“What other people think of you really isn’t any of your business: it’s best to not let other people’s opinions prevent you from being the authentic version of yourself.”happiness.com
As much as I try to keep that in my head, that’s easier said than done. How other people perceive me, sometimes triggers my negative thoughts. I consider myself a strong person, mentally and physically.
I might be five-foot-three inches (160cm), but most people wouldn’t waste their breath arguing with me. And, whether because of, or in spite of, my bipolar, ADHD, and anxiety diagnoses, I consider myself to be strong mentally, as well. I consider myself intelligent, creative, likable, and always kind.
Despite the mountains of evidence of this, my brain works diligently to convince me that every interaction I have with another person is a misstep. If I text someone and they don’t reply back my “brain” thinks that they are mad at me. If someone doesn’t answer the phone when I call, say hello when they pass by, or reply to my messages, then my mind goes into what can only be described as an emotional roller coaster of overthinking -and It isn’t a fun roller coaster- It’s an old, poorly maintained, and it’s painful when it turns corners. The ride up the first hill is terrible, and slow, and the anticipation sends huge shock waves I can feel all over my body. It is emotionally, physically, and even mentally straining. It is fear, panic, anticipation, and dread all rolled into one giant full-body panic attack.
I don’t care if people like me, but I also kind of do
Let me start by saying I don’t care if people don’t like me. I really don’t. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s totally fine.
At the same time, there is still some part of me that wants to be liked, which makes it difficult for me when I learn someone has a negative perception of me. Especially when I don’t think it’s accurate. And, that’s all because they heard of someone, that heard from someone else that they don’t like me because “__”
I’ve never been the kind of person with a lot of friends. Much of my life has been spent trying to reason out why that is when society says it should be otherwise. When I can’t reason it out, I turn inwards. It leads me down the path of negative thoughts, such as how there must be something wrong with me and how I must be a bad person. It’s hard to think of anything else when society repeatedly feeds us the idea that we should have wide social circles and swaths of people who love us.
Thus, while I don’t care if people like me, I also kind of do. Deep down, we all do.
This has been on my mind because I recently learned there are people in a gaming community I was a part of who see me as arrogant. I see myself as anything but that, so I was taken aback, and immediately my negative thoughts started churning. What could I have done to cause this perception? What’s wrong with me that this is how they see me?
I eventually circled around to how it could be because I’m a big introvert, quiet, and have social anxiety. While those people probably know none of that, especially the mental illness part, I see it as a logical explanation because it keeps me to myself, which could lead people to see me in that light. The “resting bitch face” I also seem to have probably doesn’t help •ᴗ•.
You know what, though? It’s not my fault people see me that way. It’s not my fault people take the face value (no pun intended) and assume that’s the reality without ever having a conversation with me.
With that in mind, it’s a matter of challenging my negative thoughts (and society’s idea of the human experience) as I continue on my path of mental health recovery. It’s a lesson I’m still learning, but I think it’ll ultimately be a lesson well worth learning. At the very least, I’m willing to give it a try. But, I will not change who I am for people to like me.