Why does it matter so much to us what other people think of us?
I was pondering this question today. Here's the answer that came to my mind.
God created us with a desire for love and affirmation. This is not bad, in and of itself. First and foremost, He created us with this desire so that He could fill it with His love for us. However, He also gave us that desire for human love and affirmation. He made us as relational beings, to have relationships with one another that reflect His relationship with us. But problems arise when we go about seeking love and affirmation for ourselves. This is the wrong way; it's not how God designed our "love tanks" to be filled.
I am reminded of a parable which depicts Heaven like this:
In Heaven, everyone has only long-handled spoons with which to eat. The length of the handle makes it impossible to feed oneself. The only way to eat is to use your spoon to feed somebody else.
Love and affirmation is like that. If we try to seek it from others, doing things to "impress" people, etc, it's like trying to feed ourselves with a long-handled spoon. It always leaves us unsatisfied, wishing for more. But when we use our "spoon" to feed others—when we look for ways to love and affirm those around us—the blessing comes back to us tenfold, and our "love tank" is filled to overflowing. This is God's plan.
May God help us to change our selfish mindset, for "it is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35.