And it's been a long time coming.
I've spent most of my teen and adult life worrying about what others think of me and trying to change their perception of me. Where that came from, I'm not sure. I have my suspicions but they really don't matter now.
Last Sunday night I tweeted a friend of mine with the words, "I've had a revelation, it might even be an epiphany!"
Over the course of the weekend, something clicked in my head. Having spent the day consoling a work friend about her drunken antics the night before, telling her to stop apologising for everything she does and that other people's reactions were based on their issues and not on their perception of her, my brain went 'DING'! That had been me in the past; other people used to have to reassure me in the same way! At the time, I was watching a Periscope by Aandra Bohlen about perception and she was talking about being grounded in the moment, realising what you can do at that time, whether other issues were getting in the way of your happiness and what you could do about them. Suddenly it was like someone had flicked a switch in my brain.
I've been having cognitive hypnotherapy sessions for about a year or so with Dawn from Think It, Change It for various bits and bobs, but on the Friday she'd taught me a short technique for regaining control in that moment of panic and anxiety, something which has plagued me for a few years since my son was born. I'd implemented the technique several times over the weekend and was starting to use it independently to calm me down at moments of panic (Sunday night was particularly bad as I had a work deadline that I was struggling to meet). Seeing Aandra on Periscope uttering exactly the same words as Dawn had, plus three days of that technique and counselling my friend through her own worries, made me realise that actually I can't control other people's perceptions of me, and…
I am me. Other people may not like me or think I swear too much, they might not like the things I do or my philosophy on life, but that's ok. If we were all the same, life would be very boring. I don't like everyone, why should I expect everyone to like me? And what I was trying to explain to my friend in the aftermath of her drunken conversations, is that other people have issues too and how they react or respond to you is based on their own issues, very rarely anything to do with you or what you said.
There's no point stressing about the what might happen or what people might think, be in 'the now' and live life. Because it's pretty damn awesome.