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  • Anje Van Dalen

What defines you?

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

A few thoughts on what we should build our identity on and not letting other's opinions define your self worth

What defines you? You know, makes you the person that you are. Is it your career? Your family or perhaps even your status on Social Media? Now strip that title you (or others) have given you... Who are you now? When everything is stripped away and you are standing bare in front of the mirror...WHO ARE YOU?

This is a question I have confronted myself with the past month. Who am I? What defines me? Who or what do I want to be known for? What unfair labels have people put around my neck in the past? Do other’s opinions define my self worth?

You might read this now and think that I am a bit lost. But I respectfully disagree. See, it is important to reevaluate life at times. To see if you are still on the right track. And how utterly hypocritical would it be of me to tell you that I always have everything together. We all have doubts at times. It is how you address the seeds of doubt planted by other’s opinions.

I have very recently experienced the “wrath” of other’s opinions about me at a social gathering that one of my friends attended. When I heard what was said about me it took the wind out of my sails and I was dumbstruck. Is that what people actually think about me? And they verbalise those thoughts into harsh, thoughtless words, aloud, to actually cause damage to my identity.

They didn’t even know me...

I know it shouldn’t bother me but I was pondering over what I had heard for the rest of the night and it completely stole my joy...It is then that I realised how quickly we subject ourselves over other’s opinions about us. And it doesn’t matter how ridiculous the label is, it’s such a sticky one and it’s just so difficult to get the residue off ourselves. Just like a bottle where someone tries to pull the label off but it doesn’t matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to get the glue off the glass.

Was it fair? No. Was it necessary? No. Is it the end of the world? No.

We all know how much might words contain. With your words you can encourage or discourage, build or break, grow or take. It is our responsibility to choose our words carefully.

“Thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is a healing” Proverbs 12:18

I believe this goes for self reflection as well. When seeds of doubt are planted by other’s opinions we have the power to let it sprout or not. You see, you always have the power to decide. If you nurture these doubts they will surely start to grow, so kill the root.

Positive thoughts (I use the Bible for this) should be the replacement for negative opinions. I know my identity lies in my Maker and I am not ashamed of who I am for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have made peace with my flaws and although I work on them, I embrace my strong points and keep those as my main focus as these are talents that you have been gifted with. With that said, you should know yourself. I think if you know yourself, you will know your worth. Know who you are in Christ and what you stand for. Remember that saying: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” It is when we don’t fully know ourselves that other’s opinions about us cloud our judgement.

When we know who we are and what we stand for, we can have a strong opinion of wrongful labeling that can cause bondage over our lives. If there is no truth in what you have been labeled with then don’t take it and don’t let it throw you. And although it may hurt, shake it off and don’t let those seeds take root for it is false and you don't have to stand for it.

Don’t allow temporary things to define who you are for those things do not have eternal value. Your job, your kids, your material possessions. What happens if you lose it all tomorrow?

Rather focus and invest in your character, your beliefs, your gifts and ultimately what God wants for you. He is so excited for your future and you should be too.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

A little piece of advice I found on Pinterest says:

“Follow the 5 second rule:

If it’s not going to matter 5 years from now,

Don’t waste more than 5 seconds feeling upset about it”

In a world where people very cowardly voice their opinion on faceless platforms such as Social media, it is important to discern with what has value and what is valued as useless. We will always have the people who talk too much, voicing opinions about every single thing, and the people who eat those opinions like starved animals.

The question is who are you going to be?

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" James1:19

I am going to ask you the question again. What defines you?

May it be things of eternal value, and may you search yourself and in the midst of all the chaos of life find yourself and experience the true joy of being who you were designed to be.


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