Boost Your Self-Esteem Day 9: Don't Worry About Other People
Easier said than done, we know, but worrying about the behavior of others certainly doesn't improve our self-esteem. Ellen Langer explains it like this:
You may see me as impulsive, while I was being spontaneous; I may see you as rigid, while you were just being dependable; I may see you as grim but you were being serious, and so on. Actions can have many meanings, and there is always a perspective from which a negative behavior makes sense and is not negative at all.
Recognizing this should make us less evaluative of others. The hidden benefit of being less evaluative of others is that we become less judgmental of ourselves when we look back at our own past behaviors. If we become more mindful in this way, eventually we will not be searching for self esteem, we will learn how to just be ourselves.
Ellen Langer, Yale PhD, Harvard Professor of Psychology, is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Distinguished Scientist Awards, the World Congress Award, the NYU Alumni Achievement Award, and the Staats award for Unifying Psychology, and has authored eleven books and over 200 research articles on the illusion of control, perceived control, successful aging, decision-making, to name a few of the topics. Each of these is examined through the lens of her theory of mindfulness. Her research has demonstrated that by actively noticing new things-the essence of mindfulness-health, well being, and competence follow. Her best selling books includeMindfulness; The Power of Mindful Learning; On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity; and her most recent book, Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility.
Do you sometimes judge others too easily? Next time you find yourself being judgmental, try to be mindful of the other person's perspective and see if that has a more positive impact on the way you view yourself.