You know what Id like to know? (And for no particular reason, by the way.) Id love to know why its human nature to care so much about what other people think. Why are so many of us are so worried about how were perceived by the people and world around us? And why do we constantly obsess over the choices we make because of what other people will think of them? Like why does any of that even matter?
Seems kinda stupid when you read it in black and white like this, doesnt it?
The thing is, I hate seeing people stressing out about it as much as I know they are. Because it weighs on people. And very unnecessarily.
I know this because Im constantly catching myself stressing about decisions I make simply because I know other people are going to have an opinion. And even though I know its counterproductive and a total waste of energy, I still do it. (Idiot.)
The worst, though, is when I catch my daughters doing it. Knowing that theyre even the littlest bit preoccupied by what their friends or their peers think of them or their choices is a hard thing to watch as a parent. Because were all constantly reminding our kids that only the opinions that matter are the ones from their family or their real friends. Not anyone elses.
Dont those of us who are parents hear ourselves telling our kids that all the time? Especially the middle and high-school-age ones. It doesnt matter what other people think, honey, it just matters what you think.
The problem is, when were coaching our kids, the super-rational part of our brain kicks in and we speak the truth. Its when we turn the lens on ourselves that we reveal that most of us are hypocrites who say one thing and do another.
Which begs the question: Why arent we taking our own advice? Why arent we reducing the burden of those heavy thoughts and insecurities by just cutting them all loose? (You know Im right. And I dont say that very often.)
So, I dont know about you, but Im done. Im rewiring my brain even if it kills me. (That was just for emphasis. Im good.)
Because the pure and simple truth is that what other people think of uslike what gender we identify as or whether we breastfeed our babies or not or whether were a stay-at-home dad or a corporate guy or whether we eat trans fatsreally doesnt matter. At all.
Most of us, though, just cant help ourselves. We care about how were perceived by the gen pop. And even though most of us make a conscientious effort to be rational, responsible, decent people, were still hyper aware of how we present ourselves to the world, whether were a middle school girl or a junior in college or a career professional or a mom.
Except for a small minority of super-free-spirited people out there who just dont give a !%@$ what they wear or say or do, the rest of us are all guilty of caring what other people think.
Im more than a little envious of those confident and intentionally-minded people and of how relaxed they must feel. In fact, I think about how invigorating it must be to be Simonized against everyone elses criticism or disapproval so it all just beads up and rolls onto the floor.
Sadly, I think our preoccupation with how other people view us is a big inhibitor. It keeps us from saying or doing a lot of what we might really want to do or say just because we want everyone around us to approve. Especially when were kids.
And there it is! Its all based around our need for approval.
Were completely missing the fact, though, that what matters most is what we think of ourselves and whether or not we approve of ourselves.
So, what so we do about it? How do we take control?
Its easy, really. Way easier than we might think. It just takes practice.
We need to start trusting ourselves a little more. We need to start respecting ourselves a little more. And we need to faithfully put our own best selves out there and stop giving a %$@$ about what anyone else thinks as long as were proud of who we are.
Because, even though were sure in our own heads that everyone is watching and judging us, most people really arent paying any attention at all. Another key point here, no matter what we do, were never going to please everyone. Guaranteed. And lastly, the more we live our lives for the sake of other people, the less we live a life thats authentic to ourselves.
So Im coating myself in Turtle Wax tonight when I get home and Im going to live my life to make myself, and the people closest to me, happy. And if you have a problem with that, then from now on its your problem, not mine.
I feel better already.
Read more: https://www.littlethings.com/what-other-people-think/