I question myself constantly. Friends and people are important too me I have driven myself crazy analyzing and reanalyzing every word I said in a conversation thinking that I may have opened up too much to someone who is virtually a stranger (If you hadn't notice I tend to be a very open person). I worry that I might offend someone, or worse that they might start saying bad things about me when I am not around because I really am such a klutzy, crazy loud-mouthed dork. I have imagined many scenarios where the people I meet are totally and utterly repulsed by my presence. No doubt this stems from the struggles I have had with my own self worth. Between an eating disorder an massive amounts of baby weight it has taken me quite some time to look in the mirror and say " I like you, whoever you are, today and everyday." (It still doesn't happen everyday, but it does happen).
Anyway I had a conversation last month with my mother-in-law. One of the things she said keeps coming into my mind, and I though I would share. I think she heard it from someone else, but she told me "What other people think is none of my business" It really stuck with me, and made me think "How often do I worry about things that don't concern me?" Scenario after scenario flashed through my mind. The list was long. After our conversation my head when back into the weekend, I had traveled with my children for my sister-in-law's wedding. The whirl of activities kept my brain thinking about other things.
When I got back home I started thinking more about what she had said, and I began to feel a very liberating sensation. I began to realize how different those situations I listed earlier could feel if I worried less about how others perceived me. If I stopped worrying about what others might think in the store than maybe I would have more patience with my tempestuous toddler. Maybe I would understand more quickly what she wants or needs, and find a better way to soothe her than a harried bribe off the shelf, just to keep her quiet. In church I might be better able to laugh off my daughter's complete disregard for modesty, and turn it into a gentle teaching moment where I teach her about worshiping God and the best way to show reverence for him. Instead of taking the pessimistic view of how awful people think I am I can embrace the thoughts about the wonderful person I just met, and feel really grateful for the uplifting, enlightening, entertaining, and adult conversation I just had (without a child tugging on my leg). However, these are just hypothetical scenarios. I had a real one yesterday.
I just started a night shift at a local retailer. From day one I found myself asking a lot of questions. Far more than the three other ladies I have been training with. This new situation already has me standing well outside of my comfort zone, but I am determined to be the best employee that I can so I asked the questions, I mean the more I understand the better I can do my job right? But then I start noticing little things about when I'm talking to my manager or the people training me. The way she silenced my question with her hand like that, Was it because she needed a minute to answer my question or am I talking too much? Am I annoying her? Or when I tracked down my manager several times in a shift to ask questions about policy and the details of how I am to do my job, was he annoyed that I pulled him from more important things? Am I asking to many questions? Is he going to hate me for it?
Jobs are stressful as it is and this line of thought was not doing anything to help lift my load. I was on my break almost to the point of half-hysterical worn out tears when what my Mother-in-law said came rushing back into the front of my mind. Suddenly the situation was different. It's not my business if my manager thinks I am asking too many questions. It's not my business if my manager likes me.
So what IS my business? My business is my desire to gain an understanding on how to do my job, so I can be the best employee that I can possibly be. Concentrating solely on my business I suddenly have the freedom to be myself completely. My motivations become far more simple "what can I do to be my best self today?" I don't know if somebody else will like me better for it (and who cares since it is most definitely NOT my business) but, I like me better for it. To me it was giving myself permission to simply be myself, and that is what I was always meant to be anyway.