If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a pretty sensitive person. I cry at ads on tv, I feel physically moved if I see someone struggling when I’m out and about, and sometimes it can take me days to get over an emotional movie (Wonder, I’m talking about you).
I think being sensitive is a strength. It means you’re compassionate, care about other people and are always looking for ways to help people or make their day a little better.
But it becomes a problem when you care too much about what other people think. When it comes to this, for me it’s complicated. I’m a confident person when it comes to the decisions I make and how I live my life. But put me outside my comfort zone, and I’m a trembling mess.
I’ve learned to really push myself outside my comfort zone within the last year or so, and I’ve found that being aware of needing to push my boundaries and do things out of the ordinary has really helped. But there are still some things that I really struggle with.
For example, taking blog photos in a public place. Every time I drag my boyfriend outside to take photos of me somewhere, I find myself scanning the area for anyone who passes by, my palms sweaty and thinking, ‘oh my God, they definitely think I’ve lost the plot and am totally self-obsessed. Who do I think I am taking these photos? I’m not Gigi Hadid!’
This usually results in me mumbling and telling my boyfriend to forget it, that I didn’t really want to take photos anyway. But it’s what he’s told me the past few times we’ve gone out to take photos that has really changed my thinking.
‘Amy, so what if they look? What does it matter? You’re never going to see these people again. They don’t care,’ he tells me. And he’s right.
Every time he tells me that, I take a deep breath and say, ‘okay, let’s keep going.’ And it’s worked wonders for me. Even on the day we went out to take these photos, I didn’t worry about the people who were passing by. Don’t get me wrong, we were standing in a park on a busy Sunday morning, not in the middle of Grafton Street, but still. I paid no attention to the dog-walkers and coffee-drinkers and just focused on what we were doing.
What does it really matter if someone I don’t know looks twice while I’m trying to look half decent in an outfit photo for my blog that I work hard on and am trying to grow? I don’t know them, they don’t know me, there’s a 99% chance I’ll never see them again and, realistically, they’re probably just interested to see what’s going on. That’s all.
It’s funny because sometimes I find myself caring so much about what people I don’t even know think. If someone on the Dart thinks I’m odd for laughing at a funny tweet I just read, or whether I took ages to move away from the till after ordering a coffee, if I look like I’m lost in thought while I’m walking down the road.
What does it matter what people we don’t know think of us? Once we know that we’re a good person, and that our family and friends agree, isn’t that all that matters?
When it comes down to it, there’s a very big chance that the person you think is judging you is actually so focused on themselves that they haven’t even noticed the ‘weird’ thing you just think you did.
In this crazy, busy, brilliant world, we’re all quite focused on our own lives and thinking of what to make for dinner, that we need to finish that project and that we must call our granny. Not paying attention to someone we don’t even know.
So next time you find yourself thinking, ‘what will other people say? what will they think?’ remind yourself that it’s what you think of your decisions that matters. Not the opinion of some stranger or someone who hardly even knows you.
Ultimately, you have to do what makes you happy (once it’s not harming anyone else). Life is too short to hold yourself back for fear or being judged or commented on. Be confident in the decisions you make and you do you.
That’s what I’m trying to do more of in 2018, and it’s working out pretty well.
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