DEFINITION OF REPUTATION
Reputation is an opinion about someone or something based on their actions or how they conduct or present themselves in public. It can be good or bad, depending on public perceptions. It is a status assigned to you by people, and not who you are.
DOES IT MATTER WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT YOU?
Does it matter to you what people think about you? Would you rather do the right thing and considered stupid, or do something stupid and considered intelligent? Would you’ let a person suffer when you can help just to avoid being associated with him/her and considered stupid. Do you always think about people’s opinion before acting, or do what ought to be done?
Many people are caught up in the prison of a good reputation, making them vulnerable. They allow themselves to be blackmailed or manipulated, and end up doing the worst things that are against their moral and ethical values.
STIGMAS AND REPUTATION
Stigmas are assigned to people, like mental health stigma, single status, widow, having been in prison, poverty, cultural or religion stigma, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Would you rather be a best friend, mother, sister, brother, and have everyone think you’re the worst friend, mother, sister or brother? Or would you rather be the world’s worst friend, mother, sister or brother but have everyone think you’re the world’s greatest friend, mother, sister or brother?
I have witnessed churches banning good Ministers because of their status or beliefs, parents disowning their children, especially those with mental disorders, disabilities, lesbians, gay, bisexuals, or transgender. All in the name of a good reputation. These are people who need our love and support, but they are often rejected. Most of them are kind and intelligent. Would you rather miss having a good friend, brother, son or daughter and applauded for promoting a stigma attached to anyone of these people, or be in their network, know them better and indulge in their wisdom, and be labelled with the same stigma?
Good reputation has a lot to do with attachment, the desire to belong to a particular structure. Then do things as expected by members of that structure without questions, Some people’s lives depend absolutely on what people think of them, on whether they would cooperate with them or banish them from the group or structure.
Countries sign agreements to impose sanctions to other countries deemed to have poor governance, turning a blind eye on citizens who might suffer, in order to maintain their status within their unions. They refrain from supporting countries which needs International Aid, isolate them, instead of extending a hand on humanitarian grounds, and help those countries turnaround their situation. They do this because they don’t want to disturb the order and considered noncooperative. They may be considered powerful, but their acts are hostile.
APPLAUSE ARE NOT A MEASURE OF SUCCESS
Applause are not always a measure of success. Most of the time people criticize you, not because your performance is bad, or you doing something wrong. They may criticize you because of jealous. Public perception has little to do with the quality of your work, or who you are – they don’t make you better or worse.
What is important is how you see yourself, rather than how the world evaluates you. As a child you learn what your parents emphasis on, and I doubt any parent would emphasize on what the world is going to think about you.
OPINIONS ARE NOT FACTS
Sometimes opinions are based on gossip, and those gossips can be lies. Frequently people misrepresent themselves. It is therefore very wrong to make decisions based on public opinion, rather than facts.
The opinion of other people about you is far less significant than you can imagine. Whether they are praising you or dragging your name through the mud, the actual impact on your life is considerably smaller than your pride or sense of shame would have you believe. Avoid emotional blackmail. Reputation stresses you, and is detrimental to your wellbeing.
DESIRE TO BE RECOGNIZED
Social media is a powerful platform to network, and share information. But it is used a lot to promote gossip and lies. It is used to spread wrong rumors about people. Social media has actually created a culture where people turned into brand managers, and misrepresent themselves. People do as they like. They will write about you, they will tweet about you, they will post about you in whatever way pleases them.
People will gossip about you behind your back, and you can’t control that. You don’t have to worry yourself about things you can’t control. Don’t compete with them, trying to settle scores. You don’t need to clarify anything. Don’t crave recognition, you may pay a very high price for that.
Often teenagers fall into this trap. They succumb to peers pressure, and do things against their will, but they do these things so that they can be recognized, applauded for bravery or being cool. Some begin to do drugs, smoke, drink alcohol, have sex. They end up ruining their future. The price they pay include having babies before they are ready to do so, and live with this responsibility for the rest of their lives. Some find themselves on the wrong side of the law, and end in jail. They later feel sorry, live with regrets. They may even end up with cognitive symptoms.
Don’t do anything to please other people. It doesn’t matter what they say about you. Rather be considered stupid, coward, slow or boring. Some people will say you don’t have a life. That too is OK, than doing something that you going to regret later, and blame yourself for your entire life. Resist all sorts pressure, don’t allow yourself to be manipulated. It is ok to live alone, and be safe. What is really important is how you feel about yourself. So continue doing things that make you feel good. Liberate yourself out of the prison of a good reputation, and be stress free.