There’s always some way I can reinforce the things that matter to me in the universe, and I’m the only one that can do it. And if they don’t accept my praise and rewards, or if it means less to them than it does to me, that’s fine. It still keeps my cares and behaviors consistent with each other. I can look someone, or myself, in the eye and say “I am who I think I am.” - Scott Berkun
To make a difference, you occasionally have to choose a course of action that others may disparage or disagree with. Its a fact of life. Whenever we lift our head out of the sand to stand up for what we believe in we run the risk of someone chopping it off - or thinking we are weak, or silly or just plain out wrong. Its not easy - and its not always a great deal of fun. But ultimately, if we hold back from doing what's right for fear of what other people might think, we are selling ourselves short.
You can't live your life based on other people's perceptions of who you are. It makes you fearful, and fear makes you weak. It means you hand your personal power over to others. It means you will never live up to your potential. It demeans you.
Other people will always have something to say about the choices you make. When you choose to be kind, some people may perceive it as weakness or naivety. When you choose to show gratitude some people may be nonplussed or unappreciative. When you choose to champion a cause some people may think you are an idiot, or a troublemaker. But their perceptions of you are not necessarily reality.
The only person whose opinion should matter to you is YOU! You cannot control the perceptions of others. You are only in control of your actions, your choices. If your life choices are not based on a strong set of core values, then standing your ground in the face of opposition is all but impossible. You become extremely vulnerable and easily swayed. How can you have a positive impact on the world if you are being buffeted to and fro by the storms of public opinion?