I just returned form the supermarket where I was dawdling around, pressing my lips tightly in deep thought over what I should make for dinner – when a group of three twenty-something girls gasped and one whispered to a level that was easily heard by most of aisle three “Oh – there she is!”. The three girls stopped in their tracks and looked back at me, one whispered to the other two “Do you want to get a photo with me?”.
I turned back – initially not sure what they were talking about, and caught them mid place looking at me and whispering to one another. I continued to check out the spice section and could see and hear them out of the corner of my eye whispering and staring and started to get a bit ‘nervy’ and had a few sneaky butterflies in my stomach, as I felt my cheeks start to blush and pulse start to raise.
I continued on as the thoughts started to race through my mind. Why the hell were they looking at me? What was I wearing, did it look ridiculous? (Surely they had seen a pair of running tights, runners and a white singlet before!!?). Had they seen me doing something somewhere and recognised me as a ‘wow – look at that weird’ passer-by? Had they known me from somewhere? (Kind of weird that they would want to take a photo with me if that was the case – a general ‘Hey there or Hi would have done!). Had they perhaps read my blog or followed my instagram page @_perfectlyshe_ and recognised me? (Don’t be so stupid – you are not a celeb lady, pull your head in!!).
It was puzzling me for the rest of the shopping trip (enough to the point that when I did eventually get home, I had forgotten half of the ingredients that I’d started putting together for tonight’s dinner – guess it’s stir fry with no noodles or tofu!!), and I remained in a state of wonder and anxious excitement, with a hint of feeling down in the dumps.
It did get me to start thinking about being more mindful of my thoughts, actions and responses. I had been working on trying to re-program my thoughts over the past few weeks to try and break out of the ‘instant negativity’ that had over-grown my brain like a crawling weed in my Grandma’s backyard. In this case – the girls were clearly looking at me and talking, which left me feeling really uncomfortable, particularly as I couldn’t quite hear the details of their giggly discussion.
My initial reaction was to think the worst as I felt my should start to lift closer towards my head, my body tense up and my expression turn to an almost tensely and over-concentrated look. I was so nervous and anxious to be honest!
Being able to step away from the situation and think about what happened, who they were, what they said, how they said it and how my body and thoughts started to react to it.
My brain instantly felt a sense of ‘safety’ in it’s usual way of thinking and told myself that it was definitely a negative perspective; they must of seen you do something stupid in the past or noticed that you looked or acted in an unusual ‘that’s different’ kind of way. Why would it be anything other than that?
The thing was – although it took me back and made me feel extremely uncomfortable and undeserving; who’s to say that they hadn’t read something I had written or posted? What gives my mind the right to take that excitement away from me and let me enjoy the moment of something that means a lot to me, that I have been working so hard towards building? Who says that I don’t deserve to keep a small (yeah, ok, VERY small!) positive outcome of the work I had been doing?
It’s funny – as a society, we are very quick to judge and to critique anyone who is either in the spotlight, who has achieved something or who is working they way into developing a brand or name for themselves (commonly known as ‘the tall poppy syndrome’). I’ve sat in a group and pretended to be a ‘fly on the wall’, as I just listened to the conversations others have had about certain people and things that they had done. It’s quite astounding how high the percentage of negative criticism takes over the large part of the conversation, compared to the one or two sentences that may be more positive, forgiving, realistic and reasonable, when much of the time that person of the conversation has done nothing wrong apart from getting their name to be hitting the line up of ‘dinner table conversations’.
I won’t say that I have never taken part in this type of conversation, it is partly human nature to be interested in delving into other people’s lives – but 90% of the time I am very conscious not to. The reason being – we have NO idea of how they got to where they are, who they are as a ‘real person’ and the hardships they may have come across to get to where they are now. Everyone has their story and deserves to be given the respect and praise that they have usually worked hard to develop.
Part of human nature and the way that we learn is through experience, so even if it was the case that the person did something in the past that wasn’t the ‘best’ option – who cares? Learn from it and MOVE ON!!
These criticisms have grown to not only be towards others in society, but how do we expect to think about ourselves in a positive light if we cannot do so for anyone else?
One thing that many of us have grown to learn is to never be ‘too confident’, ‘too happy’ or ‘too appreciative’ of ourselves. It’s terrible. And it is this thought process that leads many of us to develop huge confidence issues, mental health issues and an inability to trust ourselves enough to set challenges that we would never dream of. To think positively about your own self stems off towards those around you. Conversations turn from such negativity to more positive – including those conversations we have inside our own ‘crazy’ minds.
So – as I drove down the road home from the supermarket, I decided that I would take my last option of thoughts. I’d leave thinking that the attention was for something positive; maybe the development of my business (it’s funny, as I write this now I almost feel a sense of embarrassment, similar to that feeling of giving a speech in front of class at school!) and the related blog and instagram posts.
At the end of the day – not one other person knows what I am thinking. The person who benefits from this is ME. I would much rather go to sleep tonight giving myself a mini high five and feeling like a giggling school girl, than slouching under my covers of my bed in the fear of something that the girls (who – I don’t even know, so what right do they have in making me feel upset?!) MAY have said.
Be mindful. Listen to the thoughts in your mind and the physical response of your body – now focus on improving this. Before long, you will learn to do it naturally and let me tell you – a much happier, confident and better person to yourself and those close to you.