Caring excessively about what others think will destroy your life, like it did mine!

In these 19 years that I have lived, I have cared way too much about what people have thought about me. This excessive self consciousness has consequently destroyed my life! Okay fine I’m being a bit too dramatic. Caring about what people have thought about me in the past has really set me back in many ways. For instance, starting this blog.

Writing is something I’ve always loved. It is a way I can express many of my deepest fears, worries, desires and passions. But unfortunately due to my lack of confidence and the reliance on the opinions of others I have hindered my own personal growth as a writer and a creative. So I thought I’d finally have a blog that wasn’t anonymous, that I could share with the people who don’t think blogs are too dated…

I have given so much power to others – especially the power to control the way I view myself- which is honestly so frustrating and a hard cycle to get out of. I have relied on others to tell me what to do and what to be. That has ultimately made me forget the person I once was and obstructed the person I could’ve been.

So when did this dependency on others begin you may ask? In secondary school. This is where my prepubescent, oblivious self learnt that people actually cared about your appearance and who you were. I realised a lot of people started questioning my character and everything I did, seemed like it was examined under a microscope. I was trapped under a bell jar. Feeling like subject of everyone’s experiment, I felt like my every move was judged and interrogated by others. Thus I became slightly paranoid and very self conscious. I remember this boy in year seven who told me that I was pretty but I’d be way more prettier if I lost a few pounds and did my eyebrows (I had a unibrow). I never had a problem with my eyebrows before that, I didn’t even know what a mirror was let alone a unibrow. Heck, did I even need deodorant in the early days of year seven?! I don’t think he knew that this comment would scar me as much as it did. But it really did, a few weeks later after he had uttered those words to me…guess what I did. I begged my mum to get my eyebrows “fixed” and so we went to get them done. Threading. It was not fun and very painful. I even started carrying a mirror everywhere I went. Going to the bathroom after every lesson became a habit. Yeah you guessed it, I was obsessed with the way I looked. How everyone else saw me was how I saw myself. That was the first of many times I let someone’s opinions or comments drive my actions. Even now till this day I sometimes look in the mirror and probe my appearance the same way he did to me.

Secondary school was just completely different to how things were like in primary school. Before secondary, I was so sociable and vivacious, I didn’t care about what anyone thought about me. I was just a chubby carefree kid. But secondary school kind of dulled that down and I was left with an almost empty shell of the person I once was. Allowing people to dictate the way I saw myself, is THE ONLY mistake I regret in life … okay I consider it to be one of the greatest mistakes of my life. I have made many more mistakes after that but those stories can be told another day.

So how did I change all of this? Well in year 11 I had a mini mental breakdown and ultimately I just didn’t know who I was and where I was going in life. That’s when I realised something had to change. Like they say first step to recovery is acceptance. I had to accept that there was something wrong with my self destructive actions. I found new interests. Instead of focusing on looking a certain way for other people I did it for me. I read more, I wrote more and I started doing street photography.

But let’s be honest I am still lost and I am not the most confident person in the world. But one thing I will say is I am getting there. I will get there one day!

I am not perfect and I do still tend to dip in and out of my old habits. Old habits do die hard… very hard. Like SO hard. But creating this blog is one of my first steps to murdering that bastard of a habit. I don’t care what people say about this blog I just want to share my experiences and thoughts and opinions. So if you can relate then great we can be on this journey together.

Long story short… Don’t care about what people think about you because you won’t be you anymore. And there’s nothing worse than not knowing who the hell you are. Caring about what people think about me is still something I struggle with till this day however it’s something I can and will overcome. You can too! Something I’ve learnt is that the worth of yourself or your work should never be placed in the hands of others. As a creative, it is yours to have full dominion over. Don’t let anyone else define who YOU are or your work!

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

A.H

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