A while ago I wrote a blog about becoming the best version of yourself,  that means realizing that we are not perfect and that there are things we all can work on to become better people.  The key to do doing so is humbling yourself and being honest with yourself about the “flaws” that you have. For example maybe you could be more patient, do you speak rudely to others, can you be a better listener, etc. The issue with putting the responsibility of assessing yourself in your own hands is that we have been ourselves for so long that it can be hard to notice the areas that may need a little work.  It may be hard and even awkward at times but sometimes what other people think about you, negative or positive, can be an important factor to becoming the best version of yourself possible. 

When I started out doing spoken word and music a lot of people would always give me compliments on my performance. It felt really good to hear all the praises from others. Well one day some random person pretty much told me that I was just “ok”. My initial reaction was to ignore him and brush him off as a hater but then I decided to ask him “Well what do you think I could better?” To sum things up he told me that I lacked confidence. Now at that point I could have disregarded his opinion and focused on all the positive feedback that I was getting from others, but I didn’t. Even though it didn’t feel as good as the positive approvals I’d received, I realized that he was right and this ultimately led to me being a better performer. The guy in my story was unbiased to the opinion that I had of myself, and even though other people fed me good comments those words did nothing to elevate my performance and art. He was an outsider with an objective perspective on who I was as an artist and I choose to hear him out and make changes. I’ve applied this same attitude to how I receive constructive criticism from others when it comes to my personality. 

For most of us when someone has an opinion about our character that we don’t like we tend to label them as haters.  I see memes all the time telling people to be themselves no matter what anyone else says or thinks but truthfully, that’s unwise.  Now there are some people’s opinion that are just meant to be hateful and crude, you know the actual “haters” that are out there! These people are usually pretty easy to spot because they’ll give you criticism without having anything constructive to say.  Those are the opinions that don’t matter! However when someone tells you that you could be a little more polite, that you could stop and put others first sometimes, or that you could be a little less dismissive of someone else’s opinions, instead of getting mad or defensive you might want to hear them out. It’s definitely a humbling experience but it’s also a rewarding one. 

A good way to ensure that you receive honest opinions on what kind of person you are is to keep honest people around you who aren’t “yes “ men and woman. It’s important to keep people around you who are willing to be honest about when you are wrong. I’ve been in heated arguments with people and then had friends tell me that maybe I went overboard or that I could have handled things in a more civil manner.  Those opinions from honest friends have stuck with me for so long that even now when I’m in an argument or a debate I’m constantly telling myself to stay cool no matter how passionate or angry I might be on the inside.

If becoming the best version of you is something you want to do then you have to allow others to be honest with you in a respectable manner. You have to recognize that your opinion of yourself may be biased and therefore a little too generous. It’s great to be confident but it’s just as important to remain humble so that you can be willing to change those things you may not notice about yourself that others do. This is why what others think about you matters….sometimes!

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