I won’t lie. Even after all the books I’ve read on how not to give a flying f*ck about what other people think, I still care. A lot. In fact, just a little bit too much.
A personal incident came up recently with my child and I was telling my friend who was visiting me about it. I didn’t want to make a big deal but I cared too much about what the other parties thought. About how I was parenting. About how I was possibly perceived. “All you have to worry about is you and your relationship with your child,” she counseled me. “Not about the other parents. Do what I do. Press the ‘F*ck It’ button.” With a dramatic push of an imaginary button with her index finger in the air, we sat side by side in my parked car.
I realized a lot of my anxiety, especially social anxiety, revolved around others’ perceived judgements, criticisms, and disappointment in me. Shame would automatically bubble up from out of nowhere like a geyser at Yellowstone, and this would arise from my own thoughts. It’s uncanny how your own thoughts can keep you imprisoned.
So much of my life I’ve self-sabotaged because I fretted over what others might think about me. One of the reasons I have trouble putting my writing out there is because of this perceived shame and judgement. I’m afraid of rejection so I don’t even try. And even with social media, I’ve decided to take a giant step back from it because it’s suddenly become much more daunting since we’ve stopped our full-time RVLife. Suddenly I don’t want to be in that perceived spotlight anymore, afraid we’d be seen as failures for stopping a life we had dreamed up so dramatically following my husband’s cancer. Which in itself is stupid beyond f*ck for caring. Life is essentially full of stops and starts. We fall and we get up. We go and we stop. There is no linear path for happiness or success. We’re still the same people we were before we began our trip. Yet at the same time, we’ve grown. And it will never be perfect.
This year, I’m going to press that ‘F*ck it’ button much more often. Life really is too short to care so much about other people’s perceptions of who you are. If you’re a good person inside, that’s what really matters in the end, right?