I don’t know about you, but for as much time as I get to be alone, my mind is a revolving door of what I’m thinking other people might be thinking about me.
I work from home and absolutely love it. The being at home part. I probably need to get out more, but I’m truly happiest relaxing at home. Yet I find my mind going in circles throughout the day with thoughts of what other people think about me.
I partially blame Facebook. It reminds me of people who I might not have seen in years or who I might only be acquainted with and their thoughts about the world and other people. And then my mind starts to wonder: what do they think about me, then?
This sounds pretty selfish, now that I’m writing it out. Because clearly these people aren’t going around thinking about me all the time, if ever. But still, my ego insists on begging the question – just what do they think of me?
It’s a Two-Way Street
“When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself.” — Wayne Dyer
This judging thing goes both ways, though. I catch myself judging other people, and I’m certain this is what perpetuates my fear of being judged.
It starts with little things, like binge watching reality TV shows and making judgey, albeit witty, commentary back and forth throughout the episodes about the “characters” and our perceptions of their flaws. We throw in a “oh she really has lost weight” every once in a while, but it’s too easy to get a judgmental “win” watching reality TV. No one’s perfect.
It’s gossiping with friends. Can you believe she said that? Can you believe he did that? These types of questions immediately direct my mind to my memory bank of things I have said or done. Have I ever said something like that in the past? Is this person judging me? Or are they going to go out and tell someone else what I said later and ask the same question of them?
And it’s me. Acting incredulous at someone else’s behavior. As if I were not capable of saying or doing similar things. I’m certainly not perfect. When I judge someone else, it doesn’t feel good. And I’m convinced that it is having a detrimental effect on both my health and productivity towards my goals and dreams.
I don’t have to even judge someone out loud to receive the negative effects. Silent judgment is just as harmful. It’s crazy, but I find myself judging someone I saw on TV the night before, someone on Facebook, a story I have heard about someone I barely know. All in my head.
And then my head turns against me. Well what about you? It asks. You aren’t perfect. What about this thing you said yesterday, or that thing you did five years ago? Why aren’t you still feeling bad about that?
I’m generally a happy, well-adjusted person. So I don’t want to paint the picture that I’m a wreck going around all day with this constant guilt and negativity. But I do want to be real and share that these thoughts are very persistent in my life right now, in the hopes that I can relate to other people who might be going through something similar.
The Mind-Body Link
I truly believe that this type of thought pattern is detrimental to my health. I have adult hormonal acne which I view as a message from my body that something is off. I don’t have any other health problems, but I feel that the acne is my body’s way of telling me that I need to get it together.
Over the past few months I have been thinking a lot about the acne and what’s causing it. I know diet and lifestyle must be the cause and I’m working on figuring out what I can change to one day have the glowing complexion I dream of.
I feel strongly that the stress of worrying about what other people think constantly is contributing to this dis-ease in my body. The stress of worrying about not being good enough for other people.
A friend a while back had gone to a spiritual retreat and came back talking about releasing the need to be judged. I didn’t quite understand what she was talking about at the time, but I get it now that we can create a need to be judged. And for me, I create that through judging others.
We really need love, to love and to be loved. We don’t need to be judged or to judge, we just think we do in our culture of judging.
I’m currently listening to Louise Hay’s audio recording called The Power of Your Spoken Word. She talks about the time she decided to give up gossiping and found she didn’t have anything to say to anyone for three weeks!
Releasing the need to judge and to be judged isn’t easy, but it is possible.