Confession: I Do Care What You Think of Me.

I always hear people say, “I don’t care what other people think of me.” I never fully believe them, but nonetheless, I admire their attitude. I, unfortunately, am very aware of what people think of me. I tell myself that it’s fine, that I’m simply a people pleaser. It’s never gotten me into much trouble. But I'm so concious of what people think that I tend to place opinions on myself that other people don’t actually hold. And lately my opinion of myself has gotten so unimpressive that I’ve decided to call myself out on it, and I'm calling out anyone reading this who’s dealing with the same stress!

The idea of someone not liking me makes me physically sick to my stomach. Even if I don’t like a person, I want to do everything I can to make them like me. Ex-boyfriends, friends of friends, mean girls, strangers; I want everyone’s approval. It’s led me to make some not so awesome choices.

First of all, I’ve indirectly hurt people in my life that I never meant to. In my last relationship my boyfriend was very uncomfortable with me talking to the boy I dated before him. But instead of just respecting that, I continued to be friends with my ex because I didn’t like the thought that he might stop liking me. I’m not even talking about “like-liking” me; I was just worried he’d stop considering me a likeable human being if I stopped talking to him. Plus, I was worried that his friends (whom I don’t even know very well) would think less of me, and I mean, what if his family decided I wasn’t worth liking? But then, I was of course, worried about my new boyfriend liking me too. So I did everything I thought would make him, his friends, and his family like me. I was trying to be two different people for two very different groups of people. I had to please everyone. And it didn’t work. I ended up making stupid decisions to please one person, and then apologizing over and over again to the person I’d hurt.

Secondly, from that debacle, I ruined what could have been really great friendships. And now I think that related, but uninvolved, parties are judging me all the time. Little things drive me absolutely insane. And I spend hours obsessing. Why didn’t he like my facebook post? He deleted me from Instagram, so he hates me; she didn’t watch my snapchat story – she probably thinks I’m slutty; she doesn’t invite me to hang out anymore because she thinks I’m stupid; I’m too ugly to hang out with them; he keeps talking to her because he likes her family more than mine – plus he thinks she’s nicer; are all literal thoughts I’ve stressed over. And they’re not just thoughts from that specific event. These thoughts are all too common to me.

I worry about what old roommates think of me, when they don’t text me back. I stress that my classmates think I’m stupid because I don’t talk enough in class. I compare myself to everyone around me and I usually come up short. I’m aware that I’m sounding paranoid and insecure – but I kind of am. I can put on a confident façade and make it through the day. I’m just saying that things are always in the back of my mind, and it sucks.

So, I’ve decided it needs to stop. It’ll be hard, I have no doubt. I really hate making enemies, and I truly do want people to like me. But I make my life worse by caring so much. I need to make myself stop caring about what people think of me. People will always have their opinions and unfortunately I can’t persuade everyone to like me.

This new attitude may be slightly easier for me because I’ve realized something – rather ground-breaking in my opinion. It came from a professor of mine  who was lecturing one day, I can’t remember what about, but at one point he said, “What are the consequences of making life all about you?”  I couldn’t help but ruminate over that. And I’ve discovered that making life all about me is really stressful and hurtful. I’ve finally realized that people don’t care about me as much as I think they do.  I have to stop thinking that other people spend their precious time judging me. I hope that if you’re reading this and have ever felt insecure in the same way, that you realize you will always make one person happy, and one person sad. That there will always be someone better than you, but also someone worse. But mostly I hope you can learn to realize that what other people think of you, if they even are thinking about you, is none of your business.