Caring what people think

I want to talk about what people think of me.

Let’s be honest we all like to think that we don’t care about what others think of us, some of us even believe it when we say it, but we all have someone whose opinion matters to us.

For many years I suffered greatly by obsessing over what people thought of me. I always tried to be the good person who was not controversial and was a good friend no matter what that person did I stood by them (to a point obviously, I mean I completely dropped a friend who slept with my boyfriend – years later I found out this never happened though, she was just jealous of our relationship). Now I am older and (hopefully) wiser I realise that being this way meant that I was in some toxic relationships, with men for sure and even with friends. I was friends with someone for over a decade and the first time I did something she didn’t like (which by the way was spending too much time with my new boyfriend and asking her if she was sure about the guy she was about to marry after I caught her crying every night for a week) she completely removed herself from my life overnight and kicked me out of her house (she had asked me to move in to help her pay the mortgage) and lied to all of our friends saying that I had walked out and left her with no money. WTF? I learned a lot from that experience and I am pleased to say that I have not had a toxic friendship since.

After the incident above I did a lot of soul searching because I didn’t really understand what had happened and then it occurred to me that no matter how much she upset me and hurt me and did things that were horrible I never spoke up about it. I kept my hurt feelings to myself and felt that I must have deserved it. When I fell into serious depression following the sudden death of my grandfather and leaving an emotionally abusive relationship she withdrew from me and would stop inviting me out places. When I organised a NYE party she organised something else and convinced everyone to go (I even found out much later she told some of them that I had cancelled the party and was going to be there), but I told myself that she was right and I wasn’t good company and it wasn’t her job to babysit me while I felt sorry for myself. Dammit that is the DEFINITION of a best friend; they should be there for the smiles and the shit! I was reasonably good friends with her boyfriend and after they broke up he and I became very close friends (and still are to this day actually). Even though he lived far away he would visit me most weekends and spend time with me, we went out a lot and he helped me get out from under my depression cloud. He is a very good person and one of my best friends.

Through this friendship (which was never anything more than that even though she wanted to pretend it was, I have a lot of love for him, but there were never “romantic” feelings attached) I learnt a lot about myself. I learnt that I was a pleaser; I would do my upmost to ensure someone was happy even to the detriment of myself. This had a great impact on my depression because obviously if I was spending all my time pleasing others there was very little time left to make me happy. His friendship has taught me that the perfect friend isn’t one who pleases you all the time, it is one who is brutally honest with you, it is someone who will be there through the shit and the smiles and it is someone who is proud to be your friend.

I am a very different person to who I was back then, generally speaking I am a happy, positive person. I am still a bit of a people pleaser (mostly at work, but I think that is expected haha), but I do a lot more for my own joy now than I used to. The old me pushed herself and became bulimic trying to fit in and fight my way to the top and get more pay, the new me realised that whilst I adore music and writing, I am not the kind of person that would survive well in that kind of industry. I also realised that I am passionate about literacy, research and books and I decided that I wanted to spend my life doing those things and am now a Librarian.

I have spent a lot of time over the past few years telling myself that others opinions do not matter and for the most part they don’t. This does not mean I do not have a moral compass, it just means that if I want to do something like jump on the back of my Hubby’s Harley, I do it because I want to and enjoy myself and do my best not to worry that someone might think there should be a wide load sticker across my ass. I have also found the true audience whose opinions matter and I would do pretty much anything to keep looking fabulous in their eyes… my nieces and nephews.

Ella3

If someone in the street calls me a fat ass I might get very down and possibly resolve not to eat anything but carrots for a week, then I get home to find my nieces are visiting. They run full pelt at me screaming my name knowing I will catch them and hug them and kiss them. Then they invite me to a tea party with cupcakes they made with Nan that day (and invisible tea) and I forget about the ignoramus on the street and I forget about the carrot promise because none of that matters. All that matters is eating a cupcake with two beautiful little girls who are looking at me like I am a living Goddess or an Amazonian heroine and certainly the best thing since sliced bread. So I take my cake and eat it too 🙂

Mmm cupcakes!

Mmm cupcakes!

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About DitchTheBun

I work in a Public Library full time as the Reference & Information Services Librarian. It is a full on, busy role with much variety and many challenges and I love it! I love being able to be part of selecting books for our library service too, so amazing!!! I love the idea of thinking about our patrons and what they might enjoy reading. I have strange sometimes very outside the box ideas that I want to try at work, I just need to convince others of how awesome my ideas are. Saving the Library, one awesome plan at a time. Hmm... I need a cape - all the awesome super heroes have a cape! View all posts by DitchTheBun

16 responses to “Caring what people think

  • lusciouswords

    I just started following you after seeing one of your comments to one of Ragen’s posts on Dances with Fat, and now I understand why responded to your blog and profile – you and I are both recovering people pleasers. As I was reading your blog, I kept wondering if you had crawled inside my mind. 🙂

    I even went through the abusive friendship situation, which ended up leading me to a group of people that helped me learn what friendship really is. I met my best friend from this group of people, and we are there for one another through the crappy times and the joyous times. Like you said, that is what best friends do.

    • DitchTheBun

      Happy to meet a fellow recovering people pleaser. I have to admit I still do it, mostly for my family, particularly my Mum and Dad, but I think that is okay 🙂
      We totally need a 12 step program for this, it can easily be a quite damaging personality trait to have.

  • mamajo23

    I am so happy you are in a good place. I think if we are lucky self acceptance comes with age and if we are really lucky- it comes early enough not to waste all our years consumed by other’s opinions. Life is truly lived inside our own head and internal dialogue so if I find myself going down a rabbit hole of ‘I’m not good enough or pretty enough’ I just change my internal dialogue and it all disappears. So much power we have over our own happiness and confidence. I enjoy following you- thank you for sharing!

    • DitchTheBun

      I think you are so right. I was really lucky and this understanding came before I was 25 (only just though) so I have had a few years to work myself out. I think some days are harder than others when convincing yourself that you are enough, but the important thing is that we keep trying 🙂
      Thanks so much, I love having you here 🙂

  • EmilyMaine

    What a moving post. You should be so proud of yourself for how far you have come! I think we all let toxic people into our lives from time to time – especially when young. It is only now that I’m older that I realise how much I actually just don’t have time for people who I don’t like all that much or for people who don’t make me feel good!!! It is one of those life lessons and some people never actually learn it their whole life. You should be proud of yourself that you did (and that dude sounds like an awesome friend!). Actually I always like to think there are reasons people come into our lives. That girl taught you SO much AND she brought you a true best friend. You should send her a thank you card LOL She would be SO confused.

    • DitchTheBun

      “I actually just don’t have time for people who I don’t like all that much or for people who don’t make me feel good” – this is totally how I feel too! He is an amazing friend!
      You’re right I totally should thank her hahaha. The funny thing is that I forgave her for it years ago, I just couldn’t be bothered with anything like a grudge so I let it go. Meanwhile it is now 8 or 9 years later and we still have friends in common, but whenever she is asked to any events at their house she immediately asks if I am going and if I am then she will refuse to go. Apparently I learned much from her, but she learned nothing 🙂

  • My Perfect Breakdown

    I love how far you’ve come in terms of being a people pleaser – it sounds like you are in such a good place today and that’s nothing short of phenomenal! I’m a very strong willed person and yet I am also willing to put my needs behind everyone else – it’s taken me years to see just how much of a problem this is. And, it’s now taking me a lot of effort to learn that I don’t have to please everyone, and I still greatly struggle with actually implementing it. Reading this post, I was inspired. Thank you.

    • DitchTheBun

      You are very welcome. It is a hard thing to talk about and only fellow people pleasers like you understand that because putting that out there really makes you quite vulnerable. It kind of feels like a weakness hahaha.
      I still struggle with it all the time, but I am moving through it. For instance Hubby mentioned on the weekend that he was annoyed that my clean washing was still folded up in the basket and not put away. I said that I didn’t know it was there until it was almost 11 and that I put away half, but was going to bed. A few years ago I would have stayed up putting that stuff away even though I resembled the walking dead hahaha.

  • Amy M.

    What a crap thing that your old friend did to you. I used to take a lot of BS from people because I just wanted everyone to like me. It took a long time for me to realize that I need to be happy myself first. I’m glad you’ve realized that too. And it’s so true that the people who truly love you, love you for who you are. And that’s all that matters. 🙂

  • bhicks321

    If I could favorite this a million times, I would. It’s amazing how alike we are. And no matter what any idiot on the street says, or old jealous friends, I think you are a beautiful, intelligent, funny, STRONG woman! I wish we lived closer because we’d definitely hang out.

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