“Don’t worry about what other people think.”
As a person who thinks too much, and having developed a habit of sharing many of my insecurities with others, I’ve grown accustomed to my friends telling me not to worry so much about what others think.
I understand that the intention is to help me stop making my decisions solely based off what others think of me, and that if something makes me happy I shouldn’t worry about the opinions of others. After all, what others think about me is ultimately out of my control.
The idea makes sense, and I’m all for living my best life. However, I believe there’s a difference in worrying about what others think and how they feel.
I should probably worry less about what others think of me, and instead focus more of my attention on how others feel. Not necessarily how others feel about me…more, I guess, how they feel because of me.
Yes, how others feel might also be out of my control. But if taking time to think of others before saying, or doing, something can make those around me feel better, wouldn’t it be worth the extra effort?
And maybe that’s a long introduction to get to the main point of this article, but it gives a little context to how I’ve been feeling recently.
See, my wife is 6 months pregnant. And while sharing our happiness and excitement with others is fun for both of us, I get nervous every time we share baby updates.
Because one of the friends who sees my social media posts miscarried a few months ago.
Because another has been trying to get pregnant for years and has never had a positive test.
Because several of my friends who now have children went through years of not getting pregnant, miscarrying whenever they did, and spending the majority of the time wondering when, or if, they’d ever have a baby.
I get nervous because each post celebrating what I have is a reminder of what so many of my friends desperately want.
To the friends I mentioned before, and to anybody else going through a similar situation, I can’t say I know what it’s like to be in your shoes. I’m not going to pretend that what I’ve gone through in my life has helped me understand your feelings.
It hasn’t. I have no idea how you feel.
But I think about you a lot.
Do you feel bitter?
Do you feel angry?
Do you feel embarrassed?
Do you feel alone?
I mean, any of those feelings would make sense.
While I don’t like knowing that something I share makes you feel any of the emotions I mentioned, it probably does. And I’m not going to tell you that it shouldn’t.
You’re going through hell, and hell sucks. Nothing I do will change that.
I’m not writing this to tell you why you shouldn’t feel a certain way, and I’m not trying to give advice about what to do with your feelings.
I simply wanted to say that I haven’t forgotten about you. I think about you all the time.
I think about you every time I look at our ultrasound.
I think about you every time I feel our baby move.
I think about you every time my wife brings home a new onesie she found at the store.
You may feel alone, and you’re allowed to…but you aren’t unnoticed.
You aren’t invisible.
I see you.