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How do I stop caring what others think?

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  • This topic has 235 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by anita.
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  • #342800
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    at the moment, I worry a lot about work. I work together closely with two people, A and B.

    A is a very energetic and strong person. Everyone relies on her and she likes to take on a lot of responsibility. Sometimes I get the feeling: what would the company do without her? But I also worry that she doesn’t take such good care of herself. For a long time she stayed longer and even came to work when sick! I like her and appreciate her. Having her around makes me feel secure, if I am unsure I can ask her, but I try my best also to become stronger. I admire her for her energy and strength, at the same time she shows a more vulnerable side when talking about her children. On the other hand, sometimes communication can be difficult… especially if she doesn’t like someone…

    B is a very sensitive and warm person. She really gets along with everyone and seems to be a caring and honest person. She also is good at communication, if she sees a problem, she will address it directly. I like how she always takes time to talk to everyone, buys birthday presents and is very thoughtful and empathetic. She also had a burnout before she came to work at our place. Everyone knows that.

    The work is very much. You always have something to do and often I leave something for another day. Plus, there are clients calling or needing help all day long. Usually I don’t worry so much. I try to do my best, and if I can’t do it, I will just do the most important things and do the rest at another time. But I worry about my colleagues. I also listen to them, when A tells me that she is working a lot, or when B tells me she isn’t feeling well and cannot take a break…

    Sometimes A said about B: what is she doing all day? Because A says she works on another project all day, which she has the main responsibility for. And she doesn’t help with the other tasks so much. But I think she does help. I don’t really know what she is doing, I am only focused on my own tasks, so I don’t pay attention to what the others do. I don’t care when A does a lot of other stuff for others and sometimes left our room for longer periods and I also don’t care when B focuses on her project. What bothers me is the miscommunication.

    A apparently A never talked to B about it. But on Friday A said to me: meeting on Monday about the distribution of tasks. Then I already felt worried but also didn’t ask for more. And I wasn’t sure who would be in the meeting, maybe just the three of us, I thought. I should have asked more.

    Today was the meeting and there were two of the managers there. We went through who did which tasks and it seemed I was doing a lot, but I don’t know. I cannot say how much time the work of B takes, but A says that it isn’t much. They asked B about all the things she has to do.

    After the meeting B was upset and said she got the impression that they were telling her that she isn’t doing enough. And that they only saw the tings that were missing, but not how much we had improved. She also showed me a paper from her doctor about her burnout and asked if she should show this again to the managers. I listened to B (A was somewhere else). I also said, when A and B were both there, that we all tried our best, but A did not reply. She left the room and later came back and said to  me: “sorry,I did not listen to what you said”. And I tried again and started to say “I am worried about the both of you”, but a client came in and the conversation got interrupted again. I gave up. B also tried, but the conversation got interrupted again and I also have the impression that A did not really want to talk.

    B talked to me about her sorrows and I got very worried. I asked myself: should I have stood up more for her? Should I have told A to directly talk to B instead of me?

    At the end of the workday I was the only one left and the manager came to me and asked: “how was our discussion for you?” And I was so worried and feeling passionate that I told her: “B is working all the time and we all know she had a burnout” The manger said, we know that she works all the time, we just need to find out what takes up so much of her time. The others (other companies involved in the project) also need to do their share.” Then she also talked about other points from the discussions about other things.

    Later I thought, it was probably wrong to say that to the boss about B. At the moment it just burst out of me and I wanted to stand up for B. But maybe I have misunderstood everything??

    Like often, I took on too much responsibility. B is a grown up woman and can stand up for herself. A and B can resolve their problems without me. Next time I will tell them: please talk directly to each other. Maybe listen, but not get too involved.

    I would like everybody to get along. The situation is stressful for me, I am trying to understand everyone, but I don’t know the solution.

    Maybe I should just stick to my job! Still be empathetic of course, but not get involved into conflicts…

    On a more positive note, last Sunday I went back to the exercise class. The week before I was just too late to talk to the instructor and went to an art gallery instead. I talked to the trainer and she was very friendly and kind. She encouraged me during the class and also came to me after the class and said that I have done well. I don’t think I will go back to the class though, because it is a little too advanced for me and also the attention made me feel a bit embarrassed and like an attention whore…. But I am glad I did it and passed the courage test.

    About what you wrote above: I am starting to understand better the power of thoughts. Now I feel I know what it means to let your thoughts pass and that they are only thoughts. I am trying to pause my distressing thoughts, but I am not there yet. I try to focus on the moment, but when I am distressed, it is hard. I guess the long paragraph above shows that I haven’t mastered it yet.

    I try to do something different now and not to think so much about the situation. I tried my best, but it wasn’t really the best strategy, I guess. I wanted only the best for everyone involved…

    I think I will draw for a bit now. I hope you have a good day!

    #342840
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    Regarding the work part of your recent post: the meeting with the two managers and employees was an excellent initiative so to resolve A’s complaints about B not doing enough. But notice: two managers led that meeting, it was their job to do so, not yours. I mean, you are not one of the managers.

    You did well standing up for B when the manager asked you the question, your answer was excellent.

    Overall, I think that you communicated well with all involved, but I understand the lingering doubts regardless of what I perceive to be an excellent inter-personal performance on your parts (communicating well with A, with B and with the managers). Over time with continued practice, your doubts will get weaker, and your confidence will grow more and more.

    If and when A approaches you, complaining about B (and she shouldn’t, she should approach a manager instead), tell her that you like her and that you like B as well, and that you sure hope both get along better with each other. You can also repeat part of what she will tell you, for example, if she complains about being too tired, doing more than her share of work, and that B is not doing enough, you can repeat to her what she told you (not including the complaint about B)in an empathetic tone of voice: you feel tired because you work so much.

    On the matter of the exercise class: I too am glad that you  passed the courage test and talked to the trainer, and I am pleased that she reacted kindly to you.

    Back to the work situation: I don’t see that you did or said anything wrong to anyone, so I have no other recommendation than what I wrote to you above. I hope you enjoy your drawing!

    anita

     

    #344170
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you for your advice! It was reassuring to read your words and I will try to act accordingly to your advice.

    I guess I just have a lot of self doubt in my social competences. But I do have some. I can talk well to people, be understanding and empathetic and see the good in people. What I still have to work on though: not trying to please others, paying attention to my own feelings and needs, not avoiding conflict…

    But I am not at all as bad as I thought last year. For example: I am not the roommate from hell! like I felt in the dormitory!I get along well with my new roommates, well one of them is not here very often, but there have been no problems. And with the other one we sometimes talk, and everyone does their share and we are getting to know each other slowly. I don’t feel judged and pressured like in the dormitory, I feel o.K. here, o.K. as I am.

    My biggest fear in the work situation, as in the dormitory is that people will misunderstand me. That they will think horribly about me and accuse me of something… Therefore I fear saying the wrong things and getting too involved. At the same time, I feel for my co-workers and want to help them out.

    B was still sad on Monday. And it makes me sad too… It makes me a bit angry that A complains to me or the managers, but B had no idea until the meeting. Why not go directly to B first? They are friends after all…

    Anyways, this also seems very far away now. The world has suddenly turned into chaos… Monday was my last work day. Now I am on vacation till Tuesday, where a new decision will be made. The company applied for some sort of emergency payment for companies in trouble that don’t want to release their workers. Then we would be payed 60% of our income, while not having to work (you could also do this part time and then come to work for one day for example, getting paid fully for those hours you work). If I understood correctly…

    I will see next week how it goes. If this 60% payment works, I have decided to use the time to at home work for uni, so I will get finally closer to finishing my degree. If I get released I will look for another part time job. Supermarkets are apparently looking for people or farmers search for seasonal workers, as the borders to Poland are closed now… Also I should try to save more money now and become better at budgeting. That is my plan for now. I don’t know, am I being too optimistic?? Does it sound reasonable?

    Also, I try now to create a routine to stay balanced. I have been trying and failing for some time at this, but it would be essential if I am just at home for a longer period… Today at least I journaled and drew. But I want to get better at this.

    What else I would like to incorporate: going for daily walks, reading, Yoga at home using Youtube videos, cleaning daily. I also want to learn more about edible herbs. Collect them, draw them and eat them. But maybe not do all at once. Or it’s o.K. to do only a few things at once. Most important for me is drawing daily and going for a walk is also good. And journaling.

    I don’t know what to expect from the future, hopefully my plans don’t sound naive. They give me a little hope and focus.

    And how are you doing? Do you also have to stay home? Hopefully all is well in your corner of the world! Please take care of yourself!

    I

    #344180
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    You are welcome. Your thinking is reasonable and balanced: you understand that you do have some social skills (I can talk well to people, be understanding and empathetic”) and that you have work to do so to continue to develop a few of your social skills (“not trying to please others, paying attention to my own feelings and needs, not avoiding conflict”).

    I am glad you are getting along well with your roommates., “everyone does their share and we are getting to know each other slowly”- excellent, and I like the slowly part.

    “My biggest fear.. is that people will misunderstand me.. accuse me of something”- it they have good social skills they will verify their assumptions before accusing you of anything. If you notice some dissatisfaction on the face or in the voice of a co-worker (or roommate), say to that person: you look upset, is there anything going on, anything you want to talk to me about? If they answer and refer to something you did or said that they feel badly about, then let them know where they misunderstood you.( If they tell you about something someone else said of did that bothers them- not your responsibility to resolve, so express some empathy or ask the person a simple question that may bring them clarity).

    “Why not go directly to B first?”, you asked regarding A- because A is scared of confronting B, so she goes behind her back, feeling safer this way, I am guessing.

    Staying at home because of the pandemic, will give you the opportunity to get closer to finish your degree, and that’s positive. Saving money and improving budgeting is always a good idea, especially at this time. Working as a seasonal worker in a farm will keep you in good physical shape, and that’s a positive too, plus, in a farm, it is not required that you keep the social distancing with the farm animals (just as my friend Hunter the beagle and I don’t keep social distancing when he visits daily)- this is my attempt at infusing some humor into a somber situation.

    Journaling, drawing and keeping a daily routine, going for a daily walk, (and maybe doing yoga, continuing to learn about edible herbs) is a good plan.

    “am I being too optimistic?? Does it sound reasonable?”- you don’t read to me as too optimistic, but refreshingly optimistic and I appreciate it! You sound reasonable as well, which is something I noticed before I read your question and pointed to it in the beginning of my post to you.

    I am fine. I continue to go on my long daily walk, there is no reason to not go on my walk or spend time outside because there are no people around (I live outside of town, few neighbors and they don’t walk outside, other than a couple of women who walks her dog, but social distancing is kept). Thank you for inquiring and take good care of yourself as well. Post again anytime you need encouragement to continue the excellent progress you are making!

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #345694
    Gav
    Participant

    I’ve been reading through some of the posts from the start and some of the more recent posts and I just wanted to chime in with saying I too struggle a lot worrying what others think. It manifests in two main ways I feel. 1. Preventing me from doing things or saying things and 2. People pleasing.

    #346804
    Doseofreality
    Participant

    I’m just finding a few threads to inspire change in peoples thoughts by provoking them to introspect. We are facing an unprecedented pandemic. Does this make your daily woes any less? No, but your mind is a weapon utilise it well and you can change the way you view everything. Right now you should be seeing the state of world and be thinking if I am the lucky one to make it to the other side..do I still want to be the same person? Will I have not learnt anything for the sanctity of life. There are people gasping for their last breath. You are ALIVE so let go of overthinking what others think. Love yourself and control your own happiness.

     

    #348324
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    It’s been 20 days since we last communicated. I hope you are okay, hoping you will post again, soon.

    anita

    #348448
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    sorry I did not post earlier!

    I am doing o.K. I am healthy, working on my routine (not always succeeding, but sometimes I do).

    Not everything is going great. The 60% payment, my co-workers get it, but not me, because I have another type of contract. So now my contract is “paused” until the end of may, meaning I don’t have to work, they don’t have to pay. But at least I will still have a job after all of this, as long as the company survives this.

    This whole situation leaves me a bit insecure about what to do next. To be honest I have procrastinated on taking action and feel a bit ashamed of myself (I was so optimistic at first..). I think I need to set a time for myself, where I will journal about it to make a decision. Maybe make some calls to inform myself better. At least I have some money saved up to survive the next months.

    To be honest, I would prefer to use that time to just finish my uni projects, but of course, who knows how long all of this will last. My therapist said, there will be no decision that will be 100% satisfactory and that’s why it is so hard. But I will feel better, once I face the problems.

    Besides that, I am o.K., not sick and nobody of my family of friends are sick as well. Self-isolation is not so hard for me, I feel that it not so drastically different from my normal lifestyle. And I still talk on the phone to my parents and my best friend. And I also talk to my roommate. So I am not completely lonely.

    I am very thankful, that I get along well with my roommates. It could be so much worse! But I feel o.K. and at peace here. And I was also thinking about what you said above: “….getting to know each other slowly”- excellent, and I like the slowly part.”

    For me, getting to know others slowly is the only way. Even if others might find it weird, find me distanced… I just need that, to get to know people step by step, or I will only overwhelm myself and do things when I am not ready!

    I also try not to watch too much of the world news. I cannot do anything about it anyways. Of course I stay up to date on the current rules and the most important facts. But on some days, I watched the news the whole day and felt terrible after it.

    My days are like this: I get up at 7 and go for an early morning walk. I try to draw a bit in the morning and also in the afternoon. At the evenings I journal and write down what to do the next day. I am finding out what works and what doesn’t work. Sometimes I still fail.

    Thanks to my walks I have discovered my neighborhood, which I hadn’t explored at all before the pandemic. I am glad that we are still allowed to go for walks! There is a lake nearby, a brook, a graveyard that is like a big park… Nature is not far away at all.

    And I have looked out for herbs during my walks and really observed what is growing. I found wood garlic, dandelion and nettles and have used some of them for cooking. This weekend I want to pick more wood garlic and make some  pesto out of it. I love learning more about wild herbs.

    My conclusion is: I am o.K.: working on my routine, working on my art projects, but also need to make a decision regarding my financial situation.

    How are you doing? Are you still seeing Hunter the baegle? Dogs always seem to be so happy, they know what the good things in life are. And are you still going for your walks?

    hope you are o.K.!

     

     

     

     

    #348450
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear Gav,

    thanks for taking time out to read and reply. I also am familiar with the behaviours you mentioned. But now I am feeling that I am becoming more o.K. with who I am. What helped me was therapy and writing in this forum.

    Slowly I am getting to know myself better. It was also very important to have compassion for myself, instead of beating myself up.Well, I am still worrying a lot about others opinions of me, but it is getting better. I try to remind myself, that others are busy with their own lives and will likely not worry about me 24/7!

    #348464
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear Doseofreality,

    thank you for your response. I am very lucky that during these times I am healthy and overall secure. Not everyone has that.Some are struggling way more, healthwise, economically and psychologically. I am also grateful to live in a country with a reasonable enough leader and a decent health care system.

    I am working on changing my life already. I am trying to change my way of thinking and already I have made some progress. However it is easy to say and not so easy to do. This way of thinking is deeply rooted inside of me and to just discover that beating myself up or shaming myself is not helpful at all (on the contrary) was a big step for me. For such a long time I felt as if I was completely unlovable. Now I sometimes think: somebody could like me. Why not? I also have some good qualities.

    Well, I do not want to stay the same person. I want to become a person I can be proud of. But I also want to be just o.K. with myself and fully accept myself.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by Lily.
    #348492
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    Hunter the Beagle is fine and dandy, but sometimes he’s anxious. He tends to be anxious. Plus he does not obey to the social distancing rules, and I don’t mind. Stinging nettles- they are everywhere around here, and in the past I was stung badly by them! I like eating them, but as you probably know, they are good to pick when young, when they are still short. They grow as tall as 2-3 meters!

    Good thing that you are not listening to a lot of news but keeping informed regarding practical things, that you are getting along with your roommates, that you have some money to keep you going for the next few months, that you will probably get your job back, and that your daily routine did not suffer much because of the pandemic.

    I am about to take my daily walk- hardly anyone ever walks on the loop I take, so there is no problem, as far as social distancing.  Good to read from you, and now, to my walk!

    anita

    #349642
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    it is spring here, so lots of herbs are growing. It’s the right time to pick herbs, and the stinging nettles are good to eat now. So far I used them for smoothies or tea. I also tried a soup but didn’t really like it. And I also made pesto and tried to make ravioli using wood garlic…

    During my walks I was really able to watch the different herbs grow slowly. It is nice to look at them, then look them up in my “plant handbook” (I don’t know the English name) when I come home. So I noticed a lot of new plants that I hadn’t noticed before.

    Going on walks helps, especially observing my surroundings, the birds and plants. When I go, sometimes I see some Runners or people with their dogs, but I try to maintain distance. Also, I go early in the morning, when less people are around.

    Also, I am drawing, finishing old projects. That keeps me from worrying too much. But sometimes I still get worried and sometimes I binge watched videos about Corona news.

    Hm, I am overall o.K., a bit worried, a bit lonely, but o.K.

    Hope you continue to be o.K. as well. At these times, little things like going for a walk or playing with a dog become more and more valuable.

    #349648
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    Good to read from you!

    Regarding stinging nettles, to make a dish out of them: pick the nettles, wash them, drop them into boiling, salted water for about a minute (blanching them), take them out, rinse them in cold water, eat like that, or carmelize onion in butter and put the chopped, blanched nettled in there with some salt and pepper, some garlic, and .. bon appetit!

    Reads like you are doing well. I am fine too, but looking forward to some fearless socializing with other people, the good old days.

    anita

    #350464
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you for the recipe! I will try it some time. It sounds a bit like cooking spinach.

    Yes, I am doing o.K. During the last days I have been drawing consistently, slowly making progress with one of my projects. It still feels like too little, but I am doing better than before.

    Also, I did try out some dance workouts from youtube during the past days. That really made me feel a little better. I have always loved dancing, but as a child I didn’t have the possibility and later  in classes I always felt too self-conscious. So learning from videos is a good choice for me. Even if I look like a fool, nobody can see it! It also doesn’t matter. I am mainly doing it, because it makes me feel in tune with myself and to stay fit.

    I am used to being lonely, so I know how to entertain myself. But sometimes I also miss socializing. With the worries about everyday life, I didn’t really notice. But now I notice more. And I was thinking about a fantasy relationship… How I would cook for someone,spend time together, go outside for a hike in nature and just to be there for each other. How I would like to hug someone, be hugged, just be gentle with each other. But then I also feel that it is impossible. I tell myself: just give up, best to focus on drawing and a simple life, at least there is some hope there. And when I think at my attempts at relationships, I get more depressed.

    Relationships are so difficult for me. I know if there was the possibility, I would be so scared. I would need someone to be really patient with me. I would need myself to be patient with me. There is also this conflict in me about liking to be alone (which feels safe to me) and wanting to be in a relationship (which feels scary).

    I guess recently I was just too much in my own head. Sometimes I talked to my roommates or my parents, but we are also not that close. My best friend is always busy. She still works, even works more. She has her boyfriend, the people at her dormitory. She met a lot of new people there. Well, it’s no wonder, she is amazing. I am happy for her, that she is doing good, but I also miss her. And to be honest, sometimes I feel a bit jealous. Jealous because she has so much time to spend with others, but she barely calls me. Usually I am the one who calls. Also jealous because she is liked by everyone, while I was just the weirdo at the dormitory… But I know it is stupid to compare. We are different people and I am happy (sometimes surprised that she likes me) that I know her and that she wants to be my friend.

    She told me, that she often forgets to answer or call back people. I guess that’s just the way it is. It’s not personal. In the past we talked more, even daily. Now once a week, if I call her. But of course she has a lot of other people and things in her life.

    After the pandemic is over, or has gotten better, I should try building more relationships I think. It’s not fair of me to rely so much on my best friend for support. The thought of meeting new people is also scary, my comfort zone is being alone. Then I feel like I can be free, I can be me. With other people, that’s rarely the case. Only if I know someone really well, like my best friend.

    I try to remind myself that I also have some good qualities, that could make me a good friend.

    But it’s not really possible at the moment anyways, to get to know people. So I try my best to keep up my routine, draw daily, go for walks, cook, exercise… I know I can be thankful that I am safe and healthy. Best to focus on that! I am actually thankful for a lot of things. Thankful that my friends and family are safe and healthy. Thankful that my living situation with my flatmates is peaceful. Thankful that I live in a country with a decent health care and social system and a responsible leader. Thankful that I have enough money saved to live for a few months without worrying. Thankful that nature is still out there to explore and give me comfort. Thankful for music to listen to. Thankful for having more time for drawing. Thankful that I am getting to know myself better and feeling more at peace with myself than before. There is a lot to be thankful for.

    Hope you are taking care of yourself! And I hope the times of socializing with others again will come soon enough for you too. Have a nice day!

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Lily.
    #350502
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    You are welcome. Regarding you drawing and dancing, I just posted to another member regarding Expressive Therapy aka Art Therapy, how it is different from traditional art which requires skill and talent, and which is about performing in front of an audience (as a dancer, let’s say) or exhibiting art for the public (your drawings). Traditional art focuses on the final product, and Art therapy focuses on the expression/ creation process. I know you have skill and talent in drawing, but focus on the expressing part, is my suggestion, and dance to your heart’s content!

    Regarding your best friend: I understand having different feelings about her: liking her, wanting her to be happy, being surprised that she likes you, and feeling jealous, altogether or this or that feeling at this or that time

    Regarding having a love relationship with a man: I can see it happening for you, but with a lot of alone-time being part of it, so that you can recover from the together- times. Same with friendships: recover from together times by having alone-time (“my comfort zone is being alone”).

    I enjoyed reading all the things you are thankful for, especially: “Thankful that I am getting to know myself better and feeling more at peace with myself than before”. Thank you for your good wishes for me, and I wish you the same!

    anita

     

     

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
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