Try not to be overly concerned with the opinions others may have of you and, instead, be more concerned with the opinions you have of yourself. Those people who are out to simply put on a show and try to impress others are usually the ones who come unstuck and are left feeling unfulfilled and empty inside. As in the children’s story of the foolish king who paid heavily for an invisible suit of clothes, people see through falsehood eventually. Maybe, you remember the tale.

One day a fine-looking tailor arrived at court for an audience with the king. The tailor told the king that he had travelled from distant lands where he had discovered a magical yarn so beautiful that only the wisest of people could actually see it. The king’s vanity got the better of him and so he ordered the tailor to make him a suit of the finest clothes and agreed to pay him three bags of gold coins. Well, the tailor went away and sometime later returned carrying a large box. As he opened the box, he mimed taking out this precious garment of the finest cloth covered with tassels and jewels. As he mimed holding the garment, the tailor spoke with great articulation about how the magical qualities of the yarn allowed only the wisest of people to be able to see and touch the suit. And how anyone who is a fool would not actually be able to see the suit at all; it would be invisible to them. Well, the king couldn’t see a thing but he wasn’t going to admit to being a fool, so he took off his out garments and tried the suit on. As he posed grandly in front of a mirror all of his attendants said how handsome and regal and wonderful he looked.

The king paid the tailor his three bags of gold coins and then set off on a procession through the streets to show off his new suit to the people. Of course, what everyone actually saw was the king in his underwear, but nobody would admit to this. In fact, everyone remarked how grand the king looked in his new suit and what a beautiful fitting suit it was too! But just then a young boy climbed up a lamppost to see what all the fuss was about. With a shriek of laughter the boy shouted, “Ha! Look, the king is in his underwear.” Then everyone saw the truth and they too started pointing at the king and laughing at his foolishness.

Moral: The important thing is how you see yourself, not how others see you. So then, stop being overly concerned about trying to make a good impression on the outside; stop worrying about the opinions others may have of you and, instead, start being more concerned with the opinions you have of yourself – your self-esteem that is.

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential