One of the struggles that many of us with a mental illness, addiction, or emotional trauma have is hyper concern for what other people think of us.
My personal experience has been that shame, maladaptive coping skills, a dearth of social skills, social anxiety, and horrific performance anxiety (spawned by my toxic family of origin and my Bipolar Disorder) conspired to immiserate me for the 26 years I survived prior to Recovery.
In fact, my worry about what others thought of me, and my “need” to “make” them think well of me (because, being bereft of self-worth, I relied on others to affirm my existence) was so powerful that in retrospect, I was psychologically enslaved to those around me- Perpetually selling myself out, running myself ragged, and mercilessly mentally self-flagellating.
As I have traveled the path of Recovery the last 25:years, the opinions of others have diminished to almost nothing-When I am spiritually fit and practicing my recovery.
The irony is that those opinions never really mattered. Those who were (and are) truly judging me are fallible and flawed human beings. Just like me. And, from my experience, the most judgemental people are the ones least likely to have their shit together.