I Am Not Your Thoughts

Someone said something good about me and the thoughts that went through my head went like this:

Is that what other people think? Other people don’t think that. They’re probably comparing me to people and how much I’m not like them and how they could do better than me.

So right there my thoughts aren’t helpful. They are destructive. They turned straight to worrying about what people were thinking instead of accepting the kind words.

I’ve always been quick to assume I know what people are thinking, but I’m realising that most of the time I’m probably assuming the wrong thing and believing lies.

And the times when I don’t know what people are thinking, I fret and try to work it out. I get incredibly agitated whenever I can’t figure out what people are thinking. It’s as if I use people’s thoughts about me as signposts to tell me who I am and what to do, and I’m lost without them. Whoa! That was a true statement!

I spend so much of my time trying to accommodate people’s thoughts about me. I’ve got to stop. I’ve got to stop caring what people think and letting their thoughts affect my thoughts, beliefs, behaviour, identity, and worth.

When I had a self-hosted blog, I was always looking for approval. I’d advertise my blog on Facebook and ask for feedback. I wanted likes and comments to tell me that I was on the right track.

I don’t feel the need to do that with this blog because I’m not looking for approval anymore. I’m not looking to be liked. All I’m looking to do is express myself, to be honest about my journey, and share my truth. The likes and comments are nice, but they don’t determine my worth or the worth of my writing.

I’m learning how to not worry about approval in real life too. I’m becoming aware of my how my thoughts work and remembering not to believe my assumptions. One, because I probably get people’s thoughts wrong, and two, because even if I get them right, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t need their good thoughts about me. I’m allowed to fail, to get things wrong, to not know what I’m doing, to be lost. Because it’s reality. It’s me.

As soon as I think about what people think, I lose myself. I stress about how to look good and I try to be impressive. But when I’m not worried what people are thinking, I’m free to be me.

I cannot let people affect me. I can’t lose myself. I need to let go of worrying, comparing, and impressing.

My identity is not a perfectionist, a people-pleaser and a performer. These are just things I have used to protect myself from hurt, rejection, and disapproval. I don’t need these defence mechanisms anymore.

My identity is independent of what people think of me.


14 thoughts on “I Am Not Your Thoughts

  1. I grew up with a parent who purposefully withheld love unless I was doing exactly what he wanted me to be doing. I’ve only recently been able to recognize that pattern of abuse. Basically, I grew up trained to constantly seek approval and do what other people want me to. I’ve realized that a lot of traits I thought were part of my personality (shyness, anxiety, difficulty making friends and trusting) are not just inherent parts of who I am. They’re defense mechanisms, like the people-pleasing. It’s a lot to work on. Thank you for sharing your post. I found it very helpful to read it today.


    1. I’ve only just realized the same thing – that things I thought were my personality are actually defence mechanisms. It’s definitely a process to work through them and learn to be without them, but so cool that we discovered this about ourselves. Thank you so much for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do that, too. But I have figured out a trick to get rid of the anxiety: pretend that people aren’t thinking about you at all. Especially when you start fretting over it, just tell yourself that you are out of people’s thinking orbits. And observe your anxiety passively. That often diffuses the whole purpose of worrying about it.

    I am sorry. I don’t mean to be condescending. It is just that we seem to have some common issues. And I read about this in a book. It has helped me a lot. It might help you, too.

    I have been going through your posts and they are thought provoking. You are a great writer.


    1. That’s a good tip. My problem, I think is, that to believe what I tell myself can be hard. So I can say people aren’t thinking about me, but my thoughts will still be stressing. But, sometimes it has helped, and definitely want to think more along those lines: people aren’t thinking about me/and even if they are, it doesn’t matter. Love your words, thanks so much for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

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