I’m going to change it up this week and talk about something a little different. Not to make light of our current pandemic by any means – hope y’all are doing ok, and God bless everyone affected 💜 – but there is a(nother) quiet epidemic going on in this world that I find rather annoying & I would just love to chat about it openly with you all. You know, the one that feeds on our souls? That is: CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. It has become an addiction; we’re totally obsessed. We base our identity on others’ judgments of us, good or bad. < Did you hear that? It’s no wonder we care so much!
I mistakenly thought that once I hit 30, I’d suddenly ‘arrive’ and just instantly care less. Now 33, this is still something I struggle with on the daily and continues to be my absolute least favorite thing about myself – and what I find more soul-sucking than anything else in this life – and it’s something I want to conquer to the death. Who’s with me? 👊
Lemme just jump right in. It’s crippling sometimes how much I care. It’s ridiculous, actually. I’m often paralyzed by this absurd fear of how I am going to be perceived by others, so I choose to bottle it up and remain at the mercy of other people’s opinions because, well, that’s the “safest” place to be… right? Bah, have we been horribly conditioned or what?! We live in a society that tells us to live safe and secure, even predictable lives; our brains are wired to tell us the same and ye olde fear sirens start wailing the second something seems ever so slightly risky, to try and keep us safe: Warning, something out of the ordinary is happening! Tell me you copy! I NEED A 10-4!! 🚨 It’s because of (giving into) these damn sirens that I’m probably more of a follower than a leader, because I’d rather avoid conflict and keep the peace at all costs… even to my own detriment. Even if it means sacrificing my own voice. Gosh, how little must I value myself in those moments? The best thing to do would be to pause before responding to connect with Self and hear that sweet inner voice say remember your worth… but too often I’ve instead gone with the herd only to be trampled by it. *Sigh* I’ve simply spent way too much of this precious life shaping and changing myself to meet other’s standards. It’s EXHAUSTING, ammirite? And literally impossible. And a direct one-way ticket losing yourself and saying helloOo to identity crisis and depression. I’m just so tired of living to people-please, aren’t you? YOLO! (Had to.) This one life is as delicate and fleeting as a spring flower 🌷 and far too sacred to allow it to become a moving projection of what other people think our lives should look like. Is that binge-eat-ice-cream-depressing or what? And who even are these people?
Reminds me. I studied music composition in college 🎹 and I was the only student in my program not to record anything because I was never satisfied with any of my songs. Why? Because I was in a panic about how they’d be received. Fast forward 15 years (yep) and I’ve still never fully completed a song. To type that makes me want to curl up into fetal position and stay there for a long, long time. But that’s the sad truth. I’ve written so may half-songs which I’ve never completed / shared for the same fear-driven reason. On that note, I spent years dying my strawberry hair 🍓 bleach blonde because I once overheard someone say that red hair was unattractive. And let’s not even talk about the orange-as-an-Oompa-Loompa fake tanning phase. 🥕 (All because, freckles? FRECKLES ARE AWESOME.) Anyway, the list goes on… What am I looking for approval for? A false sense of higher self-esteem acquired in vain? Does one person’s measly opinion of me mean more to me than my own dreams? More to me than being me? Of course, I’m not saying it’s a negative thing to always care what people think; its important to hold each other accountable where morals and professionalism are concerned. I’m just speaking in terms of others’ judgments or, really, our fear of people judging us… when the reality is that most of the time they’re probably not. So how can we stop running around in endless circles on this hampster wheel called: “Trying SO hard to control other’s opinions of me even though it’s literally out of my control, but still I run…”?
Well, if this ramble resonates with you, I have some advice (for us both). Wanna know the secret? BE CONFIDENT in yourself, in all of your decisions and actions. Ok, I hear you. If you aren’t naturally confident, choose to act as if you are! But I know I don’t have to tell you that that alone won’t work (that’d be like dieting without exercising or vice versa): Let *positive affirmations* be your daily / hourly mantras and breathe it into existence through your intention. It works! Read soul-nourishing books, connect with yourself through yoga, meditation or whatever is your preferred self-care routine. Positive self-talk does wonders (while negative self-talk does a crazy amount of damage and quickly). Here’s a fun challenge: Wear a tutu to work! Or maybe it’s something bright & sparkly. 👑 If you are clearly uncomfortable, people will target you because they sense your vulnerability; own it and you will be amazed at the amount of respect you will receive for daring to be bold. Hey, if Beyonce wore a tutu over her jeans it’d be trending the next day. You can slay! You just have to decide to! We have to realize that – believe it or not – THE. WORLD. DOESN’T. REVOLVE. AROUND. US. Being the highly sensitive woman I am, I tend to over-analyze everything (workin’ on it!) but we must remember that most people really don’t care or even notice nearly as much as we think. And, if they are judging us, there are reasons for it that have literally nothing to do with us (insecurities in their own lives projected onto ours).
So let’s accept and – more than that – freakin’ embrace who. we. are. 💖🙌 …and not who we think other people want us to be. IS the grass always greener? Really? Nope. Never. Let’s stop wishing we looked more like this and less like that, or had this or that. NEWSFLASH: These things won’t make you happy. I promise. If you think there’s something wrong with your already perfect self, well, sadly it’s the brain-washing and impossible standards set by our society that has led you to believe that lie. That is not Truth. Anyway, who wants to be “normal,” whatever that means? Umm boring! Your unique personality sets you apart. Rock it!! Be your wild, quirky self. You have a sparkling soul & something huge to offer this world… because you’re you! And there’s only one of you! No one else can offer this world the exact same gifts YOU alone have. We weren’t designed to be mindless clones (imagine that sad world) but to share our uniqueness. 🌈 So I encourage you – us! – to courageously veer away from the stampede and go down that glorious road less traveled my sweet friend. Wave the white flag and give up the meaningless war that you have the freedom to choose not to fight. Surrender is sweet. 🏳️
And please, let’s lift each other up in this battle & keep the conversation going! Comment below and share your story. Share your heart. Share transparently. 💛
Sending all the Love & Peace your way 🕊️
“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” ⛵
– John A. Shedd
Helpful resources: Books or Power Thought Cards by Louise Hay ✨
And a more blog-relevant side note: Are you looking forward to traveling again soon? Have you always dreamt of being able to work remotely from anywhere in the world with the freedom to have more spontaneous adventures? 🌍 Me too! …Then I found VIPKid! Teaching English online to adorable Chinese & Japanese students (from the comfort of my home) is honestly one of the best things that has ever happened to me. 💕 Please feel free to use my referral link and / or drop me a line in the virtual cafe to help you get started. Where will you be off to with this newfound flexibility? Bali? South Africa? Peru? Let the adventurous & oh-so-rewarding life of teaching English remotely begin!! ✈️💫