I’ve spent the better part of my life (let’s just call it what it is—ALL the parts until recently) caring about what other people think of me. Caring about what I look like. Caring about my image. Caring if I’m funny enough. Caring about whether I smile enough (which really is the dumbest thing). Caring about my home. Caring about a whole bunch of pointless things that I shouldn’t be caring about.
There’s a quote out there by Eleanor Roosevelt that goes a little something like this: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if realized how seldom they do.”
I keep it on my phone, along with a few other quotes by her. She was a smart lady…her words have taught me a couple of painfully important lessons as of late. But it’s been only recently that I have I realized truth of this particular statement. Here we are, running around in circles trying to please so many people while those same people are worried about how to buy groceries, how to make it to one child’s band concert while the other two kids have basketball games and guitar lessons simultaneously. We’re worried about what others think of our well-decorated homes when those same “other people” are trying to keep their own light bill current and wondering how to come up with enough money to pay for their child’s education. We’re worried about whether others think we’re funny enough when those same other people were shut inside their closets crying last night or trying not to have a meltdown while driving on the highway.
So maybe the funny thing is valid. Maybe we all need someone to help us to laugh more.
Other than that, the rest might just be a waste of time—yours, mine, and ours.
Which brings me to my point. This time last year, I was constantly worried about how other people saw me.
But this year? Not so much. I’ll admit to still worrying about a select few, because I’d like to remain in good standing with those closest to me.
But as for the masses? Instead of caring about what they think of me—maybe because I recently spent such a long time in the kind of despair that left me feeling very isolated and alone–I’d rather spend more time focusing on what they think of themselves. Having a bad day? Feel free to vent. Have some good news? Feel free to share. Mad about something? Tell me what it is, I don’t scare easily. Having a tough time? Hey, I’m there too. Have an ugly side that you try so hard to hide? Unless you’re a psychopath with very serious mental issues, stop hiding it. Have a talented side that very few seem to support? The rest of world just might love to see it; I know I would. Have something really exciting that recently happened? I’m happy to celebrate with you. I’ll bring the cupcakes.
For me, it’s the only way to stop being so inwardly focused. And for a writer who spends the better part of every day in a fantasy world of her own making, it’s something that I, for one, need a lot more of.
“The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think.”