Earlier this week I received a request that, upon reflection, I decided would be unethical to agree to. Thus, I declined. I was sorry to disappoint, but in my opinion, I had no choice. However, in making my decision, I was also aware that it could make the person who made the request (neither a family member nor a close friend) unhappy with me, i.e. not like me. And while I knew I made the right decision, I didn’t care for the idea that I might be disliked.
It is such a human condition to want to be liked. Right?
But as “chance” would have it, I’m currently reading The Mental Game of Writing by James Scott Bell (excellent book, by the way) and this morning I read this:
Then one day I got a piece of advice from someone which has stayed with me ever since. This person told me: What other people think of you is none of your business.
It was one of the most important life lessons I ever learned. I have no control over what other people think of me. What I do have control over are my values, my goals, and my attempts to live up to them.
The only people whose opinions I care about are those who are close to me, who I love, who love me, and who I want to honor with my behavior.
Those words resonated within me when I read them. It wasn’t that I didn’t already know the truth therein (sounds a bit like living to please God and not men, doesn’t it?), but I needed the reminder. In the above mentioned situation, I did what I knew to be right. I stood upon my principals/values. I did my best to live up to them. I was kind and respectful in my response. Those were the things I had control over.
The reaction of others is not in my control.
And I really am okay with that.
Perhaps one of my readers needs that reminder too, which is why I wrote this post. If so, I hope it will encourage you to keep living up to your core values and to please God instead of men. It really is the best way to live.