “I don’t need this  #@!* job anyway!” and storm out?  I didn’t.  I wanted that job.  I immediately humbled myself and asked him to help me.  I submitted myself to his oversight and invited his criticism; both of which he faithfully gave.  It was hard, it was SO hard.  I don’t know about you but I don’t like hearing bad stuff about myself.  I want everyone to like me all the way, all the time.  

I began to realize something in that time that has helped me stay steady ever since.  We all would agree that none of us are perfect. Criticism is one of the most effective ways to identify areas where growth is needed, but we all resist criticism all the time.  Part of the reason is because when someone points out one of your faults, it may not be your fault that’s the issue.  Maybe they are the one who’s actually more wrong that you.  Another reason is that, even when someone is right about us and our faults, we think they are just judging, and we don’t consider them qualified to judge us.

If you can get over that, if you can learn to see correction and criticism for what it really is, you will grow & mature faster than you can imagine.  What correction really is, is someone taking the time to point out that you could be doing a little better.  To really grow, you will have to want it enough to endure the discomfort of being corrected.  You will need to humble yourself.

The bottom line is that, if you want people to be pleased with you (proud of you), you have to do things that earn it.  It’s not too late to start down this road.  You can begin today and build the man you want to be.  It starts with humility, and being able to be corrected.

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