Let me start by saying that I am no psychologist, but I have certainly made a lot of observations over the years. Allow me to espouse my opinion about one of the causes of so many people’s misery:
YOU CARE TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK.
Seriously, think about this: Is there anyone who really knows you? I mean really, deep down, every single thought you have, every belief you operate under. The answer is no, only you have that depth of understanding of yourself. With that in mind, how can you give some much credence to a stranger or even a friend making a statement, a joke, or an insult about you? Their 30,000 foot view of you and your life is by no means a real measure or understanding of you as a whole, so why do you care what they think? You shouldn’t, and if you want to be free of all of that judgement and subsequent self-loathing, do this:
QUIT TAKING IT PERSONALLY
This is easier said than done, I get that. But the best way to get over some of the issues we all wrestle with in our own heads is to stop for a second, think about a couple of things before you take that comment, or slight against you, to heart:
1. Who said it – were they just trying to be funny and you’re being too sensitive? Are they just a jerk who says this kind of thing to others as well, maybe to make themselves feel better? As the old saying goes: there are two ways to have the biggest house in town, tear everyone else’s down, or focus on building up your own.
2. They said vs You heard – How often have you overheard someone say something to someone, and then the other person extract the one bad thing out of that statement to dwell on? Your own interpretation of things weighs heavily on what you take from someone else.
3. Do they know the whole story – Your whole story; like I said above, do they really know what the Hell they are talking about when they make a statement about you without knowing you deep down to the core? Doubtful.
If you remember back to high school and in particular maybe Biology or another similar class where you learned about our ancestors and how they operated in tribes or groups, this ingrained need to fit into a larger society was necessary for survival. Everyone in the tribe had to have a place in the circle, contribute to the greater good, and fit in. In our modern world, this deep seated anxiety has been amplified by differences in class, income, race, religion, and lots of other factors, all of which are out of someone’s control. Advertisers prey on this, ensuring you that if you had a better car, or drank the right beer, you would be so much more popular. It has lead to more and more excess spending, empty feelings, and isolation for no good reason.
If you want to see the darker, selfish, self-righteous lack of virtue mankind displays on a regular basis, please reference Sept, 10, 2001. If you walked around New York City on that day, people were “business as usual” in every sense of the New Yorker word. Cars honking horns and people yelling at other drivers, people bumping into one another on the crowded streets without so much as a word of apology or even a look up. Everyone was trying to keep to themselves, and get through their day, and make it to the weekend.
Now, fast forward one day, and see how different not just that city, but the entire world reacted. An airplane gets flown into the World Trade Center and suddenly every New Yorker became part of the same team; total strangers sacrificed their own lives in effort to save others, or helped someone run to safety. These are citizens, not the municipal employees like Police and Fire that I am talking about. It took a catastrophic event for the societal bullshit to be set aside, but it was a clear demonstration that we can still stand as one, and that the car you drive or who’s brand of shoes you are wearing don’t matter. This is an extreme example, I am aware, but my point is this, when the shit hits the fan, none of the crap you worry about matters. You’ll lose your own judgments of others, and vice versa. Why wait for a disaster to rise above? Why not employ that same mentality now?
If you really want to free your mind, to live a life above the petty bullshit having an affect on you, you’ll have to QTIP. You HAVE TO quit taking everything so personally. That person who cut you off in traffic didn’t get up this morning thinking he was going to seek you out on the freeway and swerve in front of you. Janie from Accounting didn’t plan to make a comment about your shoes before she ever got to the office. Some people only feel better about themselves when they make others feel bad. Its screwed up, I get it. But don’t play into it by believing it. They don’t know you, where you’ve been and where you are headed. Nobody does.
So step back, take a deep breath, and realize that the world is not out to get you, and that no one is accurately accessing your looks or abilities. We all have different preferences, strengths, weaknesses, and everyone is fighting a battle or two you are not aware of.