Other People's Opinions Of You (Shouldn't Really Matter)

This is a life lesson I'm struggling with. In fact, I've struggled with it my entire life. Me? I'm a textbook people-pleaser. I rarely say no to people's requests, I go ridiculously out of my way to help people even if it's detrimental to me, I hold in my true opinions of things in order to seem more agreeable (except with politics, you can fight me to the death) and I generally just put up with more than I should because I want to be liked. It's an extremely unhealthy way of living and I'm continuously trying to set proper boundaries so that I can live my life for my own enjoyment, rather than spending it trying to please everyone or trying to be a person for everyone to like. This thought process is why being off work has given me some (worse than usual) anxiety and it's made me question my worth as a person. If I'm not working, what will people think of me? Will they think I'm lazy? That I'm freeloading off my fiance? Will my fiance learn to hate me because he's the breadwinner and, even so, there are times where I don't manage to get anything done around the house? All that above doesn't even begin to touch on the fear I feel when I think about what people think of me in general. Am I too loud? Am I being weird? Is my laugh obnoxious? Do I look awful today? What are people saying about me when I'm not around? And then there's the biggest fear of them all: what do people think of me and my mental illness? It can be crippling having these worries constantly bogging my brain down. It is crippling. I'd managed to keep all that mess mostly contained for quite some time- that is until something happened that had my fears realized. I can't remember exactly when, I'll say around a month ago, I found out through the grapevine that someone had pretty strong opinions about me. I'm an attention whore, I'm always babied, I'm not even actually doing anything to help my mental health.. I dunno, there were other things, but I sort of filed it all away because damn did that hurt. Hearing these things about myself made me feel physically ill. My chest hurt, my heart was racing and the only thing I could bring myself to do was to go sit on the bathroom floor and cry for hours. I'd never felt smaller. After I cried that out, another worry popped in my mind: this person doesn't have me on any social media and I see them maybe once every few months so where is all this coming from? Who's feeding them this? Cue another spiral. Anyways, I didn't start this post just to complain about that. I wanted to let you know what I was told today during a counselling session when discussing what had happened: -You can't please everyone. You can't. It's a fact. We'll go about our lives and even when we think we're doing something to please one person or a whole group, we could easily piss someone else off with it. -Sometimes, people just won't like you. We've all experienced that thing where even though someone hasn't wronged you there's something that doesn't sit well with you. There are people in the world who're gonna feel that about us. It's okay! -If you have mental health illnesses, you'll likely face stigma. It's been getting better as the years go on and even though there's waaaaay more conversation than there ever was, there's still going to be people who don't get it and may never will. They're the people who think someone should toughen up and get over it, the ones who can't possibly fathom that someone can be unhappy or struggling because "their life isn't even bad". They exist- all we can do is try to remember that there's tons of support out there away from a handful of jackasses we'll come across personally and that our mental health is valid as FUCK. -If you're doing your damn best doodliest, people's shitty opinions of you don't matter. That's their business and they can stew in it and then shove it right up their damn as- anyways. This is the one I have the most trouble with. Finding out someone has negative things to say to you will always suck (unless you're my friend Josh who has mastered the art of not giving a fuck), but if you're doing you best and if you're comfortable with who you are* then why should we really care? And if they have real terrible things to say, who needs em? We're better off. *unless you're an asshole, then there might be some self-reflection needed just sayin. -You're allowed to do what you need to do to protect yourself- even if it means cutting people out. I'm having a hard time with this, too; the person who I'm having issues with is pretty much family. I'm scared of what will happen if I prefer not to go to functions I know this person will be at because I'll be uncomfortable and, honestly, probably pretty sad. But I was reminded that it's okay if I decide I don't want this person in my life, it doesn't matter what they may think or what anyone else around the situation may think. Decide for your benefit, not for everyone else's. -People being jerks says way more about them than whatever is is they have to say about you. These points all resonated with me. They make picture perfect sense. I know knowing all this won't magically fix the anxiety I feel when it comes to how people see me.. but, hey, it's a start! Hopefully it'll be of some use to you, too. P.S- Encouraging words from my family physician to those having difficulties with their mental health: all you can do is your best and that's okay. x Shay

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