I spent most of my life trying to convince myself and others that I didn’t care what other people thought about me. This was definitely not the case. I care deeply about what others think. This is a big part of my alcoholism and falls in the spiritual malady part of my disease.
Before I get into though let’s clarify something. Here is what I do without help. So, I make up this delusional narrative in my ahead about what I think other people are thinking about me. The first problem with that is in order for this delusional narrative to be true people have to be thinking about me all the time which they are not. People think about themselves. The second problem is that even if they are thinking about me I have no way of knowing what it is they are thinking, I take a wild guess and then accept it as fact in my brain. That is insanity. So then I take this delusional narrative about what I think people are thinking about me, what I think they want me to be, what I think will make them like me and then I take action based on that delusional narrative that in some cases drastically affects the direction of my life!!! For example the #1 factor I used to consider when choosing a potential girlfriend was what I thought my friends and also strangers thought of her, from there other stuff like what I thought would be a distant second!!! Haha. I am the kind of guy that will put myself in harms way to try and manage what a complete stranger thinks about me , and I will take crazy risks to avoid being embarrassed in front of my friends.
BUT!!! For arguments sake let’s pretend (like I used to do) that I am on everyone’s mind and take a look at it.
I think my efforts to try to convince the world that I didn’t care what they thought of me was part of a defense mechanism I developed because I had combined caring what other people think about me with taking action in my life based on what other people think about me. Those are two different things. In early sobriety I was still heavily afflicted with this spiritual malady and still trying to hide it. I was terrified to let people know that what I though they might be thinking about me was constantly running through my head and heavily influencing major decisions in my life. Over time however, in my efforts to stay sober I continued to practice the twelve steps and actively seek a relationship with a higher power. I was committed to living by principles and what started to happen was that taking action in my life based on my secret obsession with what other people thought of me rarely matched the action of someone living by principles. I was forced to do what was right, not what I thought people wanted me to do. Drawing on my delusional narrative for direction was no longer an option if I wanted to stay well. I started to choose the right action more often than not and abandon the idea of trying to manage people’s opinion of me by doing what I thought would make them happy. I was kind of forced. As this process took place, over time I realized that my years of scrambling around trying to please everyone based on this imaginary directive formed from a baseless assessment of what the world wanted to see from me had been a complete waste of time!! At the least people treated me the same when I was true to myself and chose my actions based on principles like honesty, kindness, and love. And even better! to my surprise what usually happened is that I found myself in the right situations with the right people and more and more comfortable in my own skin. I do not think I am alone.
If you are reading this and you have been telling yourself the whole time that you really don’t care what people think, I challenge you to check on that. Is it really true or are you just saying that because it’s too scary to admit that you do. Remember! Caring about what people think and thinking about it is not harmful as long as you acknowledge it so it is not your guide as you go about your life. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND YOU WILL BE FREE!!!!!!!!!!