Updated: Sep 3, 2020
When I got clean and sober over 11 years ago my life did not become perfect overnight. Stopping the drinking and drug using didn’t magically fix the unhealthy mindsets and habits that 13 years of active addiction instilled in me.
Some of the residue that lingered was surrounding my fear of how others viewed me, for years of my life I was shaped by the opinions of others. I was intensely insecure. I didn't know my identity. A deep desire for acceptance was often my motivation. Any original thought or expression of mine had to first to pass through my personal filter of, “what are people going to think?”
It took some work and time in recovery and relationship with God to even begin to identify this issue, and the work ensued once it was identified.
As I learned to stop caring about the opinions of others I realized that I didn't have to think I was better than anyone just because I was confident in who I was. It simply meant that knowing how God sees me and feels about me holds far more weight in my heart than what others are thinking and saying.
The wonderful thing about recovery and following Jesus is that the opinions of others don't have to ruin my day anymore. If someone else's opinion of me doesn't line up with God's definition of me, why would I dwell on it anyways?
Here are 4 simple tips to gain confidence in being you and letting your voice be heard. 1- “If you live off the praises of man, you’ll die from their criticisms.” -Bill Johnson In early recovery I had to learn that validation can feel good, but validation can not be the fuel to the engine that is my heart. Freedom flooded my life when I began living from a place of knowing that I’m loved and accepted by God, and God’s opinion of me ALWAYS trumps the opinions of others. 2- Define your morals and values, and live by them. A baseline for truth is needed. A moral compass. If there is no solidified definition of what’s right and wrong in your heart, any new idea can weaken the foundation and have you getting lost in plain sight with the masses. Doing the right thing always withstands the test of time, while doing the wrong thing usually just helps us fit into a crowd that is going the wrong way anyway.
3- More people are thinking the same thing.
Say what you're feeling and thinking, just learn to do in a respectful way. The more I spoke up, the more people would say, "I was thinking the same thing."
In early recovery, it didn’t take long for me to start noticing that some of the things commonly practiced and talked about in the world of recovery are not as effective as many people think. When I started being vocal about why we should change the way we talk about and look at some of the most widely accepted recovery practices I started attracting like-minded people. 4- Honor and Respect. “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone you must agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” ~Phil Robertson Just because I disagree with someone doesn’t mean I have to be disrespectful. In the midst of letting my voice be heard, I don’t have to bash others or attack them. Healthy relationships are a catalyst to real transformation, and just because I am honoring and loving to those around me (regardless of their beliefs) doesn’t mean I agree with everything they say and do.
Erik Frederickson is Life and Recovery Coach. He has clients all over the world and he is considered an expert at helping people transform their life in powerful ways.
Contact Erik HERE - firstname.lastname@example.org
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