“I’m learning to care less about what people think and more about people, period.” Emily P. Freeman
My man is technically an engineer in the United States Air Force, although for this assignment he teaches at the United States Air Force Academy. He also has a PhD in something I can’t really pronounce. And just like that, y’all probably make assumptions about him. Because that’s just our nature. When you mix our nature with stereotypes about different occupations and the personalities of those doing them, you make assumptions. While you might guess he is a tech wizard, you might be surprised he likes tinkering on old cars and has a “mad scientist” homebrew station in our basement. He’s just as comfortable wearing a cowboy hat as a military uniform, although not at the same time. Obviously.
Just like the rest of us, he has layers people see and don’t see, some they expect and some they don’t. But without fail, he lives the mantra, “What you see is what you get.” He is the real deal in every sense. For me, it sometimes feels appealing to keep a few of my own layers hidden or invent new ones that aren’t really me if I think they will make you like me more. Emily refers to it as being an opinion manager, and yes, I dearly love the idea of bossin’ your opinion of me. I’d love to say I’ve licked this thing, that I’m mature and secure enough not to care if you don’t care for me. But sometimes I care very much. I want you to like me, and heaven forbid you turn out to be someone like Mr. Darcy who stated, “My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.” Oh the effort I could expend on you!
So while I own this, I also know I don’t have the energy to bend over backwards for people’s opinions. It’s exhausting, and frankly it doesn’t work anyway. Opinions are like shadows, always changing depending on the angle of the sun and where the person stands. So while I haven’t licked this people pleasing thing, I am learning to turn my face from those hopscotching shadows and towards the constant Son. When I do this, I find His light reflects from me to others, and I love better.
I’m called to love people whether or not they are all that lovely to me. Really, I’m called to especially love those who aren’t so loving in return. Remembering this helps me focus on what I’m created to do: Focus on people’s hearts, not their opinions. My faith can then rest in the good opinion of my Father, the One who has my heart. Besides, He’s much easier to please anyway.