TO FEEL IMPORTANT — to feel that one counts for something — to be somebody, is probably a person’s deepest and most driving desire. That desire is probably stronger than the desire to be loved or even the desire for self-preservation. To accomplish a feeling of self-importance, people use various methods.
1. The smoke-screen method. Feeling unimportant, some people become abnormally aggressive. They become boastful, or dictatorial, or they dress ostentatiously, or they develop hysterical spells, or the like. Study the dictators and you will find that nearly every one of them suffered from an inferiority complex.
2. The sour-grape method. In Aesop’s fable, after the fox tried and tried to reach the grapes and failed, he then depreciated them as not worth having, anyway. The frail youth is tempted to discount athletes; the dumb person to ridicule “egg-heads”; the morally degenerate to scoff at ideals; the “nobody” to belittle the “somebody.”
3. Daydreaming. Being unable to accomplish their desires in a real world, some retreat into an unreal world. Many learn to satisfy their ambitions through dreaming.
4. Using excuses. In explaining his business failure, a man said, “I was too hones to succeed.” It is easy to find excuses when no one has reasons.
5. Becoming extremely sensitive. It is in most cases the frustrated person who easily gets hurt feelings. It is “little” people who must be handled with gloves.
6. Becoming highly critical. Feeling unimportant themselves, some try to whittle everyone else down to their size. Not having a crown of their own, it is tempting to tarnish another’s. Some may minister to their own conceits by picking flaws in others.
Of course, the above are wrong methods of gaining importance and they really never succeed. On the other hand, there are some right ways to develop a wholesome sense of self-importance:
1. Know that you are needed in the world. Whoever you are, whatever your station in life, there is a worthwhile service to God and mankind that you can render. I strongly believe that God has a purpose for every life and, in fulfilling God’s purpose for me, I become as important as any person. One should train himself to watch for opportunities of service; in so giving himself, he becomes truly important.
2. Realize your possibilities. One must thin kg of himself not merely in terms of what he is, but also of what he may become. Look at a puppy and a new-born baby. The puppy may seem to be the superior creature at the moment, but when you consider the possibilities of each, then you see their great difference. Jesus saw a man and said, “Thou art Simon…thou shalt be called Cephas.” That is, you are one man now; you have the possibilities of becoming a much greater man. It lifts a person to consider how own possibilities.
3. Stand for something g greater than yourself. No person ever becomes great until he gives himself to something g greater than himself. Jesus spoke of the principle of losing your life to find it. As long as a person thinks only in terms of his own life and his own interest, he remains a mighty small person.
4. Know that you belong to God. I know a girl who all her life had thought she was an orphan. When she was about eighteen years of age she discovered she had a father. For years that father had been trying to find her. She learned that he was good and a wealthy man, that he dearly loved her. Making that discovery gave new meaning to her life. Discovering that God is our Father does even more for us.
By faith I keep pressing on!