03 Sep Nobody is Thinking of You
The phrase “my life is a movie” has risen to popularity in the lyrics of many pop songs. These songs include those by prominent artists in the media today like The Kid Laroi, Lil Tecca, and the late Juicewrld. I’m a big fan of this music trend as it’s able to pack so much meaning in as little as five words. It emanates this hype “I’m on top of the world” energy and invokes a whirlwind of vibrant images in its wake; expensive cars drifting on roads in foreign cities, rooms full of money, late nights out with friends laughing and drinking. It’s a lavish life that us normies can only dream of living.
However, this isn’t to say that the phrase “my life is a movie” doesn’t resonate with me. To an extent it does- but not in the way that those artists are preaching.
I relate to the lyrics in the sense that I feel like I’m constantly being watched and judged, similar to the way people watch and critique movies. I know that random people on the street aren’t shredding me to bits in their heads, yet I still dwell on the slim possibility that these irrational thoughts are true.
Insecurity and self-consciousness are huge issues among young adults. I’m sure we’re all well aware of this–most of us have experienced it first-hand. What we’re less conscious of, however, are the secondary effects of feeling insecure. Insecurity is not just feeling like you’re being watched and judged and feeling like shit for it. Beyond feeling that way, insecurity involves acting and behaving differently to appease the expectations of other people, in a way that is often much worse.
Insecurity can prevent us from taking chances and seeking new adventures. It can make us act artificially and inauthentically. It stunts us from doing the things we truly want or doing things how we want.
Sometimes when we are told to let go of the fear of judgment, we don’t entirely believe that this advice will truly benefit us. Recently I learned first-hand that once you free yourself of that toxic self-inflicted torture and realize nobody is actually thinking about you, you’re able to live a lot more freely and happily.
This summer, I worked at a camp for a bunch of young kids. Working alongside me were seven other university students. At 19, this was my first job. Naturally, the night before my first day I was a nervous wreck. I laid out my outfit the night before and overthought a lot as one does before any important occasion.
Despite all of my careful planning, on my very first day of work I sprained my ankle. Overnight, my outfit plans of cute tops and nicely-fitted pairs of jeans transformed into old athletic shorts and oversized graphic tees. The energy that I initially had to build relationships with my new coworkers was also reduced drastically. I still wanted to make a good impression but was too tired and in too much pain to care how I appeared to them- both in the way I dressed and the energy that I put out.
I was surprised to discover that lowering my level of effort didn’t worsen my experience with my coworkers– in fact, it improved it. They didn’t care about my embarrassing incident on the first day or my haphazard outfits and hair. My relaxedness with my wardrobe also seeped into how I came off in conversations. I acted more naturally, and stopped overthinking and trying too hard.
Though I did this more so out of necessity than choice, the end result was still the same. When I wasn’t so focused on what other people thought, I became more likable and more myself. I ended up becoming friends with all my coworkers, close friends with a few, and came away with an overall great first job experience. For a little while, I was able to take a true break from the stress and preoccupation of being so hyper-focused on others.
Sometimes we get a little too caught up in curating the perfect image for other people to see, which is fine to a degree– but it gets to a point where this concept becomes harmful, and limits how we express ourselves. There’s a point at which looking out for yourself turns into being too focused on yourself. So much so that you feel like people are watching and judging your every move. You feel like you are as important to them as you are important to you– something that most likely isn’t the case.
Nobody’s watching your every move, judging you for every weird thing you say, or questionable outfit you wear. If you’re not doing it to other people, they probably aren’t doing it to you. When you catch yourself thinking too intensely about what other people are thinking of you, pause and consider how irrational these thoughts may be. If it isn’t hurting anyone and is only for the purpose of your self-expression, don’t be afraid to do things that you feel may not be perceived well by other people, and just do. Remember that your life is not a movie– and honestly, that’s a good thing.
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