I have a friend who is a little too preoccupied with what other people think of her. It’s draining for her and for those of us who have to listen to ‘how everyone is judging her’. Despite many attempts to convince her otherwise, something happened this weekend that smacked the truth right into her… that she is not the center of everyone else’s universe.
Another (very wise) friend of ours was taking a picture of a group of 12-year-old girls at a party. After she snapped the picture, all of the girls ran behind her to see the photo. They took a quick glimpse and ran off to go do something else. The wise and curious photographer stopped them and asked why they wanted to see the photo. Was it just to look at their own face?
The answer was a unanimous YES!
When my friend witnessed this exchange, I could see the realization on her face. No one cared how any one else looked except themselves. The girls were too preoccupied with their own hair, makeup, and jaw line to even glimpse at their friends’ faces. It didn’t matter if someone else’s eyes were closed or their neighbor had lipstick on her teeth—if THEY looked good, it was a good picture. And it’s not just 12-year-old girls. We are all guilty of this. I’m not judging, just stating the fact. But this fact, personified by this young gaggle of girls was an awakening for my friend.
Age often lessens the preoccupation of caring about what others think of us. (G-d only knows how many times I’ve dropped my kids off in my bathrobe, hair unkempt and teeth unbrushed.) But this was a good reminder that ‘others’ really aren’t thinking about us at all. Liberation from judgements that don’t exist may seem like false relief, but next time you feel judged, or less-than, or embarrassed, remember everyone else is too busy feeling that way about themselves to be concerned with you! That’s true freedom from self-doubt.
This week I wish you the humility to believe no one is judging you and the confidence to know you are always enough.