Who is thinking of you?

Shortly after I wrote my birthday tribute to Hillary and mentioned how she was fearless and seemed to be immune to what random passersby think, I heard the following quotation:

“The 18/40/60 Rule: When you’re 18, you worry about what everybody is thinking of you; when you’re 40, you don’t give a darn what anybody thinks of you; when you’re 60, you realize nobody’s been thinking about you at all.” Dr. Daniel Amen.

It is so true!!!!

Growing up I very much had the Lisa Simpson mentality: “Validate me! Grade me!” My need for external validation went more than a bit wonky, and I cared more about what everyone else was thinking about me than what I thought of myself.

Lisa Simpson

As I mentioned in my post about returning to reading, despite having many friends who were into science fiction or fantasy, I never explored the genre in high school. I knew that the popular people made fun of the people who were into that. This is a major Dr. Phil moment, because that didn’t work for me. Somehow not doing something that I now love didn’t make me popular. Go figure!

Weirdly enough, though, I’ve always been more willing to make a fool of myself in front of a room full of strangers instead of people I know.

[Author’s Note: Wow! Talk about how the way something is phrased reflects the mindset of the speaker! What I was doing wasn’t “making a fool of myself”, it was learning something new. I’d never pieced it together that I viewed my awkward first steps in acquiring a skill as making a fool of myself. That’s not what I see when looking at others. I need to take a moment to absorb that!]

When I first started dancing, as much as I wanted to get better, I didn’t want to practice new skills in front of  Kurt. He is a very insightful dance instructor and realized what was happening. “Tammy, I see you dancing badly all the time. I would think more highly of your dancing if I could watch you working to get better.” No, he didn’t stand in the line to get tact, but that approach worked for me, and I was more willing to do it. I still preferred to put in the repetition time at home so I could show improvement the next day, but it did help with a mindset shift.

I think dance helped me more with adopting this mentality than anything else. Everyone at the studio was working on the areas that needed the most help. Practice is like the laundry mat – you pull out the dirty clothes, everyone pretends not to notice when your underwear is showing, and at the end you hopefully have the same item only a little cleaner. For the most part, it felt like being alone in a room full of people. It was me and the woman in the mirror. I swear I was better than she was!

Tammy in the Dance Mirror

The Dr. Amen quotation is right! I’m 40 and not caring what others thing (to a degree). I think my willingness to post my driver’s license picture and the one of me in nose plugs is proof!

How much energy do you spend trying to impress people that aren’t paying attention to you?

6 thoughts on “Who is thinking of you?”

  1. I think I’ve known all along that everyone else was too self-conscious to even think about me. That’s what being young is all about! Now, at 57 I definitely could care less…that’s why I became a blogger!

    Tammy: I hope you don’t mind that I just added your blog to my Blog Roll. – Laura Lee

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    1. To think of all the things I didn’t do because “they” would disapprove, only to now realize that “they” weren’t paying attention!

      Thank you so much for adding me to your blog roll!

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  2. OH a new design! I like! I always read these in my email, so I’m not sure when you updated, but it’s great.
    I just wanted to say that I was that kid, too. Sadly, I am that adult also. Maybe not to the extreme I used to be and after having a kid even less, but still it’s hard to break that habit of self doubt. I think that is part of why I blog and love it. 😉

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  3. It’s so true. I’m 40 too and i just don’t care ( to a degree) what others think. Like you growing up, i cared A LOT what other people think. I feel so much more liberated these days. It’s painful for me to watch my four year old daughter (naturally timid) go through her own turmoil. She cares too much about other people. I continue to support her and hope i can give her the confidence she needs to push past what everyone else thinks…
    Maybe i should put her in dance?

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    1. “Liberation” is the perfect word for it!

      I think showing your daughter how words wash off your back will help her. (Spoken as a non-parent to a parent!)

      Dance is tricky: If she really loves it, doing something she enjoys will help. The bad part of dance is the emphasis on body appearance. I’ve read studies that the best adjusted, least peer-pressured girls are the ones in team sports.

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