I have a confession. There’s this continual battle I have going on in my head. I care about what other people think of me and I hate it. I over explain myself and get deeply hurt when I don’t get everyone’s approval, so I tread lightly. Even as I type that statement, the question “what if people disagree with own my personal assessment?” is running through my head. It’s that bad. After doing some reading and watching an interesting video on mindfulness, it got my gears turning. Why the hell do we care in the first place?
Back in “simpler” days there were some essentials in life to survive. Water, food, shelter and procreation. People formed groups because there’s safety in numbers, if you didn’t fit in and weren’t productive, you got kicked out of the group. If you thought it would be nice to befriend a wild animal instead of eat it, you weren’t an asset. Thinking differently or being different made you a risky individual and in the days of survival risky wasn’t a good thing. Even to find a mate and procreate, you had to present yourself in a way that made you look appealing. I think fitting in is a genetic trait passed down from our ancestors.
Your Brain is Trying to Protect You
No one likes rejection and no one likes to be embarrassed. If there’s a funeral, what color clothes will you be wearing? Probably not fuchsia. That’s your brains way of protecting itself. It makes sure you stay in the status quo to prevent embarrassment. One last reason is that people who hurt others with cutting remarks or judgments are usually very hurt themselves. It’s a defense mechanism that allows them to hurt first before being hurt by others. How exactly can you silence the voices? I’m not sure you can, but here are some ways you can make them much smaller.
#1 – Your Comfort Zone
You have to get out of your box of comfort to grow outside of it. There will be temporary discomfort, BUT that box of comfort will grow bigger and bigger and the discomfort will slowly go away. Eventually you will find new challenges and new ways to get out of your comfort zone. That’s how personal growth happens.
#2 – Have a Tribe
I have trouble with this but it is so necessary. Find a group of people that love and care about you who are driven and self-assured. Cut out the emotionally draining people that don’t add to your life or in the least limit your time with them. Find people that challenge you in your field and who will lovingly tell you not to wear that outfit. Value their opinions and critiques of you.
#3 – Listen to Your Critics
I’ve noticed it’s common for people to tell you to ignore the opinions of others. I disagree. I think it’s helpful in a way. Did someone say you yell at your kids too much? Did someone say you’re a pushover? I challenge you to step back as if you’re not in your body and objectively see if there’s any truth to that. Is there? If not, keep it pushing, their opinion doesn’t matter anyway. If there is truth to it though, you have found something that you can add to your list of self-improvement. Your tribe is helpful but sometimes an outsider’s opinion can valuable, even if it’s harsh.
#4 – Social Media Sucks Sometimes
People only post the better side of themselves. We’re all guilty of it. We only post on social media the prettiest parts of our home. We take seven selfies before we choose one. We’ve probably screamed at our kids seventy times to get them all to look at the damn camera. Only for us to brag about what angels they are as they crush a bag of cheese crackers into the floor. Social media is a platform when everyone puts their best face forward. Don’t rely on that to determine what “normal” looks like.
#5 Rip Off That Band-Aid Boo
Rip off the band-aid and just be you! Stop over-explaining yourself to seek others approval. Everyone is going to see you through their life’s lens. Don’t forget that. I may have my car paid off and be debt free, but I still may be considered broke to a rich person. If a person can’t meet you where you’re at and love you, flaws and all, drop them like a bad habit, for now at least. They’ll come around when they’ve grown up. You are not Baskin Robins and you shouldn’t have to come up with a new flavor every time someone doesn’t like something you do. I am currently in the throes of finally accepting and embracing my strengths and weaknesses. Quite honestly the facade of being a happy go lucky Suzie homemaker is an act I am too tired to keep up with nowadays. In the wise words of Sweet Brown “Ain’t nobody got time for that” and you shouldn’t either. Go live your weird (just me?) little life happy enough and surrounded by people who love you….. all of you.