What will they think?

Worried about what other people think about you? Constantly obsessed about how your every action will be judged? Do you second and third guess what you want to wear, say, or do, afraid that someone will decide you are lesser than them?

Don’t be.

Here’s the sad part.

You don’t have to worry about what other people are thinking about you because they aren’t thinking about you. At all. They are too worried about themselves, and what others think about them. They don’t have time to even notice you and what you are doing.

Being paranoid about what other people think is the worst form of narcissism. It assumes they care about you. They don’t even notice you.

This may sound mean and dismissive, but that is narcissism rearing its ugly head again. It isn’t about you at all. So go on, living your life free of worry about what other people think.

In the rare case that someone does say something negative about you, think of it this way – they noticed you. So instead of being an attack, it is an affirmation. You affected them. In the big picture, it is a complement to be noticed.

Plus, they are most likely jealous of how unique and special you are. They wish they had the chutzpah you do to stand out and do their own thing.

People who try to knock you down often do it because you simply aren’t them. If you aren’t doing things their way, they think that either you, or they, are wrong. This is a dilemma for them, because it is important for their choices to be right. They will then decide that this means you must be wrong in order to keep their pride intact.

What they don’t get is that you both can be right. Your way, different from their way, is valid for you, and their way is valid for them. Neither one is wrong.

Seeing people as trees.

I once read a story about a man who had decided to compare people to trees. When he walked into a forest, he saw different trees – some tall and strong, and some bent or stunted. The stunted ones had suffered – their light had been blocked by the bigger trees, or they had grown up in poor soil with not enough nutrients. He realized that the smaller trees were that way because of their environment.

When he went among a crowd of people, he started to see them the same way – some had better upbringings than others and were stronger. He decided to have compassion on the smaller trees and the weaker people in the same way.

Now, this doesn’t mean that it is his responsibility to “fix” the trees or the people. It isn’t his job to cut down a larger, nearby tree to get more light to the smaller tree. Likewise, if you encounter someone who is stunted emotionally – because their caregiver abused or neglected them for instance, have compassion for them.

This also doesn’t mean you have to try to fix them. That is the route of codependency, and steals a person’s power from them. Each person has the responsibility of their own live to take care of. We are each to help each other, certainly, but we are not to take away power from someone by doing everything for them. That will stunt their growth even more.