“What other people think of me is none of my business.” was a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady (1933 – 1945) and reform leader.
I know it is none of my business, but I am a people pleaser and I want everyone to like me (even if I don’t like them so much) and think the best. I want to defend my life and choices if someone doesn’t agree or challenges me. I get angry when I feel judged or misunderstood.
I wrote a blog a couple of years ago about something my therapist calls “baskets.” She says I only have to be concerned and deal with what is in my basket. What people think of me is in their basket. I need to stay out of other people’s baskets, even if I don’t want to.
I was reminded of this quote and these lessons yesterday. I stayed quiet during a conversation in a group even though I had personal experience I could have shared. I knew I would be judged because he conversation including judging others who had similar experiences. I might have been able to offer some insight that could have been helpful, but chose to allow “what they might think of me” to control my actions.
When I become preoccupied with what someone else might think, I don’t share my honest self and voice. I have given up too much of my life to “them.” I got lost and had no idea who I was or what I believed. Truthfully, if I try to make everyone think the best of me, I am going to disappoint everyone at some point in time.
This doesn’t mean ignoring the feeling of others. I don’t want to say or do things that are mean or hurtful. I just don’t want to hide my voice or dishonor who I am in order make you like me or approve of me. I still worry about what you think about me, but I am spending much less time in that part of my brain. I am learning to speak the truth, share my voice, and be an honest, authentic me.
In the Velveteen Rabbit, the Skin Horse tells the Rabbit about becoming real.
Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
This blog post is part of NaBloPoMo. The theme for November’s NaBloPoMo is blogging for blogging’s sake.