What people think

“Confidence is ignorance. If you’re feeling cocky, it’s because there’s something you don’t know.”

Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl

I’ve been thinking.

Thinking about what people say.

What people think.

 

I am a human like any other, and I get tiny endorphins doses released when somebody likes my post, comments on my picture, gives me a compliment on my flowery skirt. And of course, I take the admirations, polish them, and carry the shiny trophies on my brain’s shelves.

 

On the other hand, receiving criticism and abominations crushes the ego and grinds the leftover bits. 

 

“You shouldn’t care what people think”, they say.

 

So which is it? Am I to dismiss the kind words too? After all, they are categorized as “what people think”.

 

Yes, I don’t like every single person on this planet, and not everybody likes me. I have my favourites and you have your own arch enemies.

 

Then what about random nice remarks from strangers?

 

“I love your hair, it’s absolutely gorgeous”, tells me a pixie-haircut-rocking stranger at the bulk aisle.

 

My hair is a tangled mess after the gym, so my ego rockets to the highest skies.

 

However, she also bought a huge bag of white chocolate chips. I don’t like white chocolate.

 

How much do this lady and I have in common when it comes to taste? So do I trust her judgment on my hair but not on food? Does my hair assuredly look good? Or it is perceived as possessing a certain degree of quality only from her point of view? I have a premonition if I saw this hair on another stranger, I would find it less than decent.

 

Perception, relativity, and variety of angles shape this world in numerous ways, as many ways as the number of people living on this planet. Confusing!

 

I think we all do care what people think, some less than the others. And we shape our circle of friends tailored to whatever is our grasp of “good companionship”.

 

What do you think? (Because I care)

 

 

24 Responses

  1. Incredible post, really enjoy the point you’re making! I’m a firm believer in the idea that we all care (and rightly so) about what others think. I also understand that we shouldn’t base our identity on that fact.
    Appreciation is a really important factor and acts almost as a mediator. I may not like certain things, but I can appreciate why certain people may like certain things. That’s something we need to be utilising ourselves – where we may not like a certain thing about ourselves, we should learn to appreciate that others may love that thing and they’re not wrong for thinking that.

    1. Thanks Alex. Yes, I agree with you, I am learning to put aside my prejudices and appreciate other people’s interests and thoughts, even if they conflict with mine.

  2. It bothers me when others say not to worry about what people think….as if it’s easy to do. I guess in certain situations (like on Twitter), it’s easier to blow off. But on our personal blogs, it’s harder to handle. This is supposed to be a safe place. I’ve not had a post critiqued, yet, but I’m sure it’ll crush me the day when it happens.
    Is it sad that we have to pause at the kind comments and go, “Really? You think my post is good, or my picture or hair?” In a perfect world, we’d be confident in what we put out there, but this world is harsh and, at times, unforgiving.
    By the way, I prefer milk chocolate chips. My hair is always a tangled mess. Just please don’t judge me too harshly for eating meat. 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Elizabeth. I hope you never have a bad experience in the blogging community, so far it has been the “good side” of internet for me. As you said, a very safe space.

      And I think we will get along just fine haha I can finish the bitter dark chocolates and you can finish the milk chocolates and meat. I find that differences help us all get along better and also learn.

  3. Hi Em, loving seeing you post! Humans are multi-faceted. They may like our hair but dislike something I love. Note too the first is personal vs inpersonal. Receive with grace the compliment as someone’s not just thought it but took the time and effort to connect with personally to deliver it like a gift. Why do these mean so much I wonder? Is it because we feel less, that no matter what we achieve, on some level feel like frauds? Is this something we do to ourselves, making comparisons and deeming ourselves less than what we perceive of others? Thought provoking post, Em!
    This is my take on the haters though…..not everyone will like or get us or even want to so walk on by. Their thoughts only matter if we give them power. We are seekers. Seek your tribe in this world. You’ll know them as they lift, encourage and inspire us to be the best version of ourselves.
    Love L.

    1. Seeking one’s tribe is good advice, Laura, but so is considering the opinions of the tribes of others once we’ve found our own. If we choose to remain in a bubble for too long without venturing out for fresh air, we suffocate…

      1. Note that I said haters. Considering and considerate of the opinions of others allows us growth specifically when it’s constructive however, bending ourselves for those who are critical or disparaging is a destructive path.

    2. Thanks Laura , as always. xx
      I definitely do have the imposter syndrome and occasionally feel unauthentic. But I am trying to find my centre, find my tribe, as you put it, and also try to understand the “haters’ ” side too. I think if I have an opinion, I must be able to argue for the opposite side as well, otherwise I am not understanding it very well myself neither.

  4. Very interesting take on this subject. It is interesting how we take some opinions to heart and others not so much, like your example of that girl liking your hair but also liking a food you don’t like. I guess it just boils down to the fact that everyone has different tastes regarding everything. So just because someone doesn’t share every interest of ours doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take their opinion seriously. Though… I think how much we have in common with someone else has less of an effect compared to how they are as a person. I was friends with someone who had so much in common with me, from taste in music to favorite movies to favorite hobbies. But I just recently had to end that friendship because she was just a super toxic person who had terrible morals, and she was just not someone I should be spending my time with. She’s also super judgmental, so I never really took her opinions to heart. Then I have another friend who has almost nothing in common with me. We like completely different styles of music, most of our hobbies are wildly different, and we have totally different opinions on things like politics, schooling, etc. But, I trust her opinion completely, because she’s a genuinely nice person and a good friend. So I care far more about what she thinks than the toxic person, because I find her opinions way more valuable. Even if they expressed the same opinion. I would still take the nice one’s more seriously because of who she is as a person. So I think that factors in far more than number of things two people have in common.

    1. You make a very good point. Now that I think about it, my closest friends have somethings in common with me, but the main reason they are so close to me is because of how caring, trusting, and loving they are. Some of my close friends have completely different beliefs. but this never makes them less dear to me.

  5. When people kill your ego, paint your face with its blood.

    That’s an angsty way of saying getting judged has value. That anxiety is a treasure map to all your interesting bits.

    1. “That anxiety is a treasure map to all your interesting bits.” I love this. Many times I have done tremendous things under the pressure of anxiety, things I never thought I was good enough to be able to do.

  6. Em, you should neither dismiss the kind words and accept the ego-crushing criticisms nor accept the kind words and dismiss the ego-crushing criticisms.

    You should write and think and write and think and write and think again until you attain internalized comfort with as well as criticism of ALL your own original ideas rather than worrying about what others think of either.

    Always remember that everyone who expresses an opinion about your thoughts/beliefs doesn’t necessarily have the wherewithal appropriately to assess the validity of your thoughts/beliefs no matter how vociferously or voluminously they choose to project their support or dissent!

    1. Thanks and thanks. This puts things in perspective for me. I was conjecturing to the same point in a way. What people say “doesn’t necessarily have the wherewithal appropriately to assess the validity of your thoughts/beliefs” ! Very true.

      I am also a little frustrated for having certain prejudices that have been embedded in me by various things throughout my life. They cloud my perception. Surprisingly, it is not easy to detach your pride from you judgement, and that makes me less judgemental towards individuals judging proudly based on their own prejudices. If that makes sense?

  7. I am that random person who stops someone with – gee that colour looks good on you, I love your tattoo, did you draw that? It’s amazing – and I do this because it is my opinion and I want that person to know that they have touched me in some value. As such when I get a compliment I accept it at face value – it is hard enough to feel good about yourself so if someone is complimenting you take it – it makes them and you feel good

    1. Oh please keep doing it, that’s great. I am a fellow strange commenter as well. I don’t hold back if something provokes my interest. I think it passes on a good energy and could affect someone’s day. So why hold back.

  8. The only people who genuinely don’t care are sociopaths, and one shouldn’t aspire to be like them. Other people’s thoughts and appraisals of us can be valuable, depending on whether they come from a place of malice or helpfulness. Even criticism can be beneficial, when the other person is trying to be constructive.

    The hard part is learning to identify which appraisals we should hold on to and which to discard. This seems to come with experience, and with having a strong sense of self.

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