I have a midterm on Monday that I should be studying for, I shouldn’t be writing this blog post right now. But I just came out of an interview yesterday and between questions about my experience, balance sheets, and my life, they threw me this curve ball:
“If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?”
Remember when interview questions were just about how many manhole covers there are in New York, or describing a time when you faced a challenge and how you overcame it?
What was totally shocking to me was how quickly I blurted out my answer. It somehow wasn’t anything superficial about my looks (but trust me, I would jump at the chance to change any of those too) but I guess there was something else that bothers me more than dumpy knees and a weird laugh.
“I’d love to be able to care less about what people think of me.”
And there it was, right on the tip of my tongue because why wouldn’t that be the thing I’d love to change the most about myself? It would be the answer to a lot of other things I feel like I’m concerned about on a daily basis. How I look, if my sneeze is weird, if I’m just faking it in academia, if people think I’m too sarcastic, if anyone judges how my legs are always kind of covered in bruises because I can’t seem to stop walking into things. The list is honestly endless because given enough time, I could find a fault with everything about me. But holy shit, who the hell has time for that? The majority of these thoughts are constantly in the back of my mind, just occasionally popping up to remind me that I am my own worst enemy.
I totally envy those people who are so in control of who they are that they embrace the things that they like and don’t like about themselves. I’m fairly certain that if you take back those negatives, it makes it harder for people to use against you – you reclaim them as parts of your own identity. This is like one of those crucial things you wish you could travel back in time and scream at the teenage version of yourself.
“Stop making decisions based on how you think others will react to it, and start living for yourself! Also please stop taking pictures at that angle because I can’t delete them off of Facebook fast enough. And learn how to do your eyebrows so I’m not still suffering 5 years down the road!”
But here I am, keenly aware of how this should be an important step that differentiates me from being some idiotic barely-twenty year old, and a full-fledged adult human in control of her life, yet I still have no idea how to get to that point. I can see that it’s the end goal but I am grasping at straws when it comes to figuring out how to stop caring so much about what other people think. I’ve given it a shot since starting university but I feel like more often than not I’m still trying to figure out how to make people like me and how to be cool (clearly, haven’t figure that one out yet – I talked about Tumblr twice in my interview). Also, making sure that you don’t go to the other extreme and become that asshole that cares so little about what people think of them that they’re just insufferable to be around? I guess the answers to these questions will come around the next time I have a midterm and need to be focusing on globalization as opposed to self-reflection. Likely not for years though. Can someone tell me where can I download this ability instead?
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what other people think of you, right? Just what you think of yourself.