Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You shouldn't care what people think (Because no one is thinking about you)

I have a confession to make. I can be really really really self-conscious sometimes. There aren't enough "really's" to describe how self-conscious I can get. It's like this crippling obsession over what everybody really thinks of me. I've struggled with it my whole life. 

Ever since I got epically rejected by one of my friends in fifth grade, I've carried around this belief that very few people will actually like me. I've gotten better over the years and have started opening up a little more, but I still care way too much about what other people think. 

I can just be walking down the street, and as cars and people pass me by, my inner dialogue goes a little something like this:

I look so awkward right now. I'm just shuffling along with my head down and my shoulders hunched, avoiding eye contact and trying to look casual. I'm not casual. I look stupid. I look insecure. I bet everybody is noticing how insecure I look right now. I can practically feel their eyes burning into me. I can practically hear them laughing and saying, "Look at that awkward girl over there. She looks like a vagrant. Look at her just walking along the side of the road like she's homeless or something. I should hit her with my car."  

And every time a car or another human being passes me or looks at me for even a split second, I'll just clench up until they've passed. It's ridiculous and completely irrational. The anxiety of coming into contact with other people gets so bad sometimes that I can barely even leave my home. 

While a large part of this has to do with my history of rejection, ostracization and social anxiety, it IS something that I'm working hard to be more consciously aware of. It's an insecurity that I've been trying to pay more attention to and not blame on other people or ancient circumstances.  

People have told me that other people care about me way less than I think they do. And they're so absolutely right.

Random strangers who drive or walk past me on the street more than likely don't give two shits about me or how I look. They're just going about their business, thinking about where they're headed and what's in store for the day. They're not breaking their necks to take a closer look at me so they can laugh at how awkward and out of place I look. It's all in my head.

It's also in my head that people I know are constantly judging and analyzing my personal life decisions. Although negative offhand comments have been made in the past, most of the things I believe are beliefs that I just pulled out of thin air. I have a habit of taking the slightest little comment and blowing it up times a thousand in my head. 

Someone could say, "Sears is hiring. You should look into it," and all I will hear is, "I don't approve of what you're trying to do for a living. You should get a real job like everyone else."

And then I'll form a belief in my head that my face is the first face that pops into people's minds when they see a "now hiring" sign in the window of an establishment. And then I'll get angry about it. 

All this because someone innocently and casually let me know that Sears was hiring.

So yeah. That is what I've most recently been trying to be more aware of---the fact that people care way less than I think they do. The assumption that everyone is judging and analyzing me is entirely in my head. The real problem is that I judge and analyze MYSELF. I need to stop doing that.

Stop worrying about what people are thinking of you. Chances are, no one is thinking a single thing.

<3 Madison




  1. So real to me... Amazing how we think alike. :-)

  2. Very real to me, too. Did you find a "cure"?

    1. Haha not really. I still get pretty self-conscious, but realizing that people don't think about me nearly as much as I think they do (as explained in the post) has helped. :-)

    2. Thanks for your reply Madison... Your blog is interesting, thanks for sharing! I do hope I find a way to live with these thoughts, it can get a little overwhelming at times :) (Of course, only at difficult times, otherwise, it's not fun...) Thanks :) - Camille.