I have to admit, this article is contrary to what I thought I believed in. It make come across as victim-minded, weak or insecure, as it was written with that mindset initially. But it is written at the chance that it may resonate with others.
This article is about that “up and down,” the “once-over,” the “resting bitch face” – call it what you want to. You know what I mean. You may have received it, or you may have expressed it. Regardless, what effect has it had on you, if any?
For me, it’s had a large effect. Larger than I would like to admit.
I get so tired of getting the “up and down” every time I walk into a room. The famous “once over” glare of judgement occurs every time. It’s become more apparent here in Minnesota as a transfer student than anywhere.
It’s got me wondering: How many others are struggling with this on a day-to-day basis? What is the reason for it? Is it just a case of the outsider who doesn’t belong?
I don’t mean to blame anyone here because I, myself, have some work to do in this department. There have been times when I forget to smile, or fail to say the first “hello.” Often times, it’s because I feel insecure at the time. I fully acknowledge that, and am working to fix it.
But that isn’t quite the point. We all feel this way sometimes (at least, I do). And it’s perfectly normal not to be the ball of sunshine to every person you see.
What I’m bringing into question is when the same people continue to give you the once-over glare every time you walk into a room, it gets you wondering: What’s wrong with me? Do I have something off about my appearance? Am I just an outsider that doesn’t deserve to be here?
Judgement eats me alive.
It makes me feel like an outsider who doesn’t belong here, there, or anywhere.
I know I shouldn’t care. Other people say, “Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks” and “You are completely independent of the thoughts and opinions of others.”
I only wish I could master these concepts. Believe me, between the self-improvement books, reminder quotes and positive mantras, I’ve tried.
In my opinion, those quotes are a lie. No matter how confident, self-assured or independently-minded we are, we need others to a certain extent, even in the smallest respect, to maintain and help improve our self-image. Note: I am not saying we ought to rely on others, but rather, that others influence us to a certain extent. We can build a strong foundation, but the way in which others respond to us (particularly the ones closest to us) is bound to reaffirm, counteract, or bring our self image into question. Our self-concept is the product of the way we interact with and are perceived by others.
The more I’ve tried to deny that, the more I’ve struggled. The more I try to convince myself I don’t need anyone to make me feel good about myself, the more alone and insecure I feel.
As much as we say that struggles such as depression, eating disorders, come from within, these are made worse by the independent, “I can do it on my own” mindset and outside judgements from others about how we should be.
It’s easier to say that others’ opinions don’t matter when it isn’t you walking around alone getting “the look.” (Cue a scene from “Mean Girls”). Being the outsider in any situation is tough as is, but people who feel like they don’t belong don’t need stares, glares and the like to make it worse.
I realize it’s an automatic habit to look at someone who enters the room, but could you at least smile or give an inkling of invitation?
Can we live in a judgement-free zone where others are accepting and enabled to be comfortable in their own skin? Does this exist anywhere?
I want a society where people can walk down the street with pink hair; where two people can hold hands, regardless of their gender; where people can feel comfortable going to the gym, whatever size or shape they are; where people can wear whatever the hell they want to, mismatched clothes and all; where people can walk around and not feel ashamed of themselves.
Release the hate. Release the judgement. Open your mind. Accept others as they are, flaws and all.
Let’s rid ourselves of this shame. Let’s celebrate differences. Let’s move away from these cookie cutter expectations of perfection and try to understand others before judging them.
Smile at strangers. Express excitement to see someone. Be the first to say hello.
Simply BE KIND, PEOPLE. You owe it to yourself and others. What goes around comes around. We are each responsible for the society in which we live, and the footprint we leave on others. Make sure your mark is a positive one.