such a nut.

24 Apr
I’ve known for a long time that I care too much about what others think of me.  I fear being judged by others.  What I’m realizing recently is how frequently those thoughts dominate my being.  I certainly do care how my closest friends and family see me, for people who know me best help me be truly myself by being dear, honest people.  [And that’s not judging.  That’s knowing.]  But when I consistently care how perfect strangers are perceiving me, I think it borders on unhealthy.
Here’s an example.  I mowed my lawn on Monday night, and I did it successfully.  [Lindsay:1 Mower:1]  But it wasn’t done until Monday so on Sunday, when it looked like a South American jungle of grass and dandelions, I spent most of my morning wondering what the congregation was thinking.  Did they think I was lazy for not mowing it?  Did they say to themselves, why in the world isn’t the parsonage lawn mowed?  Maybe they did.  Maybe they didn’t.  [Truth is the lawn mower was being serviced all of last week – hence the jungle.]  But then, as I mowed it on Monday night, too many more judgmental thoughts came to mind.  I wondered if the people driving past thought, my, she’s driving that lawn mower slow.  Or maybe they thought, why in the world is she doing it like that?  Did any of the cars driving past seriously think any of that?  Probably not. And so what if they did?
I realized how often I think about others’ perceptions of me when I was driving somewhere new.  I don’t even remember where I was going but I recall making a wrong turn.  I knew I had to turn back but there was a car behind me.  I distinctly remember thinking to myself, I’ll just drive another block before I turn around.  That way the person behind me won’t know I’m slightly lost.  Why in the world should I ever care what the car behind me thought?  I didn’t know the person and never would.  But for some deranged reason, thoughts like that plague me all the time.  I’m nutty and I want to not be.
Then put me in a position as a public leader in a church and my what-do-they-think-of-me? goes crazy.  I want everyone to like me.  I don’t want anyone to think that I’m dumb or lazy.  I want them to know that I’m doing my job as best as I know how.  This fear of other people judging me – in addition to my need for processing time and introversion – likely leads to me saying next to nothing in new group settings.  [But then they just judge me for being quiet so really it’s a no win.]  I feel judged.  A lot.  And, really, honestly, I’m probably not.  I’m paranoid.
New goal: To not let my perceptions of other peoples’ fictitious judgments ruin my day or infiltrate my thoughts.  To know myself that I’m doing the best I can and have that be enough because I am enough.
[You’re judging me right now, aren’t you?]

2 Responses to “such a nut.”

  1. Elizabeth Luiten April 25, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Amen! You have described me. Whenever I walk outside my back door and see that unruly rose bush, the upside down plastic swimming pool and just a general grubby mess, I know the entire congregation is shaking its head in shame. Since it's a perfect view from the church's kitchen window. And all those groups that use our facility! It's not that I'm worried that they'll think we're slobs. I'm just embarrassed and shamed that (apparently) we are actually slobs. For if we were not, I'd have taken care of that area long ago . . . right?What's really odd is being married to someone who doesn't care a wit about what people think about him. It's weird. But it would also be pretty awesome. To not care.

  2. gnome preacher April 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I think it would be pretty awesome to not care how others perceive me … but I can't even fathom how I would get to that point! And I would bet – though you may think otherwise (and I would think the same, as evidenced above) – that the church looks out the window and is simply thankful that you and your wonderful family lives so close. And you have three kids – it's meant to be messy, right? 🙂

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