We walk around wondering what everyone else thinks of us when, in fact, 90% of their thoughts are wondering the same thing. You’ve heard this before right? We say “que sera sera” and “don’t worry about what other people think” – but we STILL DO! It plagues us to the point that it becomes unconscious and we don’t even realize we’re doing it. If you are one of the lucky ones who is supremely comfortable with yourself and you have already attained your own calmness of character – no need to read on – but if you are a worry-wart like me – this may be a helpful blog.
I personally have the problem of worrying about being courteous to others and my general character image:
- Is my music too loud coming from my car, maybe they don’t like country? So I turn down the tunes at an intersection.
- Would my conversation with Danny offend this person we are about to walk by? So I stop talking until we pass.
- How close can I stand to this person in the fast line at the grocery store before they think I am weird?
- Is my arm-fat sticking out of my sleeve too much?
- And most commonly: (when singing/performing publicly) People must think I’m terrible!
My singing teacher used to give me this advice (I’ve paraphrased) which I cling to immortally:
“YOU are a great singer! You must sing like a great singer and believe it because confidence takes care of the nerves. Everyone out there is so impressed that you are even up there on stage and when you do a good job it is an unexpected perk!”
You see when you are performing – you have to forget about yourself – become the song and present it to your audience: you are doing it for them! It is stupid and quite a waste of time to be selfishly worried about “your” performance when you should always remember that you are delivering a gift to the crowd!
Now when you think about it like this – you realize that thinking about yourself all the time is taking – when we should be giving just like a performer “gives” a performance.
One time – maybe today… try to think of what the other person wants you to think about them - and give them the satisfaction that you noticed their efforts. You will get a huge reaction and probably make an instant friend. I strive to do this as much as possible but it is not easy! I am a very self-focused person and I need a lot of acknowledgement, but I’m not alone. If I can do this, anyone can.
Here’s an example:
Boy says: “I really like your shoes.”
Girl says: “Thank you.”
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, here’s the thing: the boy doesn’t really care about her shoes – but he knows that she spends half of her income on fancy shoes to impress boys so he is taking notice of the shoes and complimenting her for that reason. He has stopped thinking about himself (and what she is thinking of him) for one second to give her the acknowledgment of choosing the right pair of shoes.
Of course she is ecstatic. She’ll play it off like she doesn’t care but she’s really blown away that he would even consider looking at her shoes – let alone forming an opinion about them.
Now this is a very obvious example, but you get the idea.
We all need to try this, when you get used to doing this you will feel so much better as a person (it’s that warm-fuzzy feeling you get from donating to a charity) and you’ll really bring down your stress levels. You’ll feel like you are important because you made someone’s day – and wait! Isn’t feeling important what you try to do every day by waiting for someone to notice you? The circle is complete.