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Public Opinion vs Insecurities

I live near a beach.

My city’s beach is a favorite vacation spot.  Thanks to Facebook and the beach, I’ve been able to connect with friends I haven’t seen in years.

Last Friday, I met up with Patricia, a high school friend I haven’t seen in over twenty years.  I also got to meet her children.

The hugs were heartfelt as we greeted one another, and we quickly settled into a comfortable conversation.

We caught up on each others’ occupations (I’d always thought she stayed home full-time because of the pictures I’d seen on Facebook).

We discussed our husbands’ occupations and, of course, our children.

Slowly, the conversation turned deeper.

Something I’d mentioned earlier about being insecure around groups of people became a topic we discussed further.

The school we went to was very small.  It was, after all, located in a teensy town off the beaten path.

I don’t know why, but I found myself opening up to Patricia in a way I don’t open up to others often.

Yes, I know that may surprise you given my gift of gab, both written and in person if you know me in real life.

I told Patricia how I’d always felt inferior to Super Sis, who excelled at cheerleading, always had perfect hair, and could put outfits together like nobody’s business.

Patricia surprised me then by saying that she’d never looked at us that way.

I.

Was.

Shocked.

I’ve lived a lot of my life in the shadow of my sister.

It’s not her fault.  She’s just been living her life.

It’s my fault, allowing teenage insecurities along with tough life situations I dealt with while still a youngster, to affect my approach to life and my perception of how others view me.

Patricia told me that she shares some of the same insecurities that I do…worrying about wearing the right thing, saying the right thing, and doing the right thing.

Interesting, eh?

She was a cheerleader and an excellent student.

She had a lot of friends…probably because of her quick smile and gentle nature.

We had such a wonderful visit in that ice cream parlor, and I hated to part ways.

As I drove home, I had tears in my eyes.

Patricia’s words, “I never saw you that way,” really touched me.

Her words made me wonder, too, how those I grew up with really saw me.

It was funny because her husband, who was in her class (thus I knew him too) called her while we were talking and told her that since I was always so smart in school, could I help him convert ounces to teaspoons?  For the record, I was never good at math, but thanks to technology and a little thing called “Google,” I quickly found the answer for him.

Still, it revealed another opinion someone had of me while I was younger.

All of this makes me wonder why we, as humans, allow ourselves to stay stuck inside of our insecurities.

Why do we allow these insecurities to dictate the decisions we make.

How often have you NOT done something because of your fear of what others might think.

That doesn’t mean you have to sing in public if you have a voice like mine.  No sense breaking wine glasses or anything.

Still, though, if you’re singing out to make someone laugh or because you love someone, does it really matter what others think?

Even if you don’t have a good reason for singing out or dancing or doing a herky jerky (that’s a cheerleader jump, I think) while in the middle of a crowd, why let what others think stop you?

I think we hide behind our insecurities because it’s the safest thing to do.

To do otherwise takes courage.

It means we’re willing to step outside of our comfort zone.

Just think of the fun we’ve missed out on.

What if we’ve missed out on undiscovered talents or new interests, simply because we wouldn’t give ourselves permission to spread our wings and try to fly?

Super Sis and I have talked about this topic.  It’s neat to have adult conversations with your adult siblings, isn’t it?

When Super Sis and I first began broaching this subject, I discovered something.

She’d had some of the same fears I’d had growing up.

Dang.

Instead of arguing so much, we should have been having hearts-to-hearts while we were growing up.  We sure missed out on a lot!!

Sharing with Patricia reminded me that I am not alone, but it was neat to see her huge smile as she, too, had that “Aha” moment where she realized the same thing.

I think where it comes to public opinion, we’d all be very surprised to find that what others think of us is vastly different from what we think they think of us, if you’re following my logic.

Things to think about.

Yeah, I can get deep sometimes.

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4 Responses

  1. My husband paid me a compliment last night about a quality I didn’t think I posessed but he assured me I do. It surprised me. I think we are our own worst enemy most of the time.

  2. I did that, do that, and will continue to do that the rest of my life probably. It’s human nature. I will try to think of this post when I get in a situation like that again. Thank you!

  3. What a great post! 🙂 Thanks for this!

  4. I agree with you on this. I think I’ve missed out on a lot of life worrying about what other people think. Hoping I’m learning to not do this so much. Thanks for this great reminder.

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