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  • Writer's pictureDiana Fletcher

What Do They Think of Me?

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Wayne Dyer said, “What other people think of me is actually none of my business.”

My mother would NEVER EVER have understood this statement.

EVERY PERSON’S opinion about us mattered, and all opinions mattered more than our own.

I grew up with, What did they say? What did they say about your new coat? What did they say about your project, hair, sweater, shoes, mom, dad and on and on until I wanted to fall to the floor and beg for mercy.

Everyone Else's Opinion was IMPORTANT.

At one point, when I was perhaps sixteen or seventeen, during an argument with my mother, when she again said the words, what will the neighbors think, I yelled out of the open kitchen window, “I don’t give a fuck what they think!”

The horrified "Diana!" was worth it. I felt triumphant and couldn’t wait to tell my sisters.

It’s the little things.

Ten Spoken and Unspoken Rules Growing Up in My Home:

  1. Look good at all times.

  2. Get good grades.

  3. Don’t enjoy food/gain excessive weight.

  4. Don’t embarrass parents.

  5. Don’t get pregnant

  6. 6 - 10 See #1

When I was in high school, a boy I was dating took my hand, looked down at my palm and said, “your hands look like monkey hands with all those lines and wrinkles.”

First of all, what the fuck?

Second of all, what the fuck?

I’m kind of laughing as I write this at how stupid it sounds. What’s even stupider is this: I believed him. I don’t laugh at that part. I felt self conscious about my hands for a very long time. A boy had pronounced it. His opinion was more important than mine. And that, my friends, was that.

Until I grew up and learned to love my hands. And realized what an ass he was.

(Oh, and no way did I repeat what he said to my mother. She would still be talking about it from her grave.)

Recently a friend of mine was told by a “friend” of hers, that she was vain for having some elective surgery done. Vain. I am assuming this “friend” was referring to this definition: Vain: adjective 1. having or showing an excessively high opinion of one's appearance, abilities, or worth.

Why did he say it? What made him make this pronouncement? First of all, it was rude and second of all, shut the fuck up.

I wonder though, has he been called vain in his life? Has he been judged harshly and made to feel shame for being concerned about his appearance or accomplishments? Usually, this kind of comment says more about the speaker than the recipient.

I assume that my friend is supposed to feel ashamed about the choices she made for herself, about her own body. Why though? What is the distorted societal message here?

Our society tells us that we are supposed to care what people think. We are supposed to engage in behavior that society deems important. People are praised when they seem accomplished, beautiful, athletic, handsome, whatever. But, what? We are supposed to become those things with magic?

It's too much. No one is perfect. Not even close. It is a lie.

You are comparing your insides with someone's outsides.

Our society, our culture, every friggin’ culture, places a ridiculous amount of importance and value on beauty, performance and making a certain impression. AND it is all for other people.

It does nothing to help us live happier or more peaceful lives. Nothing.

This is much harder on women than men, but make no mistake, it takes its toll on all of us.

That’s the part I don’t like. That’s what my younger self didn’t like.

Why is everyone's opinion more important than mine?

Why is anyone’s opinion more important than mine?

It took me years to break free of the way I grew up. I let other people's opinions influence too much of my life.

Then I finally realized that just because someone said it, doesn't make it true. Think about that. We assume what someone opines about, is a truth. It's an opinion. It is not a fact.

Now, finally, I don't care. The only people whose feelings and opinions I care about are those of my loves. I have chosen to surround myself with the people who are real, honest and caring. Their opinions mean something to me. I only look outside of myself for information and guidance, not validation.

I have come up with a few ideas that may help you if you want to stop torturing yourself with visions of what everyone else’s life is like and where you are lacking.

Would you like to have a calmer, more peaceful mind?

Then, Stop.

Stop comparing.

Stop competing.

Stop looking outside.

It’s time to look inside and what better time to look INSIDE than now?

First, figure out who you are and who you want to be.

Read that again. Who are you? Are you who you want to be? Deep, deep down inside? For you. Not anyone else.

  • What are your likes, dislikes, ideas?

  • What are your values? What is important to you?

  • Make a list.

  • Make sure they are YOUR values and ideas. Not all the things you’ve been taught or told that you should value. What do you think?

  • What if there were no one else around and no competition? What then?

Second, take a serious look at that list.

Are these goals and values truly good for you?

  • Are they good for your future?

  • Will they hurt anyone else needlessly?

  • Will they help and support you/others?

  • Are they values you can feel proud of even if no one ever knows?

  • Is there a spirit of meanness in your goals? What is that about?

  • Are you trying to punish yourself or someone else? You will never find peace that way.

This is an exercise in honesty.

Are you ashamed/proud of your behavior and choices?

Why or why not?

  • Is any of your behavior actually something to be ashamed of or is this someone's opinion? (Or what your imagination says is their opinion?)

  • Do you need to change something inside of you to feel better?

  • What would you like to change for your future? You can decide this.

Third, you need to decide if social media is a friend or foe.

Is SOCIAL MEDIA Friend or Foe?

This is where many problems lie and you know what I am talking about.

  • Is it adding value to your life?

  • Is it a good use of your time?

  • Does it make you sad, anxious, jealous?

  • Does it make you feel bad about yourself?

  • Has anyone on social media ever hurt your feelings and ruined your day?

You have the choice to engage in social media.

If it doesn't make you feel good, why are you still doing it?

You have the rest of your life to enjoy.

Make a decision to do that.

What is stopping you? (Besides a worldwide pandemic! 😉)

Hint: It's not anyone else.

Love yourself. Every single part of you.

And no one else's opinion will ever hurt you again.

And THAT'S all that matters.

Please scroll down for comments. I would love to hear your thoughts!

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