None Of My Business

“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.

19 responses

  1. “It’s not my basket. It’s not my basket. It’s not my basket. . .”

    Thanks.

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  2. Oh geez. You and me both. I just posted a survey for my readers to see what they think of me. I mean…my blog. Yeah, it’s all about my blog…

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  3. I SO needed to read this! If you don’t mind, I’d like to repost it on my blog, Ramblings of My BPD and Recovery.

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    1. Thanks. I always love to be reblogged.

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  4. Reblogged this on Ramblings of My BPD and Recovery and commented:
    This is something I constantly struggle with – what other people think of me. It ties into my fear of abandonment (if they don’t like me, they will leave me) and my low self esteem. It can even lead to self injury. When I read this post, I knew it had to reblog it!

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  5. Good one, Cathy. I love that Velveteen Rabbit quote.
    I think the picture at the top is from my friend Lisa at http://www.cheaptherapy.net. She has many posters, notecards, etc, handmade. Great Christmas presents!

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  6. I care a lot less about what other people think than I used to, but still it’s hard when you’re a people pleaser like we all seem to be here. And it’s harder with certain people moreso than with others….I care much more what my close friends think than my casual aquaintences. Still I can only live my life doing the best I can at any given time.

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    1. I definitely care more about close friends and family and even then I have to remember that they have bad days. It is not always about me . 🙂

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      1. True, but it’s a lot harder to take when things go wrong with them. I’m having a hard time realizing that something going on with my sister is up to her to fix. I can’t do anything to change her mindset, but that doesn’t stop me from trying (which only makes things worse).

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  7. Cathy,
    Thanks for this beautiful reminder.

    I am currently in a situation where there are many unresolved feelings about past & current events and family relationships between a long-time friend and myself. So, whenever she comments on my blog or my Facebook status updates, I always feel defensive and criticized, regardless of what she says. My receiver is dialed to passive-aggressive and my perception is that it’s a hidden attack in public.

    When this happened last night and I decided to “call her out” in a private message.

    The response was something along the lines of her knowing people besides me and to get back to her when the world no longer revolves around me and I’ve gotten over myself.

    It reminded me to go back to my personal policy of assuming innocent motives. Regardless of what anyone else is carrying in their basket, even if it’s thoughts and feelings about me, their stuff is still their stuff and isn’t mine to judge.

    Blessings,
    Kina

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    1. Thanks for sharing that. I understand the challenge.

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  8. Love this post… thank you for sharing your words, which mirror my own experiences. I have heard of the idea of “keeping my side of the street clean” in references to the baskets. If it’s not on my side of the street, I just need to leave it be. It’s very challenging to lose your voice in the presence of others, especially when what you have to offer could very well be quite valuable to someone. Great post!

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  9. This is so powerful! And now I have a book to add to my reading list 🙂 I have never heard of the “basket” concept, but it deeply resonates with a lot of past experiences I’ve had. Beautiful post.

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  10. It sounds cliche, but there will always be someone who doesn’t like/approve of you, so you might at be authentic so you like yourself. It’s a hard lesson to learn and I’m still learning it.

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  11. In high school I decided I would rather be respected than liked. I have a strong personality and some people loathe me. But those who love me are fierce allies. I have my posse. The rest? Meh.

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  12. The Velveteen Rabbit s one of my favourite books… not quite sure how becoming real relates exactly to not caring what people think of one but I guess it’s an element of it.. liked your blog post anyways

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  13. Love this post! Exposing your truth and not caring what others think is sometimes a tough row to hoe, especially for introverts. Thank you for following my blog. I look forward to following yours as well.

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  14. So true! We just moved to a tiny tight knit town. Forming a social life out of nothing is so difficult. I constantly find myself worrying if I am going to fit in or if a new person I meet likes me.

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