Recently many students received their exam results, and it can be a difficult time for many students as they feel that the grades on those pieces of paper are defining their lives and telling them what they will and won’t be able to achieve in their futures.
But it isn’t just exam results that put those tags and labels over our heads. It happens more than we’d probably like to think, in our jobs, in clothing choices, in the world’s beauty standards or even in our relationships. All of these things allow others to put labels on our heads and cause our lives to become defined by others. We’re constantly being compared to each other and even the unattainable. Just take a look at the beauty industry or social media to see. It is all too believe that in the eyes of those around us and often in ourselves we feel we are always failing. We start to believe these words spoken over us and the comparisons that are made are a true representation of us, are forever and can’t be changed.
Despite the fact that it is normal to be judged every second of our lives whether that be in a professional setting, examinations or through the critical eye of those who watch us on Social Media or in life. I do not believe that we should let the words, the comparisons and the value that others place on our lives, define us today.
Jesus was once confronted with a woman the community wanted to stone. The labels on her were not great, whether or not they were true was immaterial. Jesus saw that the labels did not reflect the nature of the woman and treated her with dignity and compassion. Challenging the faultless amongst the community to throw the first stone, He reset the community’s critical comparison of the woman.
This week I read a modern parable that goes like this:
A young couple moved into a new house.
The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbour hanging the washing outside.
"That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better soap powder.
Her husband looked on, remaining silent.
Every time her neighbour hung her washing out to dry, the young woman made the same comments.
A month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, "Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?"
The husband replied, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows."
And so it is with life… What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.
So don’t be too quick to judge others, especially if your perspective of life is clouded by anger, jealousy, negativity or unfulfilled desires.
"Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are."
— Jonathan Kestenbaum
Each of us is capable of change:
- You can always change your story and disprove the words people say over You.
- You can also positively affect others through kindly applying new labels to them that reflects their true worth.
- You can recognise that others view you through the lens of their experience and that can give a false view of you.
I believe that we should only let the words that are actually true determine how we view ourselves and what decisions we make in life. Not the ‘tinted’ opinions of others.
I believe that God has so many true and positive words to say over us, I believe that he loves us, cherishes us, and believes that we are a work of art and worthy of good things.
So instead of believing that we aren’t enough, I think we need to start trying to believe the words that God says over our lives and let them define us and our lives so that we allow ourselves to love ourselves for who God says we are. We can then start to accept ourselves just as God already accepts us.
If you need something to balance out the critical views of others and see your true worth. Ask God what he thinks about you.