When I was a teenager (wow that makes me feel old), I didn’t actually care that much about what people thought about me, in fact I used to think it was amusing when people talked badly about me who didn’t even know me – a bit of a ‘bitch please’ attitude.
But something changed. It’s strange because as you get into your 20’s I think people assume that you grow out of your insecurities and worrying about what other people think. But mine actually got worse. For a few years I had an onset of anxiety and got into some really toxic cycles – I started to really care about what other people thought about me. I stopped going out, I hated being in public spaces with a lot of people, and I started disliking my appearance, my weight, even my personality. I’m not a psychologist but I think it’s what you call social anxiety.
I don’t know how this really came about, I think it was a mixture of things – being surrounded by the wrong people, being around men that tried to control me and being in a job that I hated in which I was advised to act a ‘certain way’ in order to be successful.
Recently I’ve kind of had a ‘fake it till you make it’ attitude and every time the familiar voice in my head returns in my mind saying something negative – I ignore it. I try to say YES to everything I can. Like starting this blog and overcoming my fears about it, or constantly worrying… am I cool enough? Am I pretty enough? Does this look slutty? Why has no one liked my picture? I just stopped. Stopped thinking, stopped caring, I liked what I was wearing or I wouldn’t have spent money on it, I love writing, I love dancing, I love socialising. And to hell was I going to let certain people stop me from living my life anymore.
How to stop giving a f*ck about what people think about you
I think the first step is really knowing yourself and your worth, don’t try and change yourself for anyone. I hate clichés but what I’ve realised is that it doesn’t really matter what other people think about me, I am who I am, and I’ve worked really hard to make myself a better person – not for the people who have put me down – but for myself. You will never be ‘good’ enough for some people and that’s just the truth, don’t exhaust yourself trying to convince these people into loving you. It will never work and you shouldn’t have to change who you are for the sake of somebody else’s version of you. Your value does not decrease based on another persons inability to see your worth. YOU ARE YOU and don’t let anybody tell you that it’s not okay to not be exactly who you are.
Have a look who is around you.
I am not using my blog as a platform to slate people, it’s not what I am about. But what I will say is if you feel like I did, then you may have people that are toxic in your life. Passive aggressive people that do not support you, make subtle comments about you, that aren’t happy for your successes. Do you honestly believe a real best friend, or someone who loves you would put you down? No. Find people who will love you for exactly who you are.
Notice your energy around certain people do they lift you up? Do they make you feel happier to be around them? Or do they laugh at your ideas? Make nasty comments about you? Just because they are in your friendship circle, even a family member or partner – there’s no excuse for this type of behaviour, this is bullying. Cut them out and surround yourself with good people.
What I’ve realised is what people say about you is usually a reflection of themselves.
Pay attention to people who don’t clap when you win
How many likes I get on a picture doesn’t define my beauty. What I am wearing doesn’t define me as a woman. My makeup and appearance doesn’t define my intelligence. My dress doesn’t define whether I am going to sleep with you or not. I will no longer apologise that I might speak a ‘little‘ too loud for you, the way I may be a ‘little’ too opinionated, I might wear a ‘little’ too much make up. This is all me, take it or leave it.
I think that by caring so much about other people’s opinions we forget who really matters, you. Our own ‘self’ gets mixed around in a stream of opinions, judgment’s, preconceived ideals that other people have used to define and judge us. I am so inspired by people who are unapologetically themselves, and I want to get back to being that person. And I hope you do too.