Recently, I have been reminded by numerous incidents that I excel at paranoia and always assuming the worst-case scenario with regard to what other people think of me. Even though I steadfastly believe that nobody should worry about what other people think of them, I still do it with alarming regularity. And I have to wonder, why? Why do any of us worry so much about what other people think? And why do some of us go to such great lengths to make sure that no one thinks even one, single negative thought about us? It’s insane and pointless and destructive. And I’m bound and determined to stop the madness.

It’s one thing to pause to consider legitimate criticism or a concern that has been voiced and made clear and factual. Consider it, address it, and let it go (although that’s easier said than done, too). It’s another thing altogether to worry needlessly over perceived, unvoiced concerns or criticisms that may not even exist except in your own mind. If you think someone doesn’t like something that you’ve said or done, ask them. Don’t wonder; don’t worry; don’t hesitate–ask. While it’s true that when some people are confronted directly with these kinds of questions, they will not admit to the negative feelings they may be harboring, most people welcome the opportunity to either express the negative thought they might have been holding onto or have the chance to ease your mind and tell you that you were way off base. Either way, you know something more than you did when you were just letting things stew on the burners of your mind until your thoughts become too hot to handle.

Perhaps even more importantly, if you are fairly sure that something you’ve said or done has angered or upset someone else, but whatever it is that you have said or done needed to be said or done and you did it in the nicest way possible, then let that go, too. Sometimes people are going to get angry with you and not like you, and that is just the way of life.

Please don’t think I’m offering up sage words of wisdom or advice to anyone but me! That’s the beauty of this blog. I can talk out loud to myself without attracting the attention of those sitting near me. ‘Cause if I did that, then I would have to wonder what those people were thinking of me….