The other day I was at the pub (one of the biggest joys of living in England) and I was sat next to a guy who I met while at university. At some point he stands up to go and talk with someone else, but before going away he tells me that I should have not felt like he was going away because I bored him or he did not like me, it was just because he had not seen the other person in a while.
I reassured him that nothing of the sort came up into my mind. But, how did he came to the conclusion that I could feel like this if I did not even give any sing of being offended by his actions?
I know how he did come to that conclusion, because I have been like this for many years. With “like this” I mean thinking about what other people could possibly think of me.
I would obsess about it, sometimes thinking about my actions and fearing that the others would think badly of me becasue of them. The result was that while with other people I was always worrying about my words and my actions, so much that I was not living the present and I resulted as if I was detached from the situations.
I was being like this because I did not value myself enough. I thought my worth lied in what other people thought of me, so I needed to be hyper aware of how I could come across.
The result was that I came across as a quite nervous and anxious person, often unhappy, and therefore people were quite careful about which topic they talked about while around me.
That could have been possibly the worst outcome, as I did not mean in any way to push people to change behaviour because of me. I felt trapped: I did not want to appear badly but at the same time I did.
That’s when I decided that I would not care about what other people thought, because in doing so I managed to have a negative impact on people around me.
When I decided to do it was not when I actually started to not care. That took years, along with some practice on how to love myself to find my worth.
That, and the thought that most of the time people do not even think about what you say or do for more than necessary, as it happened to me when my friend justified himself for something I did not even remotely tought about.
This knowledge helped me through it and I can now say that manage to be myself around others most of the time, because I know if something goes wrong or if there is a misunderstanding it can always be talked about.
Of course I still struggle sometimes, like when I meet new people or when I am out with only another person, as I feel pressured to be entertaining as I am the sole other person here. I know that those are my weak spots, and I am working on it.
Let me know what you think about it and if you have any difficulties about being yourself with others.
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