I have these moments when I feel as if all the people around me are scrutinizing every move I make. I get nervous thinking about how I’m coming off.
Let’s say I’m making a quick run to the grocery store. I have this notion all these shoppers will be waiting for me in the dairy aisle expecting me to have my shirt neatly tucked into my pants. So, if the back flap of my shirt is dangling out, they’re snickering at me and shaking their heads over my sloppy appearance.
It gets worse if I make a little error in judgment or coordination, regardless of my location. Say I trip going up a curb or bump the top of my head while entering my car or a wedge of lettuce drops from my fork to my lap at a restaurant. I’m overwhelmed with imagining how awkward everyone in the general vicinity must think I am and how the story of my clumsiness will later be passed on to their friends and family. As all of you are being your carefree and extemporaneous selves, I’m worrying about your reactions to things about me you never even notice.
In my lifetime, perhaps with the exception of my dear mother, there has never been a person who gives a darn whether my shirt is tucked in or if I drop a piece of lettuce. The truth is, no one is watching my every move. No one is sharing my little world perspective but me. People are focused on their own events and circumstances, and that’s the way it should be.
I know this is an important lesson for me to apply each day to stay emotionally healthy and lead a joyous, productive life. I understand the lesson, it’s just a challenge to apply it at all times. Perhaps this is the case for others, too.
Even now, I’m imagining you reading this and wondering how self-absorbed one guy can be and thinking that I may require a ton of professional help.
Then again, you may read this, chuckle knowingly at the message, and go about your day without giving me another thought.