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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt an almost paralyzing fear of being judged by people and this has held me back from doing things that I’ve always dreamed of. What’s worse is that it doesn’t make sense to me as to why I’m spending so much time worrying about other people’s opinions rather than focusing on my own. I know it’s normal to care about what people think, to an extent, but the amount that I care about has always felt excessive. I overanalyze everything that I do before I do it to make sure that I fit in and to minimize the judgment I can imagine feeling from other people. Honestly, I’m so over it.

Realistically, I know that people don’t actually care that much about what I do, but that doesn’t stop these thoughts from seeming like a huge deal in my head. I’m truly tired of it being such a big issue in my life because genuinely, life just isn’t that serious. I shouldn’t be wasting so much time and energy worrying about how my actions might be judged by other people, especially since the people I spend so much time worrying about aren’t even people that I am close with; they’re acquaintances and random strangers. That’s what makes this so frustrating for me! I don’t even know these people well enough to care about what they think, so why do I?

It seems so silly now, but the most memorable example I have is from elementary school and I remember feeling so consumed by it. I was too scared to develop my own taste in music out of fear that people wouldn’t like it or worse, that they would think I was ‘weird.’ So, anytime someone would ask me about music, I’d end up spitting out an answer about how I don’t really listen to music or that I listen to all kinds of music just to avoid potential criticism over things that I like. It seems crazy to look back on now because I’m always listening to music and have since developed my own music taste. I know that not everyone will have the same taste as me and that’s okay because it’s just a personal preference. But it makes me sad to remember how scared I used to be over something that I don’t even think twice about now. This is just a past example, but I know that there are many things now that I feel this way about. Regardless, I don’t want to feel this way anymore, so this is me trying to get over it.

Going forward, I want to change the narrative. As hard as it may feel, I’m not going to let these anxious thoughts stop me from doing what I want to. I’m going to start doing the things that I want to do simply because I enjoy them. I’m especially going to start doing the things that I’ve dreamed of doing for the younger me who felt like she couldn’t. I can never make everyone happy with what I do, so I should at least be making myself happy. I know that the people I care about and those who matter most to me will always support me in what I do. So, those people are going to be the opinions that I focus on rather than the potential negative opinions from people who aren’t even important to me.

Jennifer Gibson

Wilfrid Laurier '25

Jennifer is a third year Business student, minoring in Psychology, at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her career goals are to pursue anything that is in a creative field. She loves reading, dancing and hanging out with her friends.