ANY OF US CAN GET OVERLY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT BE THINKING ABOUT US. But here are a few things to consider:
~ We are only guessing at what they think.
We don’t, we can’t, we never – really know what others truly think about us. Even if they tell us, even if we hear bits and pieces from others, we still never really know the full extent of another’s thoughts. We only know what they’ve chosen to share.
~ We don’t know all the nuances, the fine details of what led up to their thoughts, including their own deep-rooted beliefs – whatever contributed to the story they’ve created about us.
~ WHAT WE THINK THEY THINK of us often comes only from our own observations and perceptions – some of which may be correct, some not – and it’s all filtered through our own lens – the one through which WE see the world.
~ What others actually think about us cannot be considered knowledge or truth or 100% certainty – no matter what we have shown or told them about ourselves. No one knows all the nuances, the fine details of what led up to our choices.
~ Only we know the complete and often complex reasons behind our decisions, our words, our actions, and what we are trying to convey by presenting ourselves as we do.
~ Only we know our thought processes and beliefs behind what we do (although sometimes they’re so habitual, so ingrained that they might be occurring on a subconscious level, under our radar; so, it might even take us awhile to be truly aware of these things on a conscious level, ourselves).
Also, let’s reflect on the possibility that considering what other people might be thinking is not all bad. THERE CAN BE SOME VALUE IN IT:
~ We can benefit from considering how we might be coming across in an interaction, or which qualities of ours might benefit the other party in that moment – perhaps those of being thoughtful, kind, intelligent, respectful, or maybe vibrant, clever, or artistic – whatever it is that we know ourselves to be, but sometimes that aspect of ourselves doesn’t shine so brightly as at others times; so, we feel called to make an extra effort to help someone see it.
~ Considering others perceptions might help steer us toward showcasing a clearer picture of our ‘best’ or ‘most relevant’ qualities in an effort to be chosen for something of value that they have which we’d like – maybe it’s a job, or getting their business for our establishment, or maybe inclusion into a group or even a play – something of which we’d like to be a part.
~ Noticing people’s reactions to our words or actions can give us important feedback. Perhaps we choose to take it or perhaps not, but being observant and aware of it can be helpful for our growth. It can also help us notice where we feel we fit in or feel in alignment, just as much as where we do NOT.
Doing this can have value.
~ It’s when we get out of balance with our concern for how we appear to others – it might be a problem.
~ It’s when we value others’ views (or, really, our guesses at what they might think) more highly than we trust our own view of ourselves – things can get off kilter.
~ It’s when we fear others’ view of us, and feel compelled to continually adjust ourselves to match what we think they want to see – we might lose sight of who we are and our value, just as we are. With a focus on trying to be in alignment with what we think others want, we are continually shifting direction and might feel a little adrift; and our self-esteem might waver.
Our goal might to ‘make a good impression’ to ‘fit in’ or ‘be accepted’ – but even after monumental effort on our part, we never really know if they see us the way we ‘want’ them to.
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO KNOWING THAT BEING GENUINELY OURSELVES IS EASIEST.
~ The less we feel we must ‘try’ or adjust ourselves from our natural state, the more effortless things are.
~ Being ourselves brings so much ease and authenticity to what we do.
~ The more authentic our interactions, the more content we are.
~ The more we trust that – a little bit like a beacon that’s fixed in place – those who need, find benefit from, and are happy to have our light (just as it is) in their lived experience will come to us, will choose us, and will enjoy their time with us. Meanwhile those who find our light too bright or too dim or not quite right – will just pass by.
Wishing you a day of finding the sweet spot between considering others possible perceptions, and maintaining trust in yourself. ❤