One friend worries that people think she’s stupid. Another frets that her family thinks she’s a bad mother. This one is certain people think she’s a loser, and another wonders what people would think if they knew about her sexual fantasies.
Humans want other humans to think well of us. We want parents to love us, bosses to respect us, partners to find us attractive. We want admiration, appreciation and approval.
Lots of it.
Of course not from everyone. But from someone or group of someones?
Now this pervasive obsession may sometimes be subtle. And perhaps this is where some Mind-Tickler readers may break into that ol' familiar song about how they don’t give a f**k what anybody thinks.
All while making sure to say and post and insist that they don’t care.
Because they want us to know they don’t care.
Because they care what we think.
The dirty truth is that everyone cares what at least some people think.
Well, about themselves, anyway.
“What will people think? About MEEEEEE.”
Are you thinking about ME? No? Well whatever is interfering with that important business, stop it right now and come back to what matters.
Let’s focus on Me. What do you think about Me? Do you like Me? Do you think I’m great? Do you think I’m crap? Well f*ck you then. Wait, you don’t love Me? Why not, what’s wrong with Me? Can I fix Me so you think I’m great? Can I fix you so you think I’m great?
Anyone notice that all thinking comes back to being about the Me, in one form or another?
Kids failing school? Oh no, I’m a bad parent. Running out of money? I’m a loser. Getting fat? I’m unlovable. Love music? Dude I am so cool. Global warming? Powerless doomed me and mine.
Like a boomerang. Every thought. Every time. Back to Me.
What that does is continually and effectively serve to hide that we’re not what we think we are.
And that no one else is, either.
Which is why there’s only one reason anyone gives a crap what people think.
And that’s to bolster this Me idea and keep it front and center. Let's keep all thought pointed right here, all the time, so that it feels like a real thing.
Turns out, thousands of years of human concern about other peoples' thoughts has simply been selfing, keeping the veil closed, trying to pull off the ruse.
“Am I fooling them? Do they buy it?”
This provides a solid sense of self.
Which is not to be confused with an actual self.
Caring what people think is a strategy for pretending the mask is real, and for projecting and protecting... an image.
Even though images don’t need protecting and don't care a whit about thought.
And even though whatever is behind the mask doesn't care whether thoughts say the "right" things, or not.
Whew. No wonder many of us are so tired.
“Look! Everyone’s pointing at me and thinking about me! That must mean I'm here! Yay! Keep it going!”
This locates us. It’s GPS for the story of self.
Because what real thing would even want to be the center of all that unrelenting attention anyway?
So yes, thought may appear to define us and tell us we’re good or bad or kind or bitchy.
But what cares?
And what needs all that identity, location, and I’m-right-here-ness?
And what sends out that constant wordy blah blah rumination and Me-focus?
Nothing at all.
Click to get in on the Mind-Tickler every week