Personal Growth & Your Reputation
Right now I am straying away from my soap box and doing something different. I can tell you how to get over some issues, but much of my advice comes from school training and research, and I have yet to find an article that focuses on re-building yourself. Therefore, I will begin by presenting to you this personal growth-focused series of articles. Here, we will focus on improving the inner you without suggesting yoga or some other new age exercise method. The intent for this series is to deal with general issues that affect everyone. More importantly, if you don’t change your out-look on life, you will not be stable enough to deal with serious issues, such as depression and anxiety.
What can you do to make yourself a better person? This is the question that you ask yourself when you start wanting to become a greater person. It’s called personal growth. Personal growth can include many things. Your list may include building better relationships, improving your credit score, or re-building your self-esteem.
The first topic in this series is dealing with your reputation. Do you understand the value of your reputation? Your reputation is more important than you think, because your reputation can determine your relationships with people in your personal and professional life. To start with, let's recognize that a person’s reputation is determined by his or her actions. Some writers tell you to get over your sense of importance in society, to talk to someone, or just don’t worry about your self-image, but a person’s reputation can hinder their ability to get promoted, blackballed from certain agencies, or unable to find the right person. For example, if a person drank a lot in college and posted your party pictures on Facebook, then other people may think you are an alcoholic, especially if that person went to college in a small town. Or, if you are woman with friends that always say that you only date rich older men, you may wonder why, after ten years, blue collar men will never dated you - All from a single mis-conception about who you are. You need to remember that information or "gossip" travels fast. You can’t avoid gossip or what people says about you, but you can overcome a bad reputation if one has developed already.
1. Re-evaluate your Image
Is the reason why people talk about you because they don’t like you? Or, is it how you portray yourself to other people? How you present yourself says a lot about you. Some people like to display an aggressive, prissy, mean, or angry exterior to strangers, and some people portray false images to protect their feelings or to hide their inadequacies. However, you have to trust somebody, and you have to be careful of how you present yourself to other people. Someone can misjudge you as a “slut” because you wear tight and revealing clothing. People may think that you can’t work well with other people because you are too abrasive. Either way people can misjudge you without getting to know you because of how they perceive you.
2. Learn from Your Mistakes.
Learning from your mistakes is part of "growing up" part of personal growth. However, some people don’t learn from their mistakes, but you have to accept what you did in your past and move on with your life. Yes, there are people who won’t forget what you used to do, and they will always think that you haven’t changed, but ignore them. More than likely they haven’t moved on with their life, or done something productive with their world. Another thing to expect is broken relationships. People that you knew in college or high school take different courses in life and grow apart. You may make amends with someone and find that your relationship is now different, so accept that your old relationship has changed, and don’t make the same mistake again.
3. Time will heal and people will forget.
Ever notice that what was popular in the news a year ago is no longer relevant? Think about it. How long did people talk about Michael Jackson’s death and Anna Nicole Smith’s death? Or, how long did it take for America to stop talking about the Amy Fischer incident? Do you even know what I am talking about? The toughest part of having a bad reputation is going through the shame and side looks from other people. When I started my professional career, I had a bad reputation of being aggressive toward other co-workers, mean, and hard to work with. Overtime, I changed my attitude and how people perceive me. Regardless of what you’ve done, time is the only remedy for a bad reputation. Don’t let your past dictate your future, but do let it help you improve your future.
- Heather Browning, MBA, BA
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