By Laura Fuentes Gómez, LUX1 S7ESA
We spend so much time fearing what others think of us and how our actions might impact our reputation. Wondering how we’ll be perceived when we inevitably fail. Sometimes, we become obsessed with this notion; we lie awake at night, dwelling on those stupid little failures that everyone is surely mocking now. Wondering if someone noticed that the tone we used the other day was unprofessional, or how bad that joke we told was, or how high pitched our voice sounded when we answered the teacher´s question in class, or how out of shape we are. And most of the time, it’s the people we don´t even like or care about who keep us up at night. We surrender our freedom to the verdicts of strangers and let them dictate our actions and lives.
However, our problems don’t matter to the rest of the world the way we feel they do, and honestly, it seems quite egocentric to think they would. In reality, we are the centre of the galaxy only in our own tortured, self-centred minds. My theory is that we´ve had this idea imposed on us since we were little. As babies we need constant care, our parents never leave us alone, people on the streets make brief stops to look at us with tenderness, our distant relatives take turns holding us and blubbering sweet nothings in their best baby-voice. We are praised and applauded for days after our first words or steps; it can seem as though we are the biggest attraction in everyone´s lives. At school, our teachers observe us closely as we work, trying to detect and encourage the early signs of our unique talents. In a time when our only world was our parents and teachers, whenever we did something wrong, they both shook their heads in disappointment. No wonder we are consumed by the fear of taking a false step, feeling that the judgement and disappointment of the whole world will fall on our shoulders.
But then we grow up and realise that we live in a world full of indifference. We are surrounded by people who know nothing about us and don’t want to know anything about us. In the early morning bus, on a silent walk in the park, in that restaurant, even in most of our classes, other people barely notice we are there. We often think of this reality as a cruel one. However, it can also be seen as liberating, freeing us from our self-consciousness. Why should we worry what people think of us, if they don’t think of us at all?
I have good news. When you mess up, when you say a lame joke or you get tongue tied in a speech, when you trip and fall on your face or you let slip a false note while you sing, no one cares! The world’s neglect and indifference to our problems is both terrifyingly sad and extremely liberating.
Stop worrying what other people will think! They probably haven’t even given you a second thought! And you know why no one cares or nobody notices? Because they are too busy or are themselves in their own head thinking and torturing themselves about their problems, wondering if YOU have noticed their embarrassing mistakes. You think this is sad? I disagree. What would be sad is someone with such a poor interior life, so few things to do, that they need to search for little imperfections to make fun of, to fill their boring and empty lives.
So, the next time you trip, or you snort, or a word gets caught up in your throat; just stop and look around. Maybe then you’ll see that the only person that noticed was you! When an embarrassing moment starts eating away at your mind, just try to recall another person’s embarrassing moment. You’ll realise that you barely remember any! How long do we spend thinking about the foolishness of other people we don’t particularly know? We simply don’t! When we take our own minds as reference, we get a far more accurate picture of what’s likely to be going on in the heads of other people when they meet us, which is, thankfully, not very much.
For this reason, I encourage you to do whatever makes you happy and not to worry what others will think. Because honestly, they don’t care!