Adulting with Anxiety: Caring About What Other People Think...
I’m thankful that I don’t wonder so much what people think of me. And I don’t say this in a way that’s harsh or bitter. I just really don’t care as much as I used to, and that’s huge, especially if you have people pleasing tendencies like myself.
I spent years always wanting to make the best impression and wanting everyone I encountered (including the lady at the grocery check-out) to like me. I’d worry I said or did the wrong thing. I knew in my heart that people were what life was all about – not possessions – but I wrongfully wanted “them” (whoever they are) to like me, and I got much of my self-esteem from interactions.
AND to be honest, I really believed that if I stopped caring about what other people thought of me, I wouldn’t look after myself. I’d let myself go, so to speak, and end up neglecting self-care and not doing some of the things I enjoy – like wearing a pretty headband or making sure I wiped the cat hair off my pants (I can’t help it – I enjoy being tidy.)
Slowly, through the years, the truth began to unfold, as I realized that not only do most people I encounter NOT even remember who I am, they just really don’t care that much. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. They have their own little worlds, and I am a stranger to them, just interacting for a few minutes. My role in their life is more minor, and their role in my life is minor.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t treat everyone with kindness and respect; that’s not to say we shouldn’t hope that even just a few minutes with someone might better their life. That’s not to say that a chance encounter with someone might lead to something more.
But it’s about establishing boundaries for ourselves. It’s about walking in the truth that the world just really doesn’t revolve around us, which is a very good thing! And the best thing of it, (though unfortunately, it took a while for me to learn it): we have the power to decide whose opinion is going to mean something to us.