They Don’t Care

One of the most debilitating and inadvertently narcissistic beliefs we have is that people generally care about us. I am referring here to everyday life. Of course, if you were drowning at the beach, or bleeding on the street, someone would certainly come to help you. But even then, they do not help because they care about you (they don’t even know you) but simply because you are human.

The fact of the matter is people have other things on their mind other than you. They have their own problems, worries, and self-doubts; and you will rarely, if at all, enter their mind. The laughs from that group you just walked by were not directed at you, it was just a coincidence.

We care so much about what others think of us, a thought only possible if we assume people actually are thinking of us. We adjust ourselves in order to gain the approval of people we do not know. We talk differently, walk differently, think differently and altogether adopt the persona of someone more amicable to those around us. We want to be accepted. It is an entirely natural feeling but one that rests on a mistaken belief: that strangers care a lot about whether you are one way or another.

Think of the dancing classes you didn’t take because you consider yourself a blundering fool; the drama classes you avoided because you cringed at the sight of your own body; the comedy you never performed because you thought others would disparage your lame jokes. There are so many things we stop ourselves from doing because of the mistaken belief that others are heavily invested in who we are. The far more likely occurrence is that they would be somewhat pleased and soothed by seeing a blundering dancer or terrible joke teller on stage. They are people too and likely suffer from the belief too that one should not expose themselves lest they suffer ridicule and taunts from strangers. Your confidence may set an example for them to get out and do something they have always wanted to do but have always been too scared to try.

We all have a dinner party of problems to attend to. We simply do not have the time to be invested in other people we do not know. As true as this is for you, it is equally true for others. The fact that other people do not care much for you should not put you down but should liberate you! You don’t need to worry about dressing slightly silly, or dancing like a fool, because others aren’t really paying attention to you anyway.

We would be wise to keep this at the front of our mind next time we feel like doing something might embarrass us. If anything, your act of boundless self-confidence will be a beacon of hope to some despondent stranger at the back of the comedy club, illuminating a central truth to them: you can do this too; you just need to remember that the only opinion on your self-worth that really matters is your own.

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