Reputation is interesting as it doesn’t always align with character. Your character may or may not be perceived accurately by others, therefore it is entirely possible that what others think of you may not be consistent with who you are or how you’ve been acting.
History shows us that many of our revered historical figures were regularly rejected if not reviled during their lifetimes. Think: Jesus, Galileo or Thoreau.
My children started school last week and it occurred to me that in most cases, new beginnings have a refreshing effect on your reputation. You start every new project, day, job, relationship or what have you with a clean slate.
Dig a little beneath the back-biting, self-promotion, grudge-holding of most people and you’ll find that most people have not lost touch with the perpetual spring of forgiveness and love which emanates from the core of being. Add to that fact that most are busy with their own lives and you begin to see that the currents of forgiveness are always at work in every individual, regardless of whether or not he is conscious of it.
Forgiveness is constantly cleaning the slate. At night. Over the summer. Between encounters. Realizing this, you need not burden yourself with the suspicion that others are looking down upon you even before you’ve taken the first step in a new beginning. Like a flowing river, the coursing nature of forgiveness cleanses and purifies as it goes.
So when you’re given a fresh start by the grace of God and of men, accept it, rise to the occasion and give more freely and less self-consciously that you’ve ever given before.
As for your reputation, who cares really? If your character is aligned with truth and if you remain steadfastly centered in love, then you’ve done your part. The rest is history!