When I talk about ‘staying on your side of the street,’ I am not referring to social-distancing that we are seeing worldwide with the ‘coronavirus pandemic.’
I am referring to a ‘pandemic’ of my own making, where the actions and opinions of others sends me spiraling into anger, fear, confusion and doubt about my own abilities.
And, even as scientists are working on a vaccine for the present ‘coronavirus’ threat, I am very aware of my need to become immune to my personal pandemic, where I require validation from others to feel good about myself.
One of the symptoms of this disease is that I become negative or depressed when someone says something that offends or degrades me. If I allow their words to affect my life then I have the ‘validation virus.’
The ‘validation virus’ occurs when I lack confidence in my myself and find myself deeply affected by what others say. Because I have failed to validate myself as a person of worth created in the image and likeness of God, then others can easily scar my self identity with their words.
Therapist Terri Cole says that we need to get to a place where we are “immune to the actions and opinions of others.” She says taking everything to heart is a dysfunctional way of reacting to people in your life.’
But, if you are like me, I often make the symptoms worse. If someone says something offensive or critical, I over analyze the incident and make up stories to fill-in-the-blanks as to why they did it.
But, in reality, I don’t know why they did it and as I start presuming what there motivations may have been, I end up exaggerating the situation making it far worse than it actually was. There are three sides to every story, yours, mine, and the truth.
When we allow the words or actions of others to affect us, we are willingly giving away our confidence and self-worth. It is particularly bad when we give it away to those who have no real standing in our lives .
Staying on your side of the street means being aware of your value in God and as this grows, the less you are affected by what others say to you.
Gaining a fuller appreciation of who we are in Christ, builds up our immunity against attacks on our self-worth and value as a child of God.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”Romans 8: 17 NIV