On one eighth grade summer day, I invited a friend over to do a slip and slide in my backyard. After we slipped (and slide-ed??) I remember her inviting me to come to a pool party where many people from our class would be present. I told her that I wasn’t sure (as I was very self conscious). I asked her how she could go when she knew many people (including boys?? GASP) would be present.
“Oh, I don’t care what people think about me.”
This was so radical to me that even now years later I still remember exactly where I was when she said that.
“You don’t care what people think about you?”
She answered quickly, “Nah, why should I.”
I was shocked. I didn’t even know you were allowed to do that. Like, you could choose not to care what people thought about you?
I still skipped the party, but I thought about that often.
Years later, I was reading a body-positive fashion blog and she referenced an article called “Why Do Women Care So Much.” I was absolutely enamored by the article. I printed it out and carried a copy with me. I started to take more chances and do more things I wanted to do instead of caring what other people thought so much.
Here are some things that have helped me and things that I've learned:
- People often care more about themselves then they do about you. This was the life-changing aspect and the thing that I started wearing a swimsuit without shorts again and going to the pool. Think about how many times you remembered how “fat” or “ugly” someone looked? Even if you did, how long did you think about it? Probably not very long. I’ve learned that people’s attention spans are short and they don’t have time to think about you, they have to think about them.
- The people who don’t fit the above description are the worst. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. This is hard to hear for someone who has always thought that everyone’s opinion mattered, but would you trust your hairdresser to give you solid and specific medical advice? Probably not. Why? They don’t know enough to be relevant. It’s nothing against them. It’s just that you wouldn’t take their advice.
- It doesn’t make you a bad person to not care what people think.
- It sucks to not let yourself live because of other people. There’s a saying about not forgiving people is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. But when you don’t let yourself experience fun things because of your own personal self consciousness then it’s like grabbing poison out of a stranger’s hand chugging it quickly then expecting them to reward you for doing that. It doesn’t make sense. Don’t waste fun experiences with who you are now in hopes that someone won’t laugh at you.
- Other people are great, they nourish our lives. But they have their own lives. Live your one/ They give us good advice, support and hold us up. They can be wonderful. But at the end of the day, it’s your life. You own it, and you live it everyday. So why not make decisions you’re proud of?
- It’s a long journey and it’s not easy! If you've hated yourself for years, it's not going to change in a week. But it's worth it!
Start enjoying yourself this summer! We're rooting for you.