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How much should you care what others think of you?

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We all have two faces. One is our true authentic self, known only to you and your inner circle. The other is for the outside world which is the outcome of our worldview. They together form a wholesome balanced individual. Sometimes the balance goes for a toss and that is when the mayhem begins. When the inner and outer worlds are at war we begin to lose sight of our abilities, potential, strengths and everything becomes clouded. We get further and further away from our true self and let others take over our identity and define us as per their own perspectives.

In my twenties, I thought I was making the smartest decisions. I lived and trodded on different paths with reckless abandon. Meh! I will figure it out. I really didn’t care what people thought of me. At one point, there was so much talk behind my back that I reached the pinnacle of giving a damn. I was never the crowd pleaser or tried to be fake – failed miserably even when I tried. I was a silent introvert, observed everyone, choosing my inner circle carefully. Not that people were dying to get in but I cared two hoots what they wanted. I don’t think I didn’t care out of bravery or because I was supremely confident. I just gave up. I blocked them out before they could reject me I rejected them.

People did not have the time to judge me for what kind of a person I was from within. From the outside, they saw an individual who was quiet, arrogant and had a devil may care attitude. Who would want to be friends with someone like that? My vibe shouted – “STAY AWAY”. I acted as if they owed it to me to prove themselves worthy of my friendship. My strategy cost me. I didn’t succeed very much in being well liked socially or winning over people at work.

It took me many years to understand that this is not how the world works. Social skills are tolerating people you don’t like in a tactful way. It means investing something to get the desired response. The way I turned out was a result of a few incidents which occurred in my formative years. I was subject to nasty rumors which haunted me for years to the point of not being able to even leave my house– but who cares about that? Everyone has a story and you can’t expect people to understand that from the get-go.

All my life I wished people knew my story before labeling me but the irony was – I did the exact same thing to others. This got me thinking – “Why are we so addicted to the opinion of others?” I am not saying you shouldn’t care. Yes, you should but only to a certain point. There are certain experiences that only you undergo or a very few select will people understand. Expecting people to understand your story and hating them for not isn’t really fair. A majority of people don’t care or enjoy misunderstanding you.

I almost cringe and it breaks my heart when I hear stories of people staying in abusive unhappy relationships for years, who tirelessly work in a job which sucks the happiness right out of them or being covered head to toe in layers and layers or clothes so that they are not body shamed, not going out and meeting people because they are recently divorced, or hanging out with different men and women openly or may be suffering from an illness quietly out of fear of what others think. I am sure most of us would take different decisions if we didn’t live in the world we do now. We would be more fulfilled and happy in our lives if people didn’t care so much about what we do and we didn’t care much of what they thought of us. 

No matter how much you or I dislike people for being judgemental about these things – it will always exist. The worse aspect of this is – that it will affect you, your life and the people in it. People yearn to believe bad things about others. Have you noticed people believe bad things sooner than the good things? Even if they come to believe the good things they question it silently. Why are people so eager to believe negative aspects about people? Why is it so appealing and entertaining to see the downfall of someone?

It is unfair. I am not a saint and neither are you. We all have been there at some point. Sometimes at the receiving end – sometimes at the giving end. I learned my lesson many years ago and have given it my best shot to not be so judgemental, not believe in idle gossip and to give people a second maybe even a third chance. I realized I need to care what people think only up to a healthy amount. I ask myself if my conscience is clear and let my loved ones serve as a mirror to my behavior and actions. Although beyond a point I honestly do not let it get to me. My world is my family and friends and they know the real me and that’s all that matters. It is almost impossible to win over everyone or expect them to be fair to you. Also, at times people don’t care as much as we think they do. We build our own notions because we have our own insecurities and fears.

All you can do is not be that person. If every person thinks this way then maybe the world will be a less judgemental place. Social media is proof of how much we live off the approval and validation of others. Doesn’t every like or comment make you feel accepted and liked? If only we did even half of that in real life the world will be a better place.

You need to set a boundary for yourself – how much will you care what others think of you? How many of those people are going to spend even a minute helping or standing by you in difficult times? Should you be even giving this much importance to people who judge you based on how little they know the real you? We pressurize ourselves by societal norms so much that we sometimes end up taking unhealthy decisions which have long-term effects. 

Caring too much about what others think is like someone else trying on clothes for you and judging whether they look good or bad on you. Wherein, in reality, you know your body type best and the others who tried it have different body types of their own, so how could they possibly decide what is best for you?

What is right for you may be completely wrong for others. Things may look good on the outside but what is the point if you are unhappy and broken from within? How is it worth going through all this for people you probably don’t even deeply care about? Your loved ones will always support or encourage you to be happy even though it may be controversial for the outside world. Do what is best for you as you will be stuck with the outcome for the rest of your life – not them. 

We all want to be liked and accepted by the society we live in. The only real way one can do that is actually be a genuinely good person. Trust me people change their opinions as often as they change clothes every day. Putting up a fake front won’t take you far. Being a real, warm, caring and nonjudgmental person will win you true, meaningful and genuine relationships in life. These handful few relationships will be priceless compared to the hundreds or thousands you want to impress superficially. Speak your mind, don’t be afraid to take actions you know will make you happy and don’t base them solely on the approval of others. Rejection hurts but sometimes it is the best thing to happen to us. It propels you into something bigger and better.

The only things you should care about – Your happiness, unconditional support of your loved ones and trying to be a good person. Don’t let others define you. Your life is a collection of decisions you make and let them be only yours.

Chin up,

Keep Smiling,

Love,

Anu

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Are you getting the respect you deserve? 12 signs you are being Disrespected!

Does RESPECT mean just being decorated with honorary titles, bowing your head, following the norms, worshipping someone or agreeing to everything someone says because you respect them or they respect you? I feel the word ‘RESPECT’ is extensively abused and the most mechanically applied emotion. People say “I respect you!” at the drop of a hat or expect to be respected without earning it. 

Most often there are signs of disrespect all over the place. Few are glaringly obvious while some are subtle, masked in manipulative behaviors. The subtle signs are difficult to recognize but have a slow and lasting effect. There is a huge difference between fearing and respecting an individual. Fear can be easily instilled but not respect. People often confuse fear for respect although they are as different as chalk and cheese.

12 SIGNS YOU ARE BEING DISRESPECTED! Continue reading “Are you getting the respect you deserve? 12 signs you are being Disrespected!”

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An Ounce of Gratitude is worth a Million Benefits!

GRATITUDE – is the quality of being thankful and appreciating everything we have in life. It is to be kind, selfless and humble and not treat it like a debt which must be returned. It is being just plain thankful for what is and what will be without any expectations.

It takes a ‘Nano-Second’ for us to crib and feel disappointed about unexpected situations and results. How swiftly we forget all the blessings we have in life and immediately focus on what we don’t have. We always find something to complain about and if there is nothing to complain about we complain about that too. Being grateful is not just a behavioral trait but it also has a paramount influence on every area of your life be it your relationships, career, the people you attract and your health. A healthy mind state makes your bodily functions run smoother and more effectively.

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. And he says that “The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,”

“It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders, and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide.” “Gratitude blocks toxic emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret and depression, which can destroy our happiness.” Emmons said.
Continue reading “An Ounce of Gratitude is worth a Million Benefits!”

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Diary of Single Women! Thank You – Not! You Judgmental Bunch !

I think after being a single woman for a while, I am amused, surprised, annoyed, exasperated and very motivated to finally write about this! What am I talking about? I am talking about the way the world perceives us ‘SINGLE WOMEN’. This is not some feminist article or me shouting from the rooftops about equal rights for women. This is about plain practical common sense.

I met a friend of a close relative lately. He must be twice my age. He was being friendly and cracking harmless jokes. He seemed like a decent old guy. I was polite, smiled, answered his questions and that’s all! That truly all it was from my end! I forgot about the entire conversation and moved on with my life.  I think I would have a better memory of an ant crawling on the floor than about the conversation with him. A few days later he started texting and asking me out, commenting on my pictures and automatically assumed I gave him ‘Those Signals’ and that I am attracted to him physically. Whereas I just had a normal respectful conversation with someone who I thought was elder to me. It just blew my mind! What kind of demented antenna did he have to receive such absurd signals?! I wish I could share his picture with you guys so that you could see how bizarre his assumption of just this one conversation was! Continue reading “Diary of Single Women! Thank You – Not! You Judgmental Bunch !”

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Heard a rumor about yourself which made your blood boil? Find out how to deal with Rumors!!

If you have ever been subject to nasty rumors, you would know that they are more than just a juicy piece of gossip. There is a huge difference between rumors and gossip. Rumors can be extremely damaging to a person’s mental and emotional well-being. Gossip is just entertaining news, often not intended to cause serious harm. I was subjected to very nasty rumors all throughout high school. It started off as idle gossip which snowballed into a major web of lies, with exaggerated details, gory descriptions of imaginary situations which just turned into an ugly mess.

I was way too young and immature to even understand what hit me. I have never spoken about this before except to my near and dear ones. After a point, it just became impossible for me to go and clarify it to everyone. It just spread like wildfire. It altered my personality and haunted me for the longest time. It affected my confidence and I kept my interaction limited to a very few people. Whoever I spoke to or wherever I went, I felt they all knew about the lies spread about me and are judging me away to glory even though they probably weren’t even thinking about it. I could not enter a room with my head held high without the fear of being scrutinized. Fortunately, I found rock solid support in my family and friends and that pulled me through. Continue reading “Heard a rumor about yourself which made your blood boil? Find out how to deal with Rumors!!”

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