Think of a situation where you worry about what others might be thinking of you.
So many of us experience this. This is a big one for me – really caring about how others see me and caring about others’ experience of me. Often that takes me outside of what’s actually mine to control, what’s really my responsibility.
So you’re worried about what others might be thinking of you. What kind of situations does this happen to you in? Maybe in some places in our lives we’re more susceptible to being worried about what someone else thinks of us. Maybe in some situations we’re less concerned about that and we feel clearer within ourselves.
Something to notice in these situations where we’re concerned about what someone else thinks of us is first we don’t get to control what others think. We’re never in their minds, even if we can play a part that might influence them one way or another. We don’t control what others think of us.
I love a saying that I hear often and I repeat to myself often – what others think of me is none of my business.
That’s not our business, what others think of us.
What is more helpful and the reminder I want to share with all of us today is that I am responsible for what I think of me. What I think of myself is what matters more.
✔Am I living up to my values?
✔Am I operating in a way that really aligns with how I want to show up in the world?
That’s what I have control over. That’s what I can do something about. That’s the metric I want to measure and I want to live my life by.
Whose Yard Are You In?
There are two kinds of yards:
My yard >> My thoughts, my feelings, my actions, my words.
These are all things that are mine. These are the things that live in my yard, that are in my domain. These are the things that I’m responsible for.
Someone else’s yard >> Their thoughts, their feelings, their actions, their words.
I can care about someone else deeply, but I can only do it from my yard. If I go over into their yard and worry about:
❌What they’re thinking about me
❌What they’re feeling
❌What they’re doing
❌What they’re saying
Then that means I have abandoned my yard. I’ve abandoned myself. I’ve abandoned my responsibilities. I’m not taking care of me or what I need to be taking care of because I’m over there trying to take care of what they should be taking care of.
If you find yourself in someone else’s yard, don’t worry! All you have to do is go back to your yard and remind yourself, “I’m responsible for what I think of me. What do I think of me?”
TIP: Those thoughts we’re talking about, “what I think of me…” those are thoughts, those are like clouds that pass through our mind. We’re not even really in control of our thoughts! Thoughts come and go. They’re projections of the mind and the brain. What I’m more responsible for, if we want to get really nuanced here with our language, I’m responsible for those thoughts that I attach to, those thoughts that I believe.
I love the sign for believe. Think – marry.
A belief is a thought that I marry, that I attach to. I choose to bring this thought into my world.
I get to choose what thoughts I attach to, what I believe, what I believe about myself. That’s mine to manage, that’s mine to take care of.
A reminder as you move through your days and weeks (or even just this moment):
Pay attention to what the thoughts are in your mind. Where are you worried about what someone else is thinking of you? Come back to your own yard and ask yourself these questions:
🌱What am I responsible for in this moment?
🌱What do I think of me?
🌱What am I thinking of me right now?
This is a mindfulness practice. This is just noticing where our thoughts go and gently bringing us back to our center. That’s what meditation can be. That’s what any kind of mindfulness practice can be.
Paying attention on purpose to the present moment without judgment.
Sometimes our judgments of ourselves are what we’ll really notice here. When I come back to the present moment and I pay attention to what my thoughts are, I notice — “Oh there’s a lot of judgment against myself right there.”
Can I let that be here too? Can I come back to a place of love for myself even with my human brain that wants to judge? Because that’s what our brains do.
Where does this show up for you?
What is challenging about this for you?
What have you found helps you come back to responsibility for yourself and noticing what you think of yourself and really caring for that relationship that you have with yourself?
Join our free support community, The Burnout Proof Collective, to connect with interpreters, teachers, and parents who are working on taking better care of themselves too. This is the best way to get personal support from Brea and to go deeper with your self-care!