“Reputation is what the world thinks a man is; character is what he really is. Anyone can play shuttlecock with a man’s reputation; his character is his alone. No one can injure his character but he himself. Character is the sword; reputation is the scabbard. Many men acquire insomnia in standing guard over their reputation, while their character gives them no concern. Often they make new dents in their character in their attempt to cut a deep, deceptive filigree on the scabbard of their reputation. Reputation is the shell a man discards when he leaves life for immortality. His character he takes with him.” ~ William George Jordan
The opinions of others are valuable in that they provide a perspective on your function that you might not have, being in your own shoes, so to speak. That said, only a fool would base his actions on a reaction to the opinions of others. Every thought, every word and every deed can and should be centered in truth.
When you align yourself with truth in all things and deliberately dissociate yourself from that which is inconsistent with truth, you develop integrity. Integrity, in turn, is the medium in which virtues are cultivated. And a virtuous man is a man of great character.
It is said that misery loves company, but less mentioned is the fact that misery hates joy. Those who possess great character are at peace with themselves, no matter how violent the reaction to their presence. When you are virtuous, when you do the work required to build character (none are born with it…it must be developed), you find that you are of good cheer, no matter how restrictive, how intense, how hopeless the situations you face might appear to be.
You overcome the shortcomings of human nature – one by one – as you develop character and you must always remember that all the power, all the resources, all the wisdom you need to prevail is at hand, within you. Remember, too, that obsessing about your reputation will never transmute the colander of your character into a container capable of withstanding any pressure that comes its way, but paying careful attention to your alignment with the truth will.