One of my least favorite existential dilemmas is how, no matter how accomplished or successful I am or how great my friends are, I always come back into moments of serious insecurity: the dilemma? Why? Why should I feel insecure? What is it that makes me worry about whether or not this person likes me or why that person never calls me? I have a pretty great life. Sure, I’m plagued with trials that we all seem to experience. Perhaps mine are different than yours, but we all have our share of hardships.
Even with those trials, I still feel like I have a very full and rich life. I don’t wonder where my next meal is going to come from, or my next pair of shoes, for that matter. I have fabulous friends whose company I thoroughly enjoy. I have a wonderful family. I have my health. So what is it that makes me feel “less than” because I can’t run a 6-minute mile, or sing as well as my voice teacher, or play the piano like my father, or have my sister’s cute figure, or choose fonts like my design friends, or write like, well really, lots of you out there, or, or, or? And why is it that, at 29, I still worry about being left out or missing something?
I think I had this idea as a child, and adolescent, that grown-ups didn’t worry about such childish things as whether or not people liked them or how well they could do things. I never imagined that my dad was ever unsure of himself at work or that my mom wondered why a particular friend hadn’t invited her to some luncheon. I had a hard time with friends through most of high school. I mean, I had them, but I always worried about whether or not my friends really liked me and whether I would be invited to the next party. But I always assumed that I would outgrow this, that as time passed I would become wise and knowing and stop caring about such trivial things.
Unfortunately, while the insecurities have changed slightly over the years, they are still there. Now I worry about whether or not my friends get sick of me talking (I can be a little chatty). I worry about what they think of my choices. When someone doesn’t appear to “like” me, I wonder why. Of course, I always assume it’s my problem, that I did something wrong. It’s like, the more I know myself, the more I realize how many weird quirks I have. And the more quirks I notice, the more I wonder why people are friends with me. I know that sounds kind of pathetic and I don’t mean it that way. It’s not that I don’t see my good qualities. I know I’m fun (see, obnoxious) and I think I’m a good friend, but sometimes I just really think, “Wow, sometimes I do this and it’s really annoying.”
The worst part is, I am fully aware that I am being ridiculous. I know that everyone has quirks. I know my friends do and they don’t bug me at all. The quirks just add to why I love them. They are what make my friends unique, entertaining and enjoyable. I know that I don’t have to be good at everything for people to like me and I know that it’s okay if some people just don’t like me. Well, I know all of this…in theory. The practical application, however, is a different story.
It’s funny that I always worry about what others think of me and rarely concern myself with what others think about what I think about them. I wonder how different my world would be if I would stop worrying about what other people thought about me and started worrying more about how I made others feel about themselves.