I don't think I've ever fully been able to not care about other people and their opinions.
Of course, this doesn't have to be a bad thing. Keeping others in mind will make you a more sociable and empathic person. However, when this consciousness of other people and what's going on in their mind becomes a priority in your brain, it may stem from insecurity. And that isn't great, to say the least.
I think my social insecurities are rooted even deeper than I think. From a young age, I've had difficulties to feel part of a crowd and accepted by my friends. I've always had the tendency to feel alone in a group of people and to cope with an almost full-time exhaustion of trying to keep up with the latest trend or newest gossip.
Only when I started university, I found a group of people which made me feel like coming home. Of course I have made friends before that time, but up until my 18th, I'd never found the right crowd.
I still feel this deeply rooted insecurity daily. This isn't a pity post, simply a reflection of what I try to face head on every day as I'm growing a little older and a little more mature.
I still sometimes feel lost in a crowd. I still sometimes say the wrong things in an attempt to keep up. And I still sometimes make decisions, not for myself, but for the people around me.
I'm not happy with that, but I can't always help it. I still act according to the social pressures I feel. And as much as I want to break that mould, it's a figurative coat I've been wearing for years. I can't just drop it at the thrift-store - it's a part of me.
....or is it? Is this behaviour something I can get rid off, or at least attempt to silence every once in a while?
As I'm growing older, I feel like I'm getting to know myself more and more. I can see which parts of my behaviour I can link back to those early teenage years and beyond - and how I've always adjusted accordingly based on behavioural patterns I designed over ten years ago. The fact that I can decipher these parts in my brain a little bit more, together with the cold hard truth that I'm growing older and a little bit wiser, make me realise that trying to fit in when you're twenty-two is really not that necessary anymore.
Not everyone will like you. Not everyone will be able to look past your awkward remarks and appreciate your peculiar humour. And you know what? That's perfectly fine.
I'm trying to let go of the image in my head of the "perfect"-me, the polished, fabulous, confident woman I long to be.
And funnily enough, relieving myself of this mental pressure moves me closer to that "perfection". Constantly comparing myself to something I'm not, or not yet, brings me down and makes me sad. But - appreciating what I've achieved and celebrating my strengths makes me happy about myself and that, in turn, makes me confident. Do you see the paradox?
I think it's about time I let go: let go of the pressures I put on myself, let go of what I assume others think about me and LET GO of all the anxieties I have in me. It'll be easier said than done - but boy, will it lift a weight off my shoulders.
Here's to happiness :) !