Throughout your life you’ve probably been told not to care what other people think. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is the mantra of every child who has been made fun of.
And while the voices of ridicule and unfair critique should not have any stake in your self-worth, there is something to be said about the value of your reputation.
Reclaiming the value of your reputation means finding a balance between presenting yourself as someone of good character and avoiding a performative lifestyle.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Value of Reputation
You may be wondering why reputation is important at all. In the age of social media, we are more aware than ever that we are constantly being evaluated by our peers. To place value in what others think of you may seem like one more vain pursuit.
Caring about your reputation doesn’t have to be shallow. When you take time to consider your reputation, it can offer a more objective insight to how others view you.
It’s impossible to have a truly objective view of yourself, so understanding how other people see you may enlighten you to character qualities you could improve.If everyone around you sees you as dishonest, it may be time to ask yourself why they perceive you this way.
Conversely, it may also remind you of the positive traits you forget about yourself. Sometimes others see the light in us when we’re blind to it.
Simply put, taking your reputation into consideration helps you determine whether or not the world sees you becoming the person you want to be.
Building Your Reputation
Building a positive reputation is fairly straightforward: behave honorably.
Follow through on your promises. Treat others with respect. Own up to your mistakes and apologize when necessary.
There is a fine line between keeping your reputation in the back of your mind and performative goodness. Don’t let others view of you drive your charitable behavior, but as
1 Peter 2:12 says, live a life so honorable that no one would believe a bad word spoken about you.
Repairing Your Reputation
Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, your reputation can be tarnished. Maybe it is because of a series of past mistakes, a misunderstanding, or another person’s concerted efforts to discredit your character.
Whatever the reason, when you feel as though your reputation has been damaged, it can be incredibly disheartening and lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and even depression.
A reputation can be a difficult thing to repair because it requires changing biases that have developed in every individual person. Sometimes, repairing your reputation may mean having some honest conversations, making difficult apologies, and demonstrating a clear commitment to change.
In circumstances like these, remember that you can only control yourself. Sometimes the hurt runs so deep that others will need more time to forgive.
You may also encounter those who have a difficult time forgiving at all. In those circumstances, the wisest course of action is to accept that you have what you can to repair that individual’s view of you. It may just take time doing the work of building a positive reputation and continuing to present yourself as a person of noble character.
When your reputation has been damaged without any fault of your own, it can be an incredibly painful experience. Being wrongly accused or outright lied about can have lasting effects on your reputation that are simply unfair.
In circumstances like these, confronting those who have damaged your reputation can be helpful because they may have some responsibility to repair your reputation. Even so, the best course of action is to prove them wrong and demonstrate your noble character through your maturity and integrity.
Understanding your reputation can be a helpful tool as you grow and develop into your identity. Recognizing how others view you can be a key resource for self-improvement to inform you on your journey to becoming who you were created to be.
For more information on this topic or individual advice, seek out one of our personal mentors to help meet you on your individual journey.