I’ve always been a sensitive person, sometimes a really sensitive person. In my quest to give less of a shit in my old age, sometimes it seems I slip back into that too easily. Lately, it’s felt like I haven’t made any real progress at all. If a person argues with me a little bit or has even the slightest tone of “wow, you’re an idiot” in their voice, I get really upset and for some reason, it seems like it’s been happening a lot more lately (even though I’m sure that’s just in my head).
I blogged a while back about my preoccupation with feeling stupid. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember and of course that ties in big time with my caring too much about what people think of me. I want so badly to just be able to say exactly what I think and not have someone argue with me or talk to me like I’m stupid for thinking/feeling that way. I want to be able to ask a question and not have someone talk to me like I’m an idiot for asking it. But that’s not life is it? We can’t control the responses or reactions of other people, we can only control how we think or feel about ourselves. People have really passionate views about things sometimes and when ours contradict that, people react accordingly. People are always going to stand up for something they believe in or passionate about, as they should. And sometimes people are simply having a bad day.
I know I’m not stupid no matter how much someone else might intentionally or unintentionally make me feel that way. In fact, I think I’m pretty smart. Am I ditzy sometimes? Of course. Do I put my foot in my mouth? Absolutely. Have I made a lot of dumb decisions in my life? Yep. We all do and have. I like to think I wouldn’t put somebody down or talk to me the way some people do for having any of those moments but I’m not perfect and I probably have at some point. I have to remember that 9 times out of 10, people’s reactions to things, even if they seem personal, usually aren’t. They’re usually related to something going on with them or just one of their foot-in-mouth moments.
I always think about that Eleanor Roosevelt quote, that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. That’s been a hard one for me to really absorb because I’ve lived for so long just wanting everyone to like me. I put a lot of my value as a person in what other people thought of me. I was born physically weak so I always wanted my mind and other people’s perception of my intelligence to be strong. I hope someday I’ll really be able to fully believe that quote if not at all the time, at least most of it. Progress in the world was never made by people remaining quiet or being afraid someone was going to think they were stupid. I have to let myself be me, I have to speak up and not beat myself up when someone reacts a certain way or doesn’t agree with me. The life lessons continue…