There is a certain kind of self-loathing we all experience that makes it easy to let go of the ways that it’s healthy to focus on ourselves. It’s become more normalized to hate what other people are doing than to hate the way we think about other people. We think that how we are seen as a whole is more important than how we see ourselves, which in turns affects who we are and how we do act because our actions and choices stop being about us and start being about the image of us. This allows us to believe we play a vital role in other peoples lives by caring about what they are doing, wearing, saying, and being – but we don’t.
If we focus our what-if’s inwards and upwards, we can make our societies more comfortable and safe places for others to do the same. When we focus on our own places it becomes clear that the best way to fit in isn’t to change everyone else’s stance, but to alter our own. It becomes clear that society is not a puzzle in which every persons piece has to fit nicely with another’s to create a viable picture, but that we are a mosaic in which we create our own space and work within ourselves and our communities to create our own images of self.
So what if the business of other people wasn’t our business? What if it doesn’t matter if we know someones gender? What if it doesn’t matter if we understand everyones story? What if that rumour really is true? Does it change our own identities? Does it change theirs? And how much time have we wasted worrying about others when we could have used that energy to better ourselves, to be observant of why we feel the need to criticize and commentate?
It’s easy to project our insecurities and discomforts onto other people. It’s easy to point out the things about ourselves that make us uncomfortable in another person because it makes us feel less alone. Less isolated. What if bringing light to these things doesn’t bring us closer, but actually distances us? What if in trying to connect with people, we disconnect them from us or worse – disconnect from ourselves?
There is negativity in comparison. In comparing how we feel to how people react. In comparing who we are to who we want to be. In putting energy into making comparisons instead of making changes. We do not need to focus on why we don’t like someone else’s shoes, and focus more on where our own may take us.
We have taken away the aspects of this that help us grow and instead leave us paralyzed. We start believing that what others think has more weight than what we think because we are under the impression that what we think of others matters more than what they think of themselves. We’ve become too comfortable forming opinions instead of forming understanding.
Our choices start becoming projections of what is easy for us to see in others instead of what it is true for us to be. We start making decisions based on how we fit into other peoples peripheral vision instead of how we fit into our own bodies and minds and clothes. Who we are has become less about our true nature and more about the truth that society will see. We put up a face to protect our own.
But what if we started making choices for ourselves? What if we started realizing all the ways others lives and decisions don’t have to affect us? What if we realized that what other people think of us doesn’t define us? What if we realized that it doesn’t matter if other people care, and caring about what others thinks takes away from caring for ourselves ?
It’s time to put intention back into our lives. And I intend to be good. I intend to grow. I intend to realize that if I am trying to fit in, that it will always be a tight squeeze. I intend to view myself in a positive manner and let everyone else choose for themselves who they are – not let them be limited to only what we see.
Written by Forest Greenwell