5 Steps For Repairing A Bad Reputation
Updated: May 29
We've all been here...the point when life gets bleak. It becomes hard to escape our past decisions, and it may feel like no matter what we do, we're continuously aligned with a bad reputation. We want to be better and do better; but, sometimes, we just don't know how to repair things. Sometimes we may even dig ourselves into a deeper hole if the people around us expect the worst.
When people have a negative perception of you, a lot of times it feels like they want nothing more than for you to fail. They define you by the choices you've made, and because of that there's this belief that you'll never change. In their eyes, your "bad" reputation casts a shadow over anything positive. Sure, you played a part in the way you're viewed because of the decisions you've made; but, should those decisions define you forever?
Not at all.
In a previous blog, we discussed the ways by which a negative reputation can affect your life. A "bad" reputation can ruin relationships, cost you professional and personal opportunities, damage your self-confidence, alter how others see you as well as how you see yourself. This negative perception of what you are can actually outweigh the reality of who you are. It can even drag you until you hit rock bottom. The good thing is though, that when you hit rock bottom, you can climb back up again!
We may not say it, but being able to show the people who thought we thought we were "lost," that we can conquer the world is a great feeling! You become a phoenix that rises from the ashes --- a source of inspiration and a story that so many can relate to.
In fact, while you may be thinking you're irredeemable, someone out there is waiting to hear your message of hope. No matter what anyone thinks, with just 5 simple steps, you are able to repair your "bad" reputation.
1) Asses the situation
Often times things look worse than you think. To get a true perspective of where you are in life, it's best to take a moment to yourself. Assess who are, what you want and why you do what you do. Assess your actions and determine if they are reflective of who you are and who you want to be. *Check out our post on being your best self for tips on how to do this!
Once you have a clear idea of who you are, your actions and their consequences,and determine who you want to be, separate what you can control from what you can't. Begin working on the things within your control and focus on making positive steps in that direction. Be kind to yourself and always be open to forgiveness.
2) Ask for feedback from trust worthy people
Most of us don't realize that the people we "trust," or the people we hold close to us, aren't necessarily for us. Weed out the people who are always spewing negativity because those aren't the one's who want the best for you. Those are the people who don't want to see you progress. Shift away from company who brings you down and encourages your bad habits; and instead, surround yourself with people who are positive and want to see you succeed.
Don't be afraid to accept advice about your personal growth and development from people who are able to be objective. You want people in your corner who aren't afraid to tell you when you're wrong. It may be a little uncomfortable, but people who will ALWAYS hold you accountable for your actions and encourage you to do better are the best people for you!
3) Own up to your past
Though being "wrong" can be hard to admit, there are times when we have to do it. Unfortunately, how we act and what we do are the windows through which people see us. Because of that, a lot of the time, our "bad" reputations are actually earned.
Take ownership of that!
The reality is, your actions or words may have been wrong. But, through self-reflection and constructive feedback from good friends, once you realize and accept that you've made mistakes, you can start to fix them! Show your strength of character and integrity by beginning to repair the damage. Own up to your behaviour, make amends to anyone you’ve wronged. Admit your mistakes, apologize, and ask for forgiveness. It's one thing to know you're wrong; but, it's another to actually make things right!
Jill Gugino Pante, Director of the Lerner Career Services Center at the University of Delaware, says, “There’s nothing worse when people can’t admit their faults and try to talk their way out of issues, [...]. It just makes the situation worse.”
Admit you recognize the damage you’ve done and commit to taking responsibility and following through! Aim to make long-lasting changes. Show that you are truly serious about self-improvement and growth, and you'll be surprised how people's perceptions begin to change.
This goes hand and hand with owning up to your actions or the lack thereof. Apologizing is SUCH an important part of your healing as well as the healing of others that may have been hurt by you. While apologies are never easy or comfortable, being the "bigger" person is a necessary part of living a happier life. Of course, everyone makes mistakes; but, taking responsibility for your actions or inactions and doing something about them is the key to repairing the damage you may have caused!
5) Good Actions
A good reputation, sense of character, and self are all managed by your actions. Remember, you aren't just doing good things to make people like you, you are doing good things because you are a good person. Bouncing back from a questionable reputation takes patience. People will always be entitled to their views --- but, when you know that you're doing better for you...you free yourself from the opinions of others. Eventually, you become less defensive, more open, and more consistent in your change if your desire to be a better version of yourself is genuine.When you are your most authentic self no one can deny it!
At the end of the day, your reputation is a representation of you. Whatever you put out into the world, NO ONE can discredit. All you have to do is put in the work!
Take life in your hands and build it up with consistency, positivity, and good will. Your decisions will not only impact your life but lives yet to come so don't let anyone write you off...including yourself!