Thursday, 9 July 2015

What They Think Isn't Everything

My sister - I'm not sure if she cares too much or not at all

Over the years I've dug myself a very deep hole, letting other people's thoughts dictate my life, and now I want to fix it.  At the beginning of these holidays I decided that one of my projects would be a mental makeover, to make myself a happier more enlightened person, and what better way to do that than to write it out.

As usual there's been no limit of motivational posts in my blogger dashboard, and I seem to be commenting something along the same lines for every post, because I get the same message every time.  "Rely on yourself," I say, "Don't rely on other people to pick you up with kind words, or to be exactly as you imagined them to be."  Maybe it's time I followed my own preachings.

I've spiralled down into a trap.  It's like there's voices in my head every time I make a decision or do something.  What would they think of what I'm doing right now?  I can totally imagine her saying this.  Other people are always there, as if I'm doing everything for them.  When I'm jogging I wonder what they would think if they were walking past.  When I'm writing I wonder what they would think if they were reading this.  I imagine scenarios where they see me and look at me as if I'm special, like something they've never seen before.  Why can't I just be content with doing what I'm doing because I enjoy doing it, or because I think it's cool?

I spend way too much time imagining these unlikely scenarios where somehow someone thinks I'm great.  And when I imagine such perfect scenarios, real life becomes a disappointment.  I subconsciously want these people to do exactly what I imagine them doing, say what I imagine them saying - and it's all so self centred because in every scenario I am somehow put into the spot light, because apparently I crave approval that much.  The thing is, with all these imagined happenings I don't appreciate the real things that happen.  And even if they were to happen, it wouldn't be special because it's all already happened in my head.  Imagined fantasies ruin real life - and all these fantasies involve the approval I crave so much.

They're in all my worries.  It's like I can't help but dwell over whether they like me, what they think of me; and all this does is ruin my relationship with them in real life, because I'm so freaking paranoid all the time.  I'm such a try-hard, or a not-trying-at-all.  Why can't I just be me?  All I'd have to do is switch off the anxieties and do whatever.  What people think is so trivial and petty because it shouldn't matter.

The thing is, I feel this way about everybody - from someone I'm extremely close to, to someone I barely know.  Sure, it matters what my parents think of me, my closest friends, the people I actually talk to who make my life whole.  But what about all those other people?  There's the people I see at work, the people I see at school, the strangers walking past me at the mall - why do I even care what they think?  I should be able to encounter them as if they're just another somebody.  It's no big deal what they think of me.  They're not really part of my life anyway.

I just need to relax and be happy to be here.  I need to enjoy turning up and letting things happen.  There's no need to pre-fantasise and after-analyse.

Social media is also such a trap.  She didn't follow back, so does that mean she disrespects me as a person?  Did she even add me back on snap chat?  What do they think of my Facebook profile?  Should I have liked that post?  Why hasn't she accepted my friend request yet?  Am I a stalker?  I need to remember that face-to-face is always what matters.  And all those people who I feel have offended me through social media, they're usually exactly the same to me when we see each other.  They're usually just as nice.  That just goes to show that social media doesn't have any real connection to real life.

There's no need to worry about how many follows I get, or how many likes, because if I don't care what people I barely know think then these things don't matter.  I need to learn that their opinions of me don't dictate what I do or how I act, but it's my own opinions that matter.

I somewhat feel like this blog is another example of how much I care.  Maybe I only started it because I wanted other people to approve of my opinions.  I know for sure that blogging here wouldn't be the same without follows and comments.  It's another signal of my much craved approval.  Or maybe this blog is an act of rebellion in my murky mind, because I'm doing this because I like it.  It's not the most conventional thing, and I'm writing what I want because I don't particularly care if people can see inside my thoughts.  I like that, so that's how I'm going to view this.  This blog is the one place where I don't care what people think.

Now I just need to spread that - have that outlook on life.  I will speak as I speak here; out loud and saying what comes to mind.  I will do things because I like doing them, not because other people do.  I need to stop imagining their approval and block all that out, because I need to think of myself just doing the thing in solitude.  No more fantasies.  No more social media trap.  I'm closer to having a happier mind.  Hopefully I'm not wrong about everything.

Love,
M

27 comments:

  1. I know *exactly* what you're talking about here, M. I know how stupid it is to act and think and portray yourself a certain way because you're afraid of what everyone else will think and say (no rhyme intended there). I am ALWAYS telling people, "It doesn't matter what they think! Do what you like to do, be who you are, and be proud of it - it's you're life!" But then I hardly follow my own advice. I know how ridiculous it is. But it's very hard to turn yourself away from that mentality.

    My problem mostly involves the people closest to me (I've always felt awkward showing them the more free, deep-thinking side of me), though it does occasionally expand to strangers. But it's why, for example, no one in my life knows I blog. I would *love* to show them! They would enjoy it, and I would feel so much better. But I don't have the courage to do that, yet.

    Thank you for sharing this, it's always helpful when you read something you can relate to. You've put this beautifully. I think it's just something that we have to grow out of, and that starts just like this - identifying what holds you back and having a strong want to change it.

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    1. I'm so glad you could relate Eve. The thing is, we all know that we shouldn't care, but as you said, the mentality is almost impossible to get rid of. Imagine how blissful and empowering it would be to simply not care at all. All these people are just side characters of our starring show, and we simply encounter them even though we have better things to worry about in our pretty little heads. I don't think these people need to see your blog, but if you'd like them to see it and know they'd enjoy it, then be brave! Just make sure you don't later regret it. Oh gosh I hope I'm not giving you really bad advice.

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  2. Never let anyone else tell you what to think or how to feel, but that doesn't mean that you need to close yourself off either. I love blogging, especially the commenting part, because it creates dialogue and sometimes helps you realize that you're not in this alone. There are some people that don't make you feel too good... so don't spend time with them! There are so many more people in the world. There are some people that you think are really cool and you want to be validated by them... so you wait around, but if you want something, you need to go out and get it. And anyways, you don't need validation from others. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, because there's no time to waste around people who make you feel otherwise :) -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

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    1. I reckon that advice is spot on - surround yourself with those who make you feel good, validated. It's just difficult to admit it, because there are still people who don't make you feel too amazing, but you don't want to get rid of them either. In some ways, if we think like that everybody could make us feel "bad". The only reason they're making us feel bad though is because we care what they think too deeply. I guess people start seeing you in a better light if you just stop trying and thinking so hard and start being more you.

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  3. Whatever I comment, you've already said in better words. It's a truly insightful and thoughtful post. :) I'm glad you're using this blog for yourself now, I went through a similar turning point in my blog a fewy days ago, too.

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    1. Thanks Jo! I've always used this blog for myself, and I guess that's why I view it as an act of rebellion against my otherwise poisoned mind. The only reason I might see it otherwise is because a truly self-validated person would be content with keeping a less public diary of sorts, and wouldn't see the need for a blog.

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  4. That's so true! It's your life and you totally need to enjoy it for who you are and not what they want you to be.

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    1. Exactly! Nobody's got time to worry about such petty issues, because it's not like they care that much about you anyway.

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  5. Thank you for this post, M! It definitely hit home! I tell people time and again that if they are happy about themselves, they shouldn't care about what other people think of them. But the ugly truth is: I do care. A lot. Everytime I see a close friend hanging out with someone and my friend asks me to join them, I deliberately distance myself from them and I wait for an invitation from the other person. I wait for their approval. If the invitation doesn't come, I automatically assume they don't like me. "You see? They didn't ask you to stay. They don't want to have you around. You're not fun to be around. Do yourself a favour and go." I end up believing an assumption I made, based on my own fears and insecurities, to be true and this results in me shutting myself off completely. In reality, the other person didn't even know I wanted to join the conversation. I am too busy thinking about how the other person might perceive me and because of this, I have ruined a lot of potential friendships for myself. Like you said, there's no need to pre-fantasise and after-analyse. The first step to building a friendship is initiative. I have to learn to let go of my insecurities and engage in conversations. If you're happy about yourself, you shouldn't care about what other people might think of you. I'm going to live by that from now on. Again, beautiful post, M! You have a way with words!

    Xx Morgana

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    1. That is exactly what our issues are! - We can't stop basing our actions on assumptions, when the people we're holding back from don't care much about us at all. They're not thinking nearly as deeply about the situation, so why should we? Sometimes it's difficult to break away from our analytical habits, but I have no doubt there's some kind of method to shut it out. The first step to everything is to lose insecurities and assumptions, and start taking initiative and following intuition with courage.

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    2. Hey Morgana!
      I must say, you also have a way with words. Your comment is so honest but still upbeat. I wish you all the luck for being confident and not care about other peoples opinions!

      Love

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    3. Hey BooksBalletphotos! Thank you so much for your kind words! You made my day :) I'm trying my hardest to change for the better and I hope others will find happiness too.

      Xx Morgana

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  6. Hey! I'd like to say that you expressed this really well. I can't count how many times I've felt the same way about what you said about social media, fantasies and craving the approval of others. I guess this blogpost was a good reminder that it doesn't matter what other people think of you.

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    1. Thanks so much KC! I just wish we all weren't so self obsessed that we've reached this point of insecurity. Caring so much can only hold people back from all the opportunities they once had in stall.

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  7. Hey, it's me, again :)
    M, you know why we love you? Because you are wholeheartedly yourself on this blog. We give you follows and comments and love because we know that you are honest with us. People notice these things, and you will only find the right friends if you are totally yourself. Please believe me if I say that you can be honest on this blog, but also in real life, because the right people will love you then. We know you and we will support you because you are amazing. Keep up the good work and go out there, be you want to be and say what you want to say.

    Lots of love

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    1. Thanks so much booksballetphotos! I guess it's easier to be more honest when you're in a one-sided conversation with strangers. When would I ever be able to bring up remotely philosophical observations casually while engaging with people in real life? This blog is technically just me shouting whatever I want and waiting for views and replies, and I guess that's the beauty of it. It can never translate to real life but being who I want to be and saying what needs to be said is definitely a can do, and I will try. Thanks so much <3

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  8. You made your point really well!
    I think it's natural for us always to ponder over what others opinions are of us and our actions but never let it get to you. What really should matter to us is what those most close to us think, all other opinions shouldn't bother you that much. You could listen to their side but ultimately it comes down to what you like and what you want to do.

    -Kathie K
    A Sea Change

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    1. Exactly! I wish it weren't natural for us to continuously torture ourselves mentally in this way, but I guess we all need a little criticism. It's the assumptions that most definitely need to be discarded. Ultimately it really is all about what's in your personal pretty little head.

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  9. You made SO many good points in this post, M. Where do I even begin? I totally agree with you about social media-- you nailed it. We get so caught up in "likes" and have so many "friends" who aren't even actually friends in real life! Its crazy. I get caught up in the same trap of wondering what other people think too...my Mom talked to me about it recently and what she said really helped. She asked how often do *I* think about, judge, and scrutinize other people-- and I thought about it, and realized I don't do that. So other people aren't always judging and scrutinizing me either. That really helped me have a better outlook, so I thought I would share it. :) Wonderful thoughts on this, girl, thank you for sharing it. <3

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  10. btw, your new blog layout is AWESOME!

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    1. Your mum is really smart, because that is one of the most honestly true points - that we aren't judging them harshly so why should we think they are? I mean, sure we do judge, but our opinions never really go anywhere or affect them that deeply. I guess the lesson is that we're all interconnected and same in a way, and we need to remember that ourself as a person is just as important and equal as the rest of them, which means their opinions don't matter that much. Thanks so much Katie! I'm glad I changed my blog design too ;)

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  11. love this post! it's so relatable!

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  12. I feel you! This is such a great post, great thoughts. I should too relax a little and stop caring what people think, but it is so hard to switch of those anxieties! x

    ratherstrangeblog.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Switching it all off is definitely super difficult, and I don't think its even doable. But I guess we can train ourselves to not care maybe?

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  13. I totally understand what you're talking about and I think it's great that you're thinking about this! My piece of advice is this: start working on yourself now! There should be a balance, I think. You should care about what others think in certain cases, but for the most part you should really do what makes you happy! I'm several years older than you and I've just realized this is something I still struggle with. My guess is that it's much easier to change the way you think the younger you start to make changes!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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    1. I reckon that's completely true because I always thought that it was in your teenage years that you figure out who you are, thanks to popular cliches ;) So I guess it's my job now to consciously try not to care and eventually it will become a lifestyle habit. You can still do the same as well! Good luck!

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