When I was in kindergarten, there was a group of girls that were whispering in a circle, looking over at me and giggling. I was mortified. What was so funny about me? What were they saying about me? Tears stung my eyes. I wanted to crawl in a hole. I looked at my dress.  Was there something wrong with it? I wiped at my nose. Did I have something gross on my face?

After deciding to leave the room and go to the bathroom to see what was causing all of this fuss, I turned around and saw that they were looking at something behind me. It was the new classroom pet–a bird that was acting funny in a cage.  

Have you ever projected your insecurities onto someone else by assuming they were thinking poorly of you? There have been many times I have been convinced that someone was thinking about me a certain way, when it just was not the case. In fact, I quickly found out they were not thinking about me at all!

There are times as a leader when you feel marginalized or maligned. Perhaps you have made a tough decision or had to give correction to someone you supervise. At times like this, it is healthy to take a step back and consider if you are reading the situation correctly. What you think another person is thinking may not be an accurate read of their opinion of you.

Here are some guidelines that may help when you feel judged or disliked:

  1. It is difficult to know what someone is thinking and feeling about any subject, much less the subject of yourself. We are not objective observers. Simply clear the air and ask them for feedback.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:22-32

  1. When you truly love God and love people in word and deed, others’ opinions and judgments do not hold weight.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

  1. Sometimes God uses these moments to speak some truth to us about an area He wants to transform in our life. Be open to laying down attitudes and actions that are not honoring to Him.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:2-5

  1. Pray about what is making you feel insecure. God thinks you are wonderful and He sees it all.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8