Image and Reputation take on an inordinate level of importance in our world. If someone of influence sees you in a positive light, you could be given privileges that are not available to others who are either completely unknown, or who are seen in a negative light. In that sense, image and reputation have actual monetary value; there is a direct correlation between how people see you and the opportunities you are given.
Reputation is built largely on what we have done for (or to) others. Someone with a good reputation has treated people kindly or provided good service. He or she has conducted themselves in a way that implies good character. A person or organization with a bad reputation has had too many negative incidents, too many unsatisfying run-ins with people. In either case, there are monetary repercussions related to reputation.
Image is related to reputation, though it is built largely on how people see us – and only loosely, or indirectly, on what we have done for others. Dressing well, saying the right things, going to the right places, being seen with the right people, owning the right products – these are things that contribute to image. Con men know well that driving a fancy car and wearing an expensive outfit are sometimes enough to lure potential victims into a ponzi scheme. Money attracts money; and the ego-based evaluations of reputation and image do have monetary value, especially in the short run.
But there is a downside to paying undo attention to the inherently impermanent evaluations of other people. A well-timed rumor can ruin a reputation in an instant. A twist of fate can ruin someone’s image, fairly or unfairly. If the weight of one’s self-esteem rests solely on other people’s perceptions, you are necessarily at the mercy of everyone around you. You are easy to ruin because your foundation is shaky. It is not possible to please everyone all the time. You will get negative reviews in life. The basis for self-love has to come from a deeper and more reliable place.
Self-love and appreciation have to come from a place deep within the soul. It is a firm conviction that all living beings are created with value and worth. Because you are breathing, you have value and worth that is inherent. You are neither more nor less special than other people. You are an intricate part of this bizarre dance called life, and we all need you to be doing your part. If you do not, you leave a gaping hole where your contribution to life should have been. But, as you fulfill your purpose diligently, you will also probably have a good reputation and a positive image.
But you might not. And that’s the point. If a disgruntled customer, a scorned ex, a jealous coworker, or a troll on the internet sets out to ruin your image and your reputation, that is outside of your control. You can do your best to talk to them or mitigate the damage, but there is only so much one can do, or should do, to please others. Yes, you might be affected negatively in the short run. But your self-esteem need not waver. If your self-esteem is based upon your faithfulness to your own life’s purpose, then it will be rock solid.
Continue to live according to your life’s calling, whatever it is, and you will be happy and prosperous, with or without people’s approval.
Never base your opinion of yourself on other people’s opinions of you. Chasing image and reputation is a losing and exhausting game; it is unworthy of your time and attention. Do what’s right, try to make sure that what is said about you is accurate – to the best of your ability – then forget it and focus on being a Bright Spot on the planet.
These things are sometimes easier said than done. For health and wellness coaching or spiritual counseling, please contact me through this page or email.
Peace and love,