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The Art of Not Caring

Not caring what other people think has been, hands down, the most difficult thing I’ve had to learn to do. It goes against all of my natural instincts, which is to do everything within my power to be liked and not let on what a nervous and anxious person I really am.

Meeting new people, for me, is terrifying. I resemble a rabbit in the headlights, about to be squashed by an oncoming lorry whilst I’m desperately trying not to stutter because my tongue and teeth refuse to cooperate and form a simple “Hello”.
My brain goes into overdrive, analysing every little detail about what I’m saying, how I’m saying it, and what the other person’s face is doing whilst I’m saying it. It is, quite frankly, exhausting.

We all have a need to be liked and feel included, because it’s human nature. Being part of the pack means you won’t be left to starve alone in the wild, so being socially accepted rather than cast away for being strange is the modern version of pack mentality. But it doesn’t always make us happy.

I woke up on my first day of university petrified at the thought that I would never make a single friend. I thought I’d be the oddball from Jersey, that has no friends and can’t say her last name without putting a hundred extra W’s in front of it. Opening with”My name is R-ria W-w-w-w-wolstenholme” isn’t the way I wanted to make a first impression.

My fear of rejection had evolved into something that truly took over my day to day routine. I’d apologise  to people when there was nothing to be sorry for, just in case I’d upset them without knowing. I’d feel guilty for not accepting invitations to events, but would often cancel plans because I didn’t want to be in a situation where I felt overwhelmingly anxious and couldn’t leave. I was always worried I was invited to things because people felt sorry for me, so never knew if I was genuinely liked or just pitied. I was treating myself like a nuisance, and so in turn became one to myself.

My first year of university taught me a lot about myself, and my own mentality. I began to realise that if I didn’t give myself a break, and stop worrying so much about what other people thought, and how I was perceived, I’d never be happy. Caring that much about other people’s opinions and judgments was not worth the endless nights sat alone in my room, worrying about nothing.

Now, I’m happy being me. I don’t care what people think of me, because I’ve become more comfortable with who I am as a person. I no longer seek the approval of others, because I’ve learnt that I don’t have to justify myself or my actions to anybody. As long I’m happy with who I am and what I do, that’s all that matters.

In reality, nobody cares as much as you think they do. So there’s no point in you caring what they think.

 

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7 Comments

  1. February 26, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    A great post and some wise words too! Yes I’m still working on mot caring what others think but I do believe it’s really important. Thanks for sharing! ☺

    • riawolstenholme
      February 26, 2017 / 7:31 pm

      Thank you so much for the feedback!

  2. February 26, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    Dear Ria, this is a brilliant post, I wish everyone read this. We need to understand as sensitive people, how to be able to survive and not let others destroy us by caring what they think and that is SO hard for people like us. I think your story is one many can relate to and it will inspire those who want to do this to try. It is so hard, I’m not ‘there yet’ but I try and your post is an excellent reminder never to give up. Thank you!

    • riawolstenholme
      February 26, 2017 / 8:00 pm

      Thank you so much for such lovely feedback. I’m glad you could connect with the post, and you’re right; never give up! Always put yourself first.

      • February 27, 2017 / 7:33 pm

        Wise words dear Ria – keep writing you are very good at it and yes it does help others too! xo xo hugs

  3. Frank
    February 26, 2017 / 10:10 pm

    This is an exceptionally well written and informative piece ria , we all feel vulnerable and isolated during our lives , and often don’t see what you have highlighted until very late in life , if at all wise words from a young talent .

    • riawolstenholme
      February 27, 2017 / 7:34 pm

      Thanks so much for a lovely comment dad. Glad you enjoyed it x

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