I think we can all safely say we have spent far too much of our time on earth freaking out about what other people are thinking of us. You put on an outfit that looks super fly while you’re at home and then the second you step into the street, every single conversation anyone in the entire world has ever had is about you and only you.
You get nervous, you question yourself, and you feel shitty.
You say something a bit off colour or make a joke that no one laughs at. Surely this must mean people will discuss your indescribably horrible faux pas for the rest of their lives. You will become an anecdote they share with their grandchildren.
You trip and fall and it’s outside a bar so surely everyone assumes you are pissed off your head and they’re laughing about that stupid idiot who can’t hold their booze even though it’s 10am on a Sunday and actually you just HAPPENED to be outside a bar when you tripped over.
Your life is ruined, you’re destined to be whispered about for years, and your only option is to move countries and get a new identity to avoid the constant jeering.
At least that’s what we all think. It’s happened to me, and it’s happened to everyone I know.
You can’t help but question yourself when you’re feeling vulnerable and you’re in public. And I’m not here to lie to you, people are shitty and people are gossipy, and sometimes, just sometimes, that awful feeling you have that people are talking about you is right.
Okay but so what? If this is something that stresses you out, take a quick step back, look at your life, and think of one time that someone being a snarky little biatch has actually had a lasting impact on you. Because for me? It’s never. Yeah it’s not nice. But ten minutes down the line, ten days down the line, ten years down the line, what has any of this done to me? Absolutely nothing. I am still the same old self absorbed, extra as hell gal I have always been and nothing can stop that.
This isn’t something that has come easily to me. Honestly, growing up I had a pretty tough time and a pretty awful opinion of myself and a lot of that is due to the snarky biatches mentioned previously. I get it. It SUCKS and it makes you question who you are and everything you do.
The greatest lesson I ever learned, however, is that as much as you want to let people’s opinions affect you, if you want to be your happiest and truest self, you just can’t. I know it’s not much, but I want to offer some advice, and some small steps to help you move toward this attitude toward your life- here are some small things to consider when you start feeling that the weight of other people’s opinions are getting a bit much and pulling you down:
- will I ever see this person/these people again? (Generally, particularly if you live in a big city, the answer is no)
- Do I value these people’s views and opinions?
- Will these people not liking me/having critical things to say about me have any lasting impact on my life (again, the answer to this is more often than not)
- Am I happy/enjoying what I am doing/saying/wearing?
- Is what I’m worrying about/what people are being critical of something that would affect people who actually care about me?
- Am I hurting anyone else with what I’m doing?
- One more time for effect; am I happy, do I like what I’m doing, am I not negatively affecting anyone else, and did I feel good before I considered other people’s opinions?
While I want to make clear that sometimes people’s opinions are valid and should be listened to (i.e sometimes we are all massive assholes and need to hear this) it is time for us all to take a step back and stop giving so much weight to the ideas of people who will be out of our lives in a matter of seconds, minutes, or days.
Honestly. I have traipsed around in public wearing all manner of clothing, I have a laugh that sounds like either a witchy cackle or a drain pipe depending on the day, I have a unique talent for projecting my thoughts across crowded spaces, and sometimes I just do really weird shit. If anyone is going to be talked about and judged by strangers, it is 100% me. But what value does it add to my life to waste my (somewhat) valuable time stressing about this? I wear weird clothes because I like them, I laugh loudly because I’m happy, I say weird things in public because I’m comfortable with the people I’m around. And my life has never been better, since I accepted that this is just who I am as a person, and the people who can’t deal with that have absolutely no place in my life.
If the people you love support you, if you feel like you are doing the right thing, and if you feel good in yourself, don’t let anyone take this away from you. Stop giving a flying fuck about rumours and gossip. It doesn’t add anything to your life, and speaking from experience when I realised this, my life improved exponentially. It opens the door to being your truest self, your most joyful self, and who you are truly meant to be.
Final thought: no publicity is bad publicity.