Who Cares What Other People Think? {TGBTL} | Enduring All Things

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Who Cares What Other People Think? {TGBTL}

Once upon a time, I was a middle school geek. I was not a popular kid by any standard in any time of my life, but middle school was the worst. I was in smart classes. I had braces, freckles, big ears, and glasses {which I promptly switched out for contacts asap}. My mom still practically picked out my clothes and I was just an all around awkward person. I was shy and I worried so much about having friends that I didn't make many. I was not happy with my day-to-day life. I hated going to school just hoping I could find someone to sit with at lunch who was possibly just as awkward as me. I constantly wondered why I didn't have a boyfriend or why none of the popular girls wanted to talk to me. 
On a field trip to the zoo in 7th grade.
Now most of these things haven't changed... I still have freckles, big ears, and glasses contacts. I am still awkward and shy. And my mom still buys me clothes she thinks are cool {but I'm not complaining about this one}. What has changed is my attitude about the whole thing. I used to constantly worry about what my peers thought of my looks, the way I dressed, and the things I said or did. I would oftentimes pretend to like or do something just because everyone else did it. {Shocking, right?} 
Me and my wonderful brother
It wasn't until I went to college that I really started to grow out of my anxieties about fitting in with the cool crowd {or any crowd, for that matter}. A lot of factors went into this change. I was more mature. Everyone around me was more mature. I had friends and a boyfriend who boosted my confidence. I was studying something I liked and I wasn't the only "nerd" around. I found my place in a social club and a working as an RA. But when I think about my change in attitude, my mind always goes back to words I heard countless times from both of my parents growing up; You shouldn't worry about what other people think of you.

Just stop and think about that for a minute. I'm sure most of you have heard that sentence or some variation of it, but I want you to contemplate it with me. First of all, why would you care what other people think in the first place? I mean I get why one would want to have friends and not be lonely, therefore we think a lot about how people will accept us. But worrying about is just ridiculous. If you can't be your worry-free self around friends, then they shouldn't be your "friends". Secondly, the only person we should be trying to impress is God. We should be thinking less about what our friends think of our clothes and more about whether our outfit honors God. Is everyone going to that party on Friday? Sure! Would your cool points go up a little if you go? Probably. But will they be doing wholesome things at this party that line up with the life you are trying to lead while following Christ? Most likely not, and that's what really matters. And if your "friends" don't respect your decisions, you don't need them! So just stop worrying and find new friends. Simple as that, right?

Except it's not simple. It's hard to do things to honor yourself and God without other people's thoughts and opinions in mind, especially for a middle schooler among bullies. It took years of my parents telling and showing me this concept before I finally got to a place where I can say I really don't care what other people think about me. Actually, scratch that. I'm not there yet. But I am a lot closer than I was in middle school. Really, I don't know if I will ever be there, but I am getting closer and closer every day. I have many people in my life to thank for this but my parents are first on the list.

Mom and Dad, I was listening. I was listening to every piece of advice you gave me. It may not have seemed like I was listening back then, but I see the wisdom in your words and actions more and more as I grow up and experience new things. Thanks for loving me and blessing me with your knowledge {and please don't ever stop}!
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Thanks for reading!
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