As authors and writers, we tend to be sensitive to public opinion about us.  This guest post by Dr. Calvin Metcalf explores the power other people have over us.

AP-CalvinThe power of people to affect us is an interesting phenomenon. We are influenced daily by what people say or do to us. Sometimes it is what they do not say or do not do to us that makes a big difference in our lives. We give other folk a big amount of control over the way we think and act. Our dispositions are often the result of our reactions to the way people have treated us. Our moods are made either better or worse depending on who has been messing with our minds. For some reason we seem to be programmed to let others determine if we are to be happy or sad.

We are incurably addicted to what others think about us. We give away our freedom to be our own person in hopes that we can be liked by other persons. It can be an awkward way to live if we are intimidated continually by the power of people and never find our real identity. The strong influence of other people, however does not need to be a negative factor in our lives. We can be motivated and challenged to do our best because they expect it of us. We can get a better picture of who we are from those who love us enough to share their honest opinions.

A certain amount of praise and congratulations are essential to our good self-image. We need others to encourage us on the journey of life. We must have the reinforcements of people lest we lose ourselves in a pool of self-pity. We need teachers, mentors, critics, spouses, family, and a supporting cast of folk to keep us on course.

We do not have to give away our identity, but we can give away our pride. Before significant others we can be humble without being humiliated. We can lean on others without losing our self-respect. The laughter of others can lift our spirits. Even the scorn of others can challenge our stamina. We can indeed be indebted to others without losing our will to win.

Since we are surrounded by a multiplicity of people, the Lord God of everyone wants us to find our place. We are not lost in the crowd. We are energized by His grace and inspired by His people. We look down on no one and no one looks down on us because we are called to be sons and daughters of the living God. In the spirit of true servanthood we find all the reasons we need to love ourselves and to be loved by others, even as God loves us all.

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