Don’t let Other People Define Who We Are

Carola Finch
3 min readNov 2, 2021
Photo Credit: Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

Why we should not allow other people to determine who we are and what we can accomplish.

“You are stupid.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
“You’re ugly.”
“You have cooties (whatever that means).”
“You smell.”

These are the messages I heard when I was growing up from my parents and from bullies in Grade 5 to 10. I came to believe that I was an inferior being that deserved to be punished.

My parents’ physical abuse reinforced the idea that I was a basket case. When I looked at other people, they seemed to have a secret knowledge about how to live life that I lacked.

The fallout of being mistreated was dramatic. I had low-self esteem and suffered from anxiety and depression. The words above became recordings in my brain that sabotaged my life. When I would try to do a job, build a relationship, or use my talents the false messages would play.

How to Get Rid of False Ideas About Ourselves

Question the way we view ourselves

I started questioning negative beliefs about myself when I was around twelve years old. I saw that my classmates, at least on the surface, were not enduring the physical and emotional abuse I was experiencing. Once I identified my recordings, I could start working on erasing them.

Some adult abuse survivors do not recognize the havoc that their recordings were causing in their lives. It can keep them stuck in their pain and prevent their healing. Changing the mindset they had from childhood can be very challenging.

Set boundaries and avoid toxic people

We need to limit or avoid contact with people who reinforce our false beliefs about ourselves. With some, we may need to put our foot down and demand that they stop abusing us and treat us with dignity and respect instead. A network of supportive friends and, in some cases, therapy can help us on our journey to redefine ourselves.

Forgive the people who hurt us

Carola Finch

Writer & author. Posts about Christian living, mental health, and social issues. Website: