My dad had a lot of practical wisdom for my early teen years. One of his tidbits was, “If you ever ask a girl out and she turns you down, remember it’s her loss, not yours.” I wasn’t very big on dating at the time, but I remembered his statement. It may sound arrogant, but dad was helping me avoid falling victim to other people’s opinions (including girls’). Too often we allow what others think about us, or what we think they think about us, to determine our opinion of ourselves. This creates unnecessary frustration, confusion, and anger. Unnecessary because others’ opinions have so little value in themselves. Those who are at vulnerable points in their lives where they are trying to better understand and define themselves can feel especially victimized.
Working in retail, I see many examples of how people treat each other. It is disturbing when an impatient parent publicly berates a teen son or daughter. Sometimes the hurt is visible in the young person’s face and manner. That parent is not helping their teen at all. Often the one needing recalibration is the parent, not the teen.
What determines our value as an individual person? It’s not others’ fickle acceptance or rejection. It’s because of our “intrinsic value”, value because of who we really are at the core, like how pure gold has intrinsic value. And it’s because of our “destiny value” or better, “destination value”, what we will still become. Discovering those two values trumps all other opinions about us. A proverb expresses it very well, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts the Lord will be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25) Find your value in what God has made you, not in what others think about you. Opinioned people come and go. God’s love and presence stay with you forever.