Why Do You Care So Much About What Others Think Of You?
Do you live from a place of love or fear?
This article was originally published on Medium.
I have noticed a theme. It happens in the online world and offline world. Who knows for how long this phenomenon has been occurring. I still suffer with it at times, but not as much as in the past.
Us humans care way too much about what other people think of us, and we believe that we are put here to save others from mistakes. We let other people crush and ruin our dreams. For so long, I was guilty of crushing and being crushed.
First of all, they only care for you if you stay in your nice bubble of who “THEY” think you are. Usually, our version of others is nothing like our version of ourselves.
To me, it is such a weird experience. I have told friends things in the past. I want to live off-grid; they say how can you even consider that when you are on your phone all the time and want to work online. I mean, valid point, but they don’t know my desire and the drive to make it happen.
They see me working online. They come at me with a statement that they have deemed as fact vs. a conversation, which could be more enjoyable. They don’t know the dream in my head because that is for me only.
I will not let them penetrate it with their negativity.
I want to explore the world and make new friends. They say you hate meeting new people at work or the bar. Yes, they are not the people I want to be friends with. I want to make worldly friends; they say, well, that is dumb.
My old friends were assholes.
I have always been the friend who goes with the flow. I have also gotten sucked up into their world. Except I am not an asshole, and I can see when someone is just being mean, yet I just sat and said nothing for so long.
Now I say something or walk away.
If someone tells me a dream one has, I do not crush it; I encourage it. I ask questions that are relevant to them, propelling them forward. I like to make people think in a way that they might not have thought, yet very few do this for me.
Instead, they spew negativity and questions that are not about encouraging an open dialog but those that only have their result as the response. These are no longer my people.
I have gotten rid of most of the haters in my life. I think because I did not feed them, I started starving them. When a hater doesn’t get the satisfaction of a rebuttal or a reason, or they don’t see you sitting there stumbling over their words, they will stop.
They might also fall off your radar. You may find out that your family is not your people. It is ok; I had to realize this also. I have members in my family who think my life is crazy and are always asking me the dumbest questions. I stopped feeding into it.
I know you are thinking, but they are your family. I say I owe no one anything. It is my life, not theirs; I do not put judgment on their life and will not stand by for their assessment.
It looks pretty harsh; however, it is not. I have had friends be rough with me, and I stop talking to them.
Then people say they care about you. No, they want to appear that they “care.” No, they are projecting their fears and judgment onto me; this is not love.
Differentiating between love and fear is critical in life. Love is unconditional; it is with no strings attached. Loving someone without expectations is not an exchange; I love you because you love me, no, I love you, no matter if you love me. ZERO ATTACHMENT.
Love is also letting go; I love myself enough to let go of those who fear-bomb me. Fear is an emotion that helps protect us from danger. So they think they are saving us, but in reality, they are projecting.
Who said I wanted to be saved?
A question for those who feel the need to protect me. They can’t do it, so they assume no one else can. Usually, it comes out years later that they always wanted to do what I was doing but were too scared; they let fear lead their life.
I let love lead.
That is their choice; I stopped feeling bad for people long ago. We all make our beds, so few want to take responsibility for their lives.
The day I stopped blaming everyone else for my unhappiness and my circumstances. My life changed. You have to take responsibility, no matter what.
My parents dying when I was young was not my fault, yet I had to decide how to deal with this; I had to take responsibility for handling the situation. I choose to see how lucky I am that I have had them in my life for as long as I did.
They instilled values in my life that have gotten me to where I am. I got their adventurous spirit. I get to choose how I deal with them leaving so young.
Loss is never easy.
My aunt decided to deal with the loss of her sister; differently, it’s palpable when we are around her; I prefer not to be around her. She does not understand my life; I am too much like my parents, and how I deal with their loss is incomprehensible to her.
I take responsibility for my happiness and joy. She still blames my mother, who has been dead since 1989, as of this week.
I had to learn many hard lessons; I had to detach from many friends and family. I had only to allow those in my circle who were supportive of me. It may appear harsh, and many will not understand, and to me, it is what I need to do to pursue the life I want to lead.
I still get told, you can go back to nursing; so many jobs are hiring.
I say I quit; I am in a new stage of my life. I am starting over. They say, but why when you don’t have to. I want to.
Don’t you want to live a “normal” life, so my life is not normal?
How are you doing a job you hate, buying a new car every year, or buying the latest technology?
I never tell them, why don’t you stop working so much so you can spend time with your children? I never say, maybe not have another child, since it seems you complain about your children all the time. That would be absurd.
I would be in the wrong, attacking their family when they are attacking my family, yet we do not see it this way. Those who choose differently, like those who live the “normal” life, get a free stick to throw at us for not choosing the way they did.
Then they get drunk and tell you how jealous they are of you and wish they had chosen differently. So yes, I am always open to a healthy discussion about my life; I am not available to someone putting me down.
I will walk away, and I will delete you. I will not feel bad either.
I used to attach to everyone and everything; that cord has been severed. I still have things I am working on; I am not perfect. Except I see life as a game.
We are only here for a short period. We only have one life. I have lived it for so long based on others’ opinions; I used not to be able to buy clothes without asking does they look good on me. No way, now I like it. I buy it.
I did have a friend help me shop, but I just needed to know the stores; she pointed me in the right direction, and off I went. I realized I know what I like, what looks good, and what makes me feel good.
I feel like I am playing the game of life; it was always a favorite growing up.
So I am open to healthy discussions about my life; I thrive on this. I am not available for a judgment-based conversation “because you care” about my life discussion.
I will shut those down, walk away, and the only thing you will remember about me is how good I looked walking away.
So live however you want to live. Let others live how they want to live.
A friend of mine recently told me his family is giving him a hard time about a situation, so I was inspired to write this. I told him my family doesn’t question me about anything; they trust my judgment.
In a non-judgmental, encouraging way, we have conversations about life from all sides. I am a grown-ass woman; I have earned the right to make my own decisions, as they have; we respect this in each other.
Why do we care so much about what others think of us?