Just for a moment I would like you to think about how often, today, you have done something – or not done something – which was driven by the fear of what others may think of you. First of all, I had trouble understanding that. Second, I am strong enough to not be fearful of what others think of me, thank you very much. Ok… let me rephrase that then, sassy pants. Tell me of a moment where you have been slightly concerned with how someone perceives you if you did something in a particular way or did not do something? Again, most of what I did today has got nothing to do with me being concerned with other people’s perception. I do me. So you didn’t Snapchat or post a picture on Instagram of your holiday last year, “throwing it back”? I assume you performed all your tasks today within the realms of the “norm” (and of course the legal constraints). And so you didn’t sing that one song aloud on the train, that has been on your mind for a while, or text that guy/girl you like on a date. You also probably had that “small-talk” conversation, as to be polite with a colleague or friend instead of feeling awkward with the potential silence.
This is absolutely ridiculous! Are you about to write a whole article telling me I shouldn’t take selfies or brush my hair in the morning. Because, Sunshine, you can get on your bike and ride along if that is something you’re about to preach.
Haha, I had a lot of fun writing this. So let me clarify. NO! This is definitely not my intention. My intention is not to stop you taking selfies or to get you to stop asking 50 year old Linda at work how her weekend was. Please don’t stop talking to Linda, what did she do to you? She’s so sweet. I will always advocate the “you do you” attitude. Meaning you conduct yourself the way you wish. So, if you want to small talk with Lindz, then don’t let anyone stop you. Least of all me. Heck, I’ll join in with the conversation too. Yeah, Linda is awesome, we get it. Move on. Of course, maintaining some sort of moral and legal code in what you do is also very important. I am not saying, go out and do WHATEVER you wish. So, for the remainder of this piece, lets ignore the illegalities and unethical behaviours. And let’s assume we are all moral and just, and nice human beings. If you have criminal tendencies, then go away and… I don’t know… report yourself.
My intention, however, is to make you realise that you are more concerned about what others think of you than you are willing to admit. In fact most of you aren’t even aware of it. You’re not even aware that you’re bound by the cages of foreign thoughts. But, hey! This is not necessarily a bad thing, just as long as you embrace those habits that are justifiable and ditch any that make you overly dependent on the approval of others. I think most people, truthfully can find at least one thing they did/didn’t do today which was fuelled by the fear of exterior perceptions.
I admit that I am definitely one who was (and sometimes still am) reliant on the views that others have of me. It is a shame because I feel it holds me back from the person I want to become. However, I am definitely one to push boundaries and do things outside of the norm, and outside of ordinary comfort zones. I’ll be the loudest singer on the tube (not the best, obviously). I’ll be open to going up on stage and dancing as bad as your dad and not feel overly embarrassed (if at all). But I still get caught up in what my friends think of me. I would feel that I could not maintain a level of popularity if I did not do certain things or didn’t behave in a certain way. Living your life like this can be toxic and can really hold you back.
It is still an ongoing process for me, but I am making a conscious effort to be more aware of instances of self doubt and the need I enforce on myself to obtain other people’s approval (even if it is on a subconscious level). In doing so, I am re-evaluating what I consider normal. I am re-considering those things that I would have ordinarily done because I wanted it to be reflected well on me. I am establishing those routines I can eliminate so that I can focus more on myself and what I actually like or want to do.
Ok, all sounds a bit wishy washy, again mate. A bit like that last one about you having feminine qualities or something about best friends. However, I do get what you’re saying, but how does this relate to me and what are your suggestions?
Good question. Well like I said, I am not saying you should completely focus on yourself and ignore what others think of you. You should always be trying to impress your mother and you should continue to make your friends laugh etc. After all, let’s be practical, we all have or will have jobs at some point so you really must consider how you present yourself in front of your peers. But just be more alert of those things that are irrationally holding you back. What Phillipa thinks as she walks past you doing a handstand in the middle of the city centre has no impact on your life, especially if she is a random lady. The point is to truly and consciously focus more on yourself and not the approval of others. And realise that it is so easy to fall into the traps of people’s perceptions, so much so that you don’t even realise it’s happened.
So, homework. At the end of each day, I want you to identify one thing you did or held back on doing because of what your colleagues, friends or randomers may think of you. Do this for 30 days, and try to find new things each day. Attempt also to stop or do some of those things (that would be appropriate) as part of overcoming those fears. Then you’ll find yourself slowly opening outwards and finding that inner confidence and self assurance I know we all have.
Trust. You’ll feel better about yourself at the end of it.
Upon reflection, I did sit in a cubicle in our toilets at work, today, and flushed right before my poop hit the bowl. Just so it would mask the sound it would make and people outside the cubicles weren’t weirded out by it. But, how irrational is that?! People go in the cubicle toilets to do their number twos all the time, so why should I be so scared of making them sounds? It is a little suspect if it didn’t make a sound to be honest. Shit… next time I’m in there I’m gonna allow the flush (until the end, obvs)! Heck, I’m also going to grunt, just for added effect! Because I don’t care what people think of me! After all, who am I tryna impress in the toilets?!
Amen, brother. A-flipping-men…
… but maybe don’t grunt at work.