I give up caring, and why you should too

Tuesday, 25 October 2016



I'm concious of the fact that I'm writing something really flipping obvious today. Like, hit-your-head-on-the-wall, duhhhh level of obvious.

Apologies. You have to know if you're reading my blog for the first time that I mostly write for myself, to make sense of things that go on in my head. So if you've reached this level of self-actualisation way before me, then congratulations! You've levelled up as a human! Feel free to skip to the end.

Sometimes, though, the most obvious lessons are the ones that are the easiest to forget. Issues become issues again (and again and again). Which is frustrating. I've noticed though that I can pick myself up when I fall a lot quicker when I've already had to do it before.

So that's why I'm writing this.

A big part of my twenties (particularly the early twenties which are slipping further away from me at a terrifying pace) have been spent learning not to care what other people think about me. As a teenager - particularly around the age of sixteen - my self-confidence took a spectacular hit, a nose-dive into nothingness, and it took years and years to be built up to the point where I am now, and frankly, I'm still not quite where I want to be yet. I've said it before, but when I met my husband, I was an actual wreck in a lot of ways. As I mentioned in my last post, grace is what my whole life hinges upon. At that point, I needed Chris to understand me and not put pressure on me to change.

Which he did, gracefully. And he still does, gracefully, ten years on.

The other day we were in the car and I started crying over something really stupid and insignificant. I took something tiny - that might make people think less of me - and it brought back all these memories of how I used to be.

That is what it is like to have low self-esteem (or rather no self-esteem): everything hinges on what other people think. You are obsessively determined to get things right. You analyse everything you've said and done. Every weakness and flaw in you feels huge, glaring and obvious. You put up walls; you don't allow many (or any) people to see those hidden parts of you, because it is too dangerous to let people know who you really are.

 Some people might read you as being standoffish, or rude; only you know how you really feel on the inside: inadequate, worthless, terrified. Ordinary social situations used to make me feel shaky and sick.

If you're in the midst of that now, I'm so sorry. Because it really does suck. Just that mild reminder of who I used to be was enough to make me break down, sitting next to Chris as we drove along the motorway, helpless non-stop crying (the snotty, ugly kind).

I am very relieved not to be that person anymore.

A few years ago I resigned that I would no longer pretend to be someone I wasn't: I decided I would purposefully make myself vulnerable sometimes (only to a certain point, obviously). I decided I would be real with people who knew me well enough to still love me regardless. I decided to write this blog, not to show off or pretend that my life is perfect, but to just be honest. As honest as possible. And to let people in to that honesty. Because what is the worst that can happen? You can get hurt? People might think less of you?

So what if people think less of you?

I've struggled the past couple of years to deal with the very real (and very loud) opinions that people have about the way mothers should do things. I never expected this: this intense interest in how other people raise their kids. I've learnt that I raise my daughter in a different way than my friends might raise their kids: that's fine. When you're in baby-and-toddler world, it can be really easy to lose sight of the big picture and to think that the smallest of choices mean everything. I've learnt to let go of comments from people in the midst of that. Because I get it: some people do things that make me raise my eyebrows (internally). You forget that in the long run it doesn't really matter how you decide to sleep train your kids or whatever.

But still, sometimes, I let people's opinions get to me. We all have our weak spots, right? Like the soft fleshy underbelly of a boss monster. Doesn't matter how well-armoured we think we are: there's always a little weak spot somewhere, and whether on purpose or not, someone will hit it eventually. For me, that weak spot is being a stay at home Mum. I occasionally hear people saying things like:

'I couldn't be a stay at home Mum. I'd be so bored. I need stimulation. I'd need my brain to keep working'

or

'I think it's good for the kids to see me as a role model by working.'

or

'I could never rely on my husband like that: I'm too independent.'

All of those statements are relating to that person: they're not saying 'I hate stay at home Mums and they suck and they smell.' They are just ... thinking about themselves. (Most of them anyway. I've been on the receiving end of some pointed comments about our life decisions before, and that's a whole different ballgame).

But, boom! Arrow straight to my weak spot. I start wibbling when I hear that kind of stuff. I start wondering 'if that person thinks that, then what do they think about me?'

Do you know what?

It doesn't matter.

It doesn't actually matter. I don't need to prove anything to those people, and frankly, if someone is so narrow-minded that they can't imagine why anyone would make a different choice to them, then they are not a person I should waste my time on. And I don't feel the need to justify myself by listing out all the reasons why we made this choice (like I used to, when people asked, stammering out a long list of all the circumstances that led us to this point).

I'm learning to narrow my focus and purposefully block certain things out. Because it's too exhausting otherwise. I find caring about my immediate family as well as caring about friends and my wider family, and being concerned for the state of the wider world, takes up so much of my headspace that frankly I don't have time to care about this sort of stuff anymore.

If you're trapped in a bubble of losing time or emotional energy or even sleep worrying about what people think of you, then repeat after me:

Sometimes I will make decisions that will make other people judge me, and that's okay.

If you're reading this and you're still at that place where everything hinges on how others perceive you, I understand. Hang in there. Sometimes, all you need is time to get your confidence back.

... maybe someone is reading this and judging me right now.

If that's you: I'm terribly sorry, but I don't care what you think.


Hey. Does that mean I've levelled up?


Linking up with:

Mummascribbles3 Little Buttons Pink Pear Bear

Pick N Mix Fridays
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

24 comments:

  1. I can def relate to your post. I had issues with my confidence as I was younger and sometimes still do. Sometimes things just get to you, especially if you are very emotional person as I am and maybe take everything too personal..But as I became a mom and wife, I became stronger, not worrying to much about what others think..
    #bigpinklink

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    1. I agree, I became a bit more confident after having my daughter (after an initial dip!) I do feel a bit sad looking back at all the time I wasted worrying x

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  2. Fabulous post. I can just be the best me that I can. It took 40 years to realise that though! #bigpinklink

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one that took a while to realise this! 😄 I get the feeling my 30s are going to be much more confident than my 20s! x

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  3. Wonderful post! I'm so pleased you're learning to block out the opinions of others! Like you I struggled with confidence as a teen. I started to embrace who I was through my 20s but there was still that niggle. Each year I grew stronger. When I had my daughter, I regressed. But now I think I care less than ever! At most I find I am worried about other people's views at work; That they will think I am a slacker for leaving to collect my daughter or taking a day off when she's sick. Silly I know - I'm working on it.

    As for you being a SAHM - you deserve a medal. I couldn't do it full-time (I'm back in my pre-baby job 3 days / week) because I don't have the stamina or patience you need to do it. It's the hardest job I've ever done and no-one should ever make you feel belittled for doing it. You're right to ignore them!! #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. I get that - it must be hard to deal with the guilt that comes when your kids are sick and you have to miss work, especially if your colleagues aren't sympathetic. I think Mums feel bad no matter what they do!

      I had a confidence crash after my daughter was born. I think it took me a couple of months at least to feel like I knew what I was doing.

      And thank you. That's really kind, some days are easier than others! I really admire sleep deprived parents who have to function at work every day. Don't know how you do it! x

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  4. It's not easy to let what other people think and say go. I'm better at it since I've had children, but it can still be difficult.

    #twinklytuesday

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    1. Yep you're right. Some days I go way backwards and other days I can brush things off much more easily x

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  5. Fab post!! Totally and utterly relate to it. Sometimes we have those days where we let those comments and judgements just get in our brains and take hold of us - BUT after a good cry, mainly, we shake it off and realise just as you said, we don't ultimately care. As long as we are happy with how we are doing in life, what does it matter? Great stuff! #dreamteam

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    1. Thank you! Yes you're right! Ny emotions often get in the way of my brain 😄 definitely getting better now though x

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  6. Great post. I spiral down these roads occasionally and care too much and worry and stress over every decision but then I 'wake up' and stop giving a shit again. I'm definitely a work in progress x
    #DreamTeam

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    1. Thank you. I find tiredness has a lot to do with it too. If I'm tired I take things way more personally! I think we're all works in progress 😊 x

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  7. I spent lot of time in the last caring too much about what other people thought of me. Miraculously I saw the light and decided to not let it bother me anymore. It can be hard getting that point as you've described. We're not here for anyone else. We don't need to justify ourselves to anyone.
    Yay. I'd say you've levelled up. Go you. #dreamteam

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    1. Thank you! Yay for levelling up! Yeah, you're right. Justifying our choices Is really a waste of time x

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  8. Wonderful and honest post. I've definitely doubted myself a lot in the past, and worried what others thought but after I had out eldest I realised I needed to be true to myself. Theres definitely days where I still struggle and can't help but be affected by others comments, but I think thats ok. I'd definitely say you've levelled up- love the photo at the end too! Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

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    1. Thank you! Glad you've levelled up too 😄 doesn't mean we have it together all the time, it's more of a gradual thing I guess x

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  9. Good for you! You have totally levelled up ;) I find this post really inspiring and uplifting, thank you so much for sharing it. As a part-time working mum it's weird, I kinda get both sides of 'oh I couldn't work, my babies need their mum' and 'Oh I couldn't stay home, my brain needs adult conversation', which can be frustrating, but we all do what is best for us, our kids and our family life, and that is all that matters! xx #picnmix

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    1. Thank you! :) and that is frustrating ... sometimes I have to purposefully narrow my vision and not listen to what people think. You can't please everyone! x

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  10. Great post! I care far too much which just makes things a great pain #PicknMix

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    1. I have done in the past. It's painful and time consuming! x

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  11. I think a lot of the time people say these sorts of things trying to justify their own life choices, which to me shows that no one is ever one hundred percent confident in themselves. Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x

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    1. Yes, I think you're right! It's hard to have total confidence in your decisions especially decisions involving the kids x

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  12. This is so great to read! Is it an obvious point? I am not sure. When you write it like that, I can now see parts of me that care too much about what people may think. I completely get what you mean about going over some things, in case it may have caused offensive, or been the wrong thing to say. I am going to try to take a leaf out of your book this week, and see where it lead me :-) Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam xx

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    1. Thank you so much! Good luck - I hope your week goes well :)

      I think it's kind of obvious when you write it down but it's much more complicated in our own heads! x

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