_(This is your weekly "Top 5 Tuesday" post.  These entries will always be in list form, just to mix things up a bit.  Enjoy!)

I hear people all the time saying they don’t care what people think.  “I’ll do what I want.  What other people say or think doesn’t matter.”  On the surface, that seems admirable.  It makes you look strong enough to be independent and confident enough to be happy on your own.  It’s a pretty cool attitude to have.

However, once you get past the groovy sun glasses and greased up hair of the dude saying this as he sits on his motorcycle, it really doesn’t make sense.  Being on your own and doing your own thing without considering the impact on the lives of others can be very harmful, to those around you as well as yourself.  Here are some reasons that the “I don’t care what people think” attitude is a bad idea.

1.  Independence is overrated. – While independence may seem like the pinnacle of success, truly successful people will tell you that interdependence is the key to getting there.  Through networking, cooperation, and accountability, much more can be accomplished than anyone could ever do on their own.

2.  The Platinum Rule – I work with college students, and I always encourage them to employ the Platinum Rule in their everyday lives.  The Platinum Rule says that you should always strive to mimic the ideal behaviors that you would expect from someone else in the same situation.  I tell them this so they will understand that the more people that view them in a positive light, the more support they have in their effort to be successful.

Are you a student?  Then your professors and the grades they assign, as well as whether or not they are willing to write letters of recommendation for you, will play a major role in your future academic endeavors. 

Are you looking for a job?  You had better care what potential employers think of you.  You should also consider what past employers and superiors have thought of you as they will be called upon to speak to your performance and attitude. 

Are you looking for a relationship?  Gees, that whole bit revolves around making somebody else think you are worth spending time with.

3.  Your impact reaches further than you will ever know. This video illustrates this better than I ever could.

4.  You represent Christ. – If you claim to be a Christian, people are supposed to see Christ in you.  You are supposed to help people feel loved.  You are supposed to be the light of the world so that people will know that Christ is alive and He wants to get to know them. 

You are supposed to be different.  You are supposed to stand out.  But not in a “you” kind of way.  You should stand out in a “Christ” kind of way. 

When you tell people you are Christian, you are responsible for how you impact their view of Christ.  That’s far more important than any goals you have about being unique or independent.  I am sorry if you have yet to realize this, but you give up the right to be “you” when you accept Jesus as your Lord.  So we all need to stop focusing on “me” and put more effort into making sure people see Christ in us.

"When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world."  -C.S. Lewis

Do you care what other people think about you?

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