You Do Not Exist

Yes really,you do not exist. By saying that you do not exist,im not saying you are Casper The Friendly Ghost,which would be really cool by the way. I used to love those cartoons as a kid by the way,how people reacted whenever they saw him was funny,all the time.

Before proceeding to read this blog,i want you to do a little exercise. Ask yourself this question,what do i think of myself ?This should include both physical and character traits.Write down the first 5 things that come to your mind. Then i want you to get another piece of paper and write down what you think other people think about you.After that,i want you to ask your closest friend/partner/family member,anyone whom you spend a significant amount of time with the same question and ask them to write down whatever they think of you on a piece of paper. Now i want you to take those 3 pieces of paper and compare the responses. How many of the traits are the same?How many are different?how many are directly conflicting?

The whole point of this exercise is to try show you that whatever you think of yourself,what you think other people think about you and what they really think about you are always going to be different,never the same. Caring about what other people think of us is human nature,we cannot help it. No matter how much you think you do not care,the fact is that you do indeed care,otherwise you would probably be a psychopath. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with caring about what other people think about you,the problem is that,we never really know what people think about us. Most of what we perceive as people's opinions about us is actually our own opinions about ourselves. From that exercise,you would have noticed that most of the character traits on the "what you think about yourself" and "what you think other people think about you" pieces of paper are the same or somehow related. Sad as it is,we base most of our lives on what people think about us,which paradoxically as you saw on the exercise,is actually just what you think about yourself.

We are all have our insecurities,those little or major things that we hate about ourselves. Growing up,my biggest insecurity was my stutter. Although it did not really affect my confidence much as a kid,when i got into my teenage years,i started being really self conscious about it. It was not because my peers were bullying me about it,which they rarely ever did. It was because of what i thought they thought about my stutter. Quite a tongue twister that sentence isn't it?Basically,i was conscious about what i perceived their opinions about me to be.I had already made up m mind about what people thought about me before they even told me what they thought about me. This really affected me a lot because i went through my teenage years living in my litle cocoon,barely wanting to have a conversation with anyone because i thought when i was conversing with people,they were not really listening to what i was saying but how i was saying it. I missed out on a whole lot of things i wanted to do because of thinking too much about what other people thought about me.

I realized that i was putting too much emphasis on what i think about me about 5 years ago when i had a conversation wit some guy on the bus who also had a stutter. When i was listening to him talk,although i was aware of his speech impediment,it was not really what i was listening to. I was more concerned with what he was saying,how he was saying it was at the back of my mind. I realized that,he was basically me and i was people. I realized that people know that i have a stutter,but they are not always just focusing on it,they are listening to what i am saying. From then on,my self confidence really improved and i was able to actually have conversations with people without always thinking so much about what they are thinking about me.

Most of our insecurities are just a magnification of not what other people think about us,but of what we think about ourselves. Our opinions about ourselves and what we think people think about us will always be biased towards what we think about ourselves. The fact of the matter is that,unless people tell you about what they think about you,you will never know what they think about you. It is just the way it is. And the sad part is that,most of us are afraid to ask other people about what they think about us because we are afraid of them telling us the negative perceptions that we already have about ourselves.Its kind of like how when you think you have a chronic disease (please never check your symptoms on WebMD),you are scared of the doctor because you think he is going to tell you you have that chronic disease like you think you do. Even if we do get the courage to ask and they tell us positive things,our first thoughts are that they are probably just saying it to make us feel better. You have probably complimented someone before and instead of getting a "thank you",you got a "you don't mean it".

The fact of the matter is that,we will never know precisely what other people think about us unless they tell us. Unfortunately as humans,we do not have the sense that allows us to dive into people's brains and see exactly how they perceive us (do check out my Senses post). The best thing we can do is live our best lives and be the best person we can be. It is human nature to care about what people think about us,but how we let it affect our lives is totally up to us.We spend most of our lives worrying so much about what other people think of us when in actual fact,we are actually worrying about what we think about ourselves which is actually what we think other people think about us and vicious cycle keeps on going and going. Humans,what a special species we are.