I am very guilty of caring too much about what others think of me. More than guilty. And I think you can relate. This drives me crazy. It makes me feel so confined and cautious. I hate it.
I care too much about how other people think I act. I care too much about how other people think of what I enjoy. Or what I like to do. My preferences in things. How I talk. My opinion. My viewpoints on serious issues. Saying no. Did I hurt their feelings? How I am when I am drunk – that is the worse the morning after. Did I say everything right in a conversation? Or giving my answer in class? Talking in front of a group of people? What are they thinking of me? What will people think of me if I do this? If I take on this new opportunity? Or try something new? This is scary as hell.
I have no control. It’s like my care of how others perceive me controls me. It controls my actions. It controls my personality. It controls my brain. It controls my life. It completely takes over.
The list is endless. I care too much about what others think of me in every aspect of my life. And it is on a constant loop in my head. I am walking on thin ice trying to please everyone, trying to get everyone to like me, constantly living for the approval of others and not myself.
This isn’t healthy. It’s a habit but it feels so unbreakable. Why do I care so much? How do I make it stop? It’s insecurity. It’s mental illness. It’s fragility. But is it my personality? I don’t think so.
Even if I have a simple conversation with someone, I always think after if I said everything right. Did that conversation go well? What could I have said or done differently to make them think better of me? Do they think I am weird? Even if the conversation was a simple hi, hello, how are you. How screwed up is this?
I then proceed to play the conversation on a loop over and over again until I finally feel satisfied that it went well. It could take a whole 2 hours or 3 days to become satisfied over one conversation. And it sucks because it’s not like how ever many times you play the conversation over or even if you don’t play it over at all, that person’s viewpoints of you will still be the same. Your thoughts won’t change their viewpoints. It doesn’t matter so why do we do it? Why do we care so much?
I can’t even have an argument with someone because I don’t want to disagree with them. Even if it is a friendly debate, I feel like I have to agree with the person so they don’t think of my wrongly or differently. Or maybe they will dislike me because of it.
I constantly feel like I have to say yes to people. That saying no will hurt them. Even if it is – do you want to talk on the phone tonight? Why can’t I just be like no, I am not feeling it tonight. But instead, I say sure over and over again.
I am a good person too. I know that. I have a kind soul and would do nothing ever to hurt anyone unless they really hurt me. I am very respectful. And I know people like me. People do think I am a generous person. Kind, respectful, loyal. So why do I go so far out of my way to care so much what others think of me?
The thing is people would never know this. They would never know that I do care too much. They think I am confident, my own self, and that I take my own course of thought and action that benefits me. Meanwhile, it is the exact opposite. I take my own course of thought and action that benefits others. To try to get them to like me. To approve of me. To have a mutual companionship that they control and I abide to.
The worst is that I have no problem with other people disagreeing with me. I have no problem with others being completely honest with me, rejecting me, speaking their mind. And I don’t think twice about it. I just think oh they’re living their life, being themselves truthfully. Good for them.
So why is it so hard for me to do this?
I feel trapped. I feel suffocated. I know I am not being my full self and not living my life truthfully when I do this – when I care too much. Because I am constantly living for others. I have so much potential but I am living my life so narrowly, walking on a simple path with no room to explore, to take risks, to reach my potential, to be me.
I sometimes spend days after a night out of having fun drinking and such thinking about every little thing I said or did to everyone that night. Was I a fool? Did I say something out of line? Do these people think I am a train wreck, annoying, a lost cause? Is it because I didn’t have full control over myself from the alcohol that now not only do I not remember every little detail, but I know I was more outgoing than usual.
I didn’t have a full grip on my own words and actions like I usually do and that is scary. And so I spend days on days thinking about it. But why? Unless someone else there does this same thing I do (caring too much) which is a possibility, but also a strong possibility that no one is doing this but me. No one is doing this, not two days after nor not even when they got home that night. But I have too.
So not only does this drive me insane but I lose time. Time lost because I am thinking too much of what others think of me. Lost time caring too much. This time could be going towards far more beneficial things if I could just stop.
What can I do? I will make a list and share it with you all sometime soon. Tips on how to try to overcome this. Or at least subsidize the severity of it. Because truth is, it is very unhealthy. It can lead to a whole life of insecurity. Insecurity about nothing – just being ourselves and speaking our mind. Yet this is so hard.
I tell myself this over and over again when I start to care too much or think too much – and that is that no one actually cares. No one is thinking about you in a moment. It’s very rare. No one is thinking of you right after a conversation. Or what you did last night. Or some attribute about you. Or what you like. Or what your opinion is on something. No one is thinking about YOU. People have their own lives and they don’t want to spend them thinking about you when they would rather think about themselves.
But how do I drill this into my head so that I can stop?
In fact, I found a cool fact. A study done by the National Science Foundation state that people on average have around 50,000 plus thoughts a day. Um okay? That’s a lot right. Seems false though, but probably true when you think about it. Because anything is a thought. Literally anything that comes to mind is a thought. You might have had 200 thoughts just reading this article. Any little snippet your mind comes to is a thought. So even if people thought of you 100 times a day, that is only about 0.2% of their daily thoughts. And realistically, who thinks about you 100 times a day? Definitely not someone you barely know nor your friend.
Anyways, I really liked this video. I found it helpful and think you can benefit from it if you are struggling with this.
And if you are struggling mentally, then I made a nice list of 20 tips on how to deal with depression and anxiety I think you will appreciate.