Thursday, July 22, 2010

GUEST POST: I Wish I Knew Now...

I have a special guest post today from Elizabeth (Confessions From A Working Mom). I read this and there are absolutely so many parts I could have written myself!  Hope you enjoy it...

On the outside, I am someone who seems pretty self-confident.

I've gone out to dinner and a movie alone, and really enjoyed myself.

I've gone to work on Fridays (ok, ok, and sometimes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and the occasional Thursday) without a lick of makeup on my face, and my unwashed hair in a greasy ponytail.

I've even ended friendships I found toxic, making a clean break without looking back.

But on the inside, I care-- desperately, passionately, all-consumingly-- about what others think of me. When I think I've offended someone, or think I've made a bad impression, I can keep myself awake for hours at night, conjuring up fictional "what I should have said" conversations. I can obsess over the most minute details; does so-and-so think I don't like them, because I didn't stop and chat with him/her at work today? Will so-and-so be angry with me because I skipped this week's playdate to hang out with a different group of friends?

I could go on and on...

It's a tough dichotomy: being who you are without ruffling somebody else's feathers. How do you do it? If you stray too far to one extreme, you can come across as callous, unfeeling, even disengaged. But on the opposite end, catering to another person's feelings 24/7 can compromise your personality, and leave you struggling to find your center, your balance, your sense of self.

Is there a happy medium?

I think as I get older, I get closer to finding that happy medium. I learn-- through my own experiences, and through the shared experiences of my family and friends-- that it's ok to be me. That doesn't mean I don't worry about the consequences of my sometimes-bad behavior. On the contrary, I think it's just my human nature to focus on things I can't control (or, more rightly said, things I can't control as much as I'd like to).

So the next time I see you on the street, and I don't meet your gaze full-on with a wide, white smile, don't worry... I'll do enough of that for the both of us.



Elizabeth is a freelance writer. She is currently a resident writer for OnlineSchools.org, which researches areas of higher learning, online colleges, and education. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing down her toddler, who is usually trying to chase down the family dog, who is usually trying to chase down the mailman.

12 comments:

DANICA said...

I love your blog...Follow mine if you'd like: http://30somethingworkaholic.blogspot.com/

I look forward to reading more about you!

shortmama said...

I am definitely one that cares less and less what others think as I get older. Those that love me are the ones who know me

MiMi said...

I'm with shortmama...
although, there are times, lately, when I get so insecure that I almost can't function.
Which is very rare for me and makes me really upset at myself and very embarrassed and makes me even more insecure. :(

Dee Crowe said...

I sooo relate to this post...BUT...I'm almost 42 now and I find I don't really care what others think of me and my personality nearly as much as I used to...on the back end of that..I also don't have as many friends as I used to..but I also look at that as, the friends I still DO have, are the ones who appreciate me for me, and I really appreciate them.

{Kimber} said...

I can also relate so much with this post! Elizabeth is awesome I just love her!! :)

purseblogger said...

I am with Shortmama too. Even though it's still hard at times, I am becoming more and more that way. Those who truly love me for me are my friends. Like you Vanessa. Love you!

Tiffany said...

a lot of people think i don't care what others think of me. i think i have a mean face or something. i don't know. i care a lot though and also have those 'what i should have said convos' because i clearly enjoy making myself crazy.

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

Thanks for all the feedback, ladies! This post was TRULY written from the heart... I'm glad it connects with so many of you!

~Elizabeth

Confessions From A Working Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Home In The Hollow said...

Don't feel cranky, don't feel sad, don't feel blue and don't feel bad!

Erin said...

I think I pretend not to care, but I can't help myself...deep down I think I'll always give others too much credit and worry what they think of me. Which is a sad way to live. I need to shake it. Break free. Some days are better than others.

Home In The Hollow said...

It sounds as if you are on the way to knowing that you are whole and don't need to chase others to be complete! You will radiate yourself to others like the sunshine feeds every living thing...:)