As I set down to self-reflect today, i have concluded something about myself.
I worry way too damn much about what other people think of me, and it affects my life more than I have ever realized. Worrying about others opinions takes away from who I truly am, what I believe in and what I enjoy. How do you ask? Let me explain.
There have been times in my life when I have become very passionate about something – whether it be volunteering at an animal shelter, taking a class, or just something as simple as a new outfit I bought or new furniture whatever it may have been I for some reason found myself over the moon in excitement. So naturally, I go to tell someone about this new and exciting discovery; but when I share my excitement, my audience does not share the enthusiasm. In fact, they roll their eyes and completely ignore that I’ve said anything at all. Now, instead of feeling excited, i’m feeling stupid. I feel as though since this audience looked at me like I was crazy- maybe I am. So from now on, if I find that something so small makes me happy – I should just keep it to myself and pretend that it’s just another day.
I also have this “I care too much” problem when it comes to being a parent. You see I am a single mother, I don’t have anyone to discuss decisions with when it comes to my children, and I find that a lot of times it would be helpful to have that second party opinion. In the back of my head, I also know that the only reason I think this is because I doubt my ability and worry what other people are going to think about the conclusion.
There are many other fears I have when it comes to the way other people may see me. Want a list?
– I fear that some clothes I wear make people look at me and think “she’s too fat to wear that” even if the out fit is simply a tank top and workout pants.
– When I’m eating in public, I fear that people watch me and think “she must be such a pig.”
– I am afraid my family and friends think I’m a screw up because I’m single and have two kids.
– I think people label me like a slut because I have two kids.
– I worry people at the grocery store think I’m an awful mother when my two-year-old is having a melt down because she can’t have everything she wants.
– I also fear that no matter what I do it’s never going to be good enough for certain people.
These are all just a piece of things I find myself thinking every single day. I’m constantly in worry that I’ll never be accepted and all I want to do is “fit in.” I want people to look at me and say “she’s beautiful.” I want people to see how I love my kids and say ” she’s such a great mom.” However, the truth is – I don’t know that they aren’t saying these things. I only “think” I know what people think or say about me.
It’s not other people that are making me so self-conscious, it’s my mind.
After thinking of all the things, I fear when it comes to other peoples opinions I turned to google. Google has convinced me that I am an “approval addict.” Is being an approval addict as bad as being a drug addict? Possibly so.
Being a drug addict changes who you are, it changes how you think, act, and live and all in a negative fashion. Well, what does being an approval addict do? It changes who you are. Instead of living freely you’re walking a straight line and making sure that everything you do is worthy of others approval. You’re spending tons of money on the top brands even though the cheaper brands may make you more comfortable or even satisfy your tastes more. You’re missing out on things that make you happy, because someone else may tell you that it’s weird or less than acceptable. You’re making decisions based on what other people want rather than what you want. In short if your an approval addict you’re not living your life – your living the life others approve for you to have.
Here are some fun facts to remember when your anxiety is on a high worried about what all these other people may or may not think about you.
1. You have no control over what other people think about you.
It’s true; you have no control over what someone else thinks about you. You can do everything right, be kind and bend over backward for people and in the end, they may still think less of you. It isn’t your fault- it’s not even a reflection of you. It’s only their mind making up anything it wants to put their label on your forehead, and this is all they are going to see. You can spend your days dwelling over their label, or you can move on to bigger and better things.
2. It’s none of your business what others think of you.
I know, this one a hard concept to grasp. I mean it’s about you so shouldn’t you be entitled to know? No, you aren’t. An opinion belongs to the person who has it. They are not required to share what they think about you any more than they are required to cook you dinner every night. That’s just how it is. Your opinion of yourself is the only opinion you’re entitled to know- it’s also the only one that should matter!
So how do you being weaning off your approval addiction?
Just like any addiction, it’s not going to be easy, and it’s certainly not going to happen quickly. You have to learn how to control your thoughts and anxiety. Start by looking in the mirror and telling the person looking back at you that they are beautiful and worthy. Don’t stare at your flaws, your extra tummy flub, your jiggly arms, your stretch marks or any other “imperfect” body part. Look into your own eyes and see the person that you truly are.
Now, every time you’re out and start to feel that sense of “what are thinking about me” Remember who you saw in the mirror and dance around like the princess (or prince) you are!.