News Flash: No One is Thinking About You
Which is different from no one cares about you.
A lot of people care about you, love you even; but the reality is, often when you’re worrying about what people think, the ones who love you are not the people you have in mind.
Instead, you worry what your colleagues will think if you suggest your idea or object to their idea.
You worry what the waiter will think if you mention all your customization requests or want to move to the table with the view that has now freed up.
You worry what the people behind you in line will think if you try to use up your coins at check out (ok they may be annoyed or rolling their eyes, but that’s on them. You use up those coins!)
You worry what the passerby on the street will think if you laugh out loud at your friend’s joke.
Sometimes you even worry about it days after. How you shouldn’t have said that stupid thing, reliving the shame over and over.
You worry, I worry, we worry.
I cannot count the times I rehearse in my head what I want to say in a meeting but don’t manage to work up the courage. Eventually the moment passes, and I feel less confident for it.
Or all the times I decide to hold back asking for what I need or want to preemptively not inconvenience someone else.
But I also remember the times when I did speak up. The times when I made a suggestion and it was well received. The times when I asked for an extra bag for my food or to move to an inside table after deciding on an outside one initially.
It felt good. I was being true to myself, and I’m the only one who can give me that.
Usually the other person is perfectly agreeable to my requests. But sometimes they say no. In these moments, I’ve learned not to overthink it or let it weigh on me. I’m entitled to voice my needs, and they are entitled to say no. It’s only fair. The last thing I want is for them to say yes just to please me, at their own expense.
The risk of potential shame when putting yourself out there is uncomfortable. But denying yourself what you need and making yourself smaller for other people, typically strangers, is even more uncomfortable.
So, what I’m saying is, lean in to your discomfort. Say what’s on your mind (politely, without entitlement please).
And the next time you worry about what someone else is going to think, just remember that they’re probably too busy thinking about themselves to even notice you.
No one is thinking about you.
Only you can think of yourself and put yourself first.