Do you remember that thing that someone said to you that really hurt your feelings? I’m sure multiple things have popped right into your head. Honestly, I’m an extremely sensitive person. I feel deeply and I find it hard to downplay my emotions. I’ve been hurt, like I’m sure most of you have, many, many, many times. As a people pleaser and a somewhat perfectionist, rejection has always been something I have struggled with. I’ve looked for validation in the approval of others whether it’s about an outfit, a grade, or even a romantic interest; it seems other people’s opinions have always shaped my own.
I’ve learned through my time in college, criticism is inevitable, and therefore it’s vital to learn how to cope with it in order to have the most elevated experience possible. While I still consider myself a very sensitive and emotional person, I no longer feel restrained because of these traits. Instead I’ve decided to only feel deeply in regards to the things I can control, not the things I can’t. Here are a few things that shifted my mindset to make me realize that things are really just not that deep:
1. I Started thinking highly of myself
When I began to realize that I wanted to stop caring so much of what people thought of me I started to question the root cause of my consistent need for validation. Why do I care so much about the opinion of someone who doesn’t even know the real me? They don’t know my intelligence, my kindness, my dreams and aspirations. They don’t know my work ethic and deep care for others. How can they accurately judge me without knowing every thought and trait that makes up the true person that I am? Spoiler Alert: they can’t. The only person who knows how considerate, genuine, and unique I am, is me. I know all of the qualities that make me a great person. I know all the things that qualify me for that internship, or make me a perfect fit for that club leadership position. I know every single factor that makes me an amazing friend or a loving partner. So if I know all of these things, why would I look to someone who barely knows a quarter of who I truly am for the validation that only I can give myself?
2. things are never that serious
Every single rejection I received felt like the end of the world. Like nothing was ever going to make it better, and I’d never fully recover. However, each time I recovered and usually in only a short matter of time. When I started putting things into perspective, I realized that even though it may seem like a big deal, or like a lot was riding on this specific thing, the sun ultimately did rise again. No matter if I liked it or not, I had to wake up the next morning and go to class, instead of sulking and pitying myself. I was happy and content before this particular event occurred and I will be happy and content after it. What makes that internship the only internship in the world that I could get accepted to? What makes that grade the only grade that matters in the course of graduating? What makes that rude comment about my appearance true? The world keeps spinning, and you keep going despite the sadness and defeat, and although it may suck for a few days and hard to keep off your mind, the good things would never feel as good without having to conquer the bad things.
3. Nobody is thinking about me
I consider myself a very humble person. In fact, I’ve struggled a lot with insecurity. But I find it so hilariously ironic, how no matter the situation, small or large, I always used to feel that all eyes were on me. That every mistake, slip-up, rejection, and failure was being monitored by every eye surrounding me. I felt like after I messed up my class presentation, or was ghosted by someone I really liked, that every single person in the world knew and were whispering about it behind me and thinking about it as much as I was. How completely astounding it was for me to discover that in the grand scheme of things, no one was even thinking of me at all. Everyone has their own things and issues that they’re playing over and over in their heads. No one cared when I butchered one job interview question and they weren’t thinking about it for hours, let alone days afterward. When I’m scared that I look too inexperienced in the gym and I’m going to stand out, there is usually never a soul even looking in my direction. They’re all probably thinking the same things about themselves. While it is so important to be confident, it’s equally important to know that I am not the only person in every room I walk in.
4. I don’t want what doesn’t want me
A concept I’ve struggled with for so long is wanting what is unavailable. I don’t know if it’s my innate nature to gravitate towards things that seem out of reach or unattainable to prove something to myself or if I just simply want to be consistently admired and accepted by all. I have found it very difficult in the past to dismiss the things or people that consistently show that they do not want me and accept the ones who clearly do. After ending up hurt and rejected by these things over and over again I have finally started to understand that it isn’t my job to make someone want me in their life, job, or inner circle. It is not my job to be the person someone wants me to be, and it is not my place to feel hurt if they don’t accept me because I’m not. I do not have to gain the attention and admiration of someone who does not see me for who I am, which is an intelligent, kind, and loyal individual. There are people who aren’t going to consider me in different areas of life, and the hard truth is that I am not for everyone. But the good news is that there is an abundance of people who do see me and show their intentions clearly from the start. I do not have to do everything I can to be seen by the right people. The right people will take me as I am.
5. they’re probably projecting
If I’ve learned anything about college students, boys and girls (mostly boys), people are mean. It sucks when someone makes a comment about you that makes you feel insecure or a rude joke that just doesn’t feel right. It really sucks when someone manipulates, bread-crumbs, or gaslights you when all you’ve been is your true, genuine self. And the hard but real truth is that not everyone is you, and therefore people aren’t going to always treat you the way you treat them. Psychology Today says that most people are projecting their insecurities as a defense mechanism. I have had a lot of issues in the past with questioning my self worth because another person couldn’t see it, when in reality it is never truly been about me. I have no clue what is going on inside another person’s head. I don’t know what they’re struggling with and how hard it has been for them to overcome it. It’s naïve for me to assume it is only about me when it is probably more to do with the issues they need to address within themselves. I like to believe that if all I did was be my complete, kind, and genuine self and I still got hurt, then I hope they truly heal from the things going on in their own life.