I care too much of what people think of me- I hate it. I mean there’s nothing wrong with taking into consideration other people’s opinions about you because it can sometimes help you become a better person but you also have to take it in moderation, same goes to the advisers. There’s a difference between being helpful and being condescending; being insecure and being humble; and confidence and insensitiveness. The problem with me is that I am too insecure; I care too much of what the next person thinks of me to the point that it’s affecting my way of living- and not in a good way. I accept everything people say even the condescending ones. Instead of doing things for my betterment, I’m more focused on pleasing people and not make them feel disappointed.
My lack of confidence also hinders me from socializing. If I’m to talk to a random person, for some reason, I have to carefully calculate what I’m about to say in fear of saying the wrong things and making a fool of myself. It’s crazy, I even get scared when a sale’s person is about to approach me because I wouldn’t know what to say or do which results in me turning into a big mess of awkward. I get really anxious when random people talk to me or approach me when I really shouldn’t. In short, I care too much how people perceive me because I’m scared of being humiliated.
Even since I was a child, I was already a very shy kid. Shy kids, most often than not, never have the best experiences during childhood, at least based on my experience. I was always teased and underrated that’s why I was always vulnerable to bullies. I got bullied when I was in kindergarten because they know I won’t talk and fight back. From then on, I have become the shy, soft-spoken girl in at the back of the class who nobody will remember. That has become my mindset as I was growing up: I’m a nobody.
Come grade school, I transferred to another school and had a fresh start; I met new friends and learned to start conversations but I was still very shy and hesitant. I was still scared of humiliation. During recitations, even though I already have an answer in mind I would never raise my hand in fear that it’s wrong; during class presentations, even though I have practiced everything I have to say a thousand times, my mind would always blank whenever I’m in front and I would forget everything I have to say and my voice and my legs would shake from the nervousness that I was feeling. You see, I’m afraid of speaking in public and to the public because even before I could speak I would psych myself out and think of all the scenarios that could happen if I say the wrong things. I would always imagine everyone laughing at me and teasing me for saying the wrong things.
Even now, even if I’m not as soft-spoken as I was before, I’m still that shy, insecure girl who’s scared of saying the wrong things. I may be A lot chummier and louder now and can recite better in class but I still carry that baggage with me. I still have some relapses from time to time. It may take time for me to warm up to someone but once I get comfortable, you’ll know that I’m just as crazy as the next person.
I don’t even know why I care so much when I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t care if I make a fool of myself; I shouldn’t care if I say the wrong things or stutter; I shouldn’t care if I say the wrong answer in class; I shouldn’t care if I had to talk in front of an audience; I shouldn’t care about being myself; I shouldn’t care. But I do and that makes me hate myself more than I already do.
You’re probably wondering how I got into this predicament and why I’m telling you my personal sob story. Well, let me explain by telling you a story.
I’m a commuter which means that every day when I go to and fro from school I commute- I ride the FX (van used as a public utility vehicle). And every day when it’s time to go home I will always have my commute buddies with me (it’s safer to travel with a companion and makes the travel more fun, right?).
One day, one of my commute buddies was telling me about a guy she saw at the FX she was riding, who looks just like her crush. I said to her that I couldn’t do what she did- staring at people or even just looking at them for a split second- because I feel like they somehow know that I’m staring and might get the wrong idea. But then she told me something that stuck with me- “’di naman nila ako kilala eh.” (they don’t even know me.).
This got me thinking why I go through great pains of proving myself to people. Why I shy away from people and opportunities because I’m scared of the consequences of failure and humiliation? Why I’m so concerned with how I’m perceived? Why? Why? WHY??? Because at the end of the day these people don’t know the real me and will probably never see me again or remember me after some time so why should I care what they think of me. They don’t control me or own me so why should I let their opinions affect my life; these people are not my God. I should focus on things that make me feel good and happy and confident.
So, to all the introverts and scaredy-cats in the world, sometimes the best you can do is not give a damn; it’s okay to fail sometimes. You don’t always have to prove yourself them; you don’t have to live up to society’s expectations. But, it’s also important to remember that there’s a big difference between walking with your head held high and walking with heels. Be your own boss without looking down on people.
With that, I leave you the words of Harvey Fierstein:
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.
Thanks for stopping by!
-The Lank One