Has anyone ever told you that you shouldn’t care what people think? You know they’re right: you shouldn’t care so much what other people think of you.
Except you do. You do care. You want to be a good person, and you want to be seen as a good person, and that’s only natural, right? So how do you stop caring so hard?
This is what I’ve learned by playing in a particularly tricky sandpit.
This “influencer” thing has been the weirdest two years of my life. I’ve been involved in the historical costuming community for 18 years now, and I’ve been visible with a business in this space for 14 of those years. But this YouTube thing is a whole new landscape.
Young people grow up wanting to be YouTubers nowadays, but when I was a kid, we wanted to be rock stars or TV stars. That’s actually a good analogy for what it feels like.
You can stand in the audience at a rock concert and imagine how amazing it would feel to be on that stage, hearing thousands of people singing along to a song YOU wrote… but in reality, when you actually walk out onto that stage yourself, it’s a pretty vulnerable feeling. Everyone is looking at you, and no matter what you do or don’t do, everyone has an opinion about you.
In fact, thousands of people you will never meet develop remarkably strong opinions about you – both outlandishly positive and viciously negative. Caught in the middle of this circus, you’re still the same silly, cute, fallible, stupid, beautiful little human being you always were. You just recorded some songs or some videos, and now you’re lost in a sea of other people’s opinions. Opinions about your work, and opinions about YOU.
It’s not an easy road, and I’ll admit that I’ve lost a little sleep here and there. So how do I deal with it, and how can you deal with it when you care too much what other people think?
I have a really strong support network of wise people around me. I have people who truly know me in all my flawed humanity and love me anyway; people with whom I feel safe, and people who will be honest with me. People whose feedback, positive or negative, I can trust.
“Know who you are,” says my friend Dr Tom Garcia, who is perhaps the most authentic person I’ve ever known. He’s a spiritual teacher who conducts sacred fire ceremonies out on the land in Colorado. He couldn’t be more down to earth. “Stay connected to your Source,” he says, “and affirm: I am who I am.”
Funny he should say that, because it’s very similar to what another teacher tells me. Remember last month when I talked about “Inner Authority” in a video? Psychologist Dr Julie Helmrich is continually telling me to call on my Inner Authority: Know who you are. Stand in your truth.
It’s the same message. When all around you is madness, go within. Know who you are. Build a support network you can trust, listen to them and to your own wisdom, and then speak clearly with your own voice. (Still working on that last part.)
You’ve got this.
Love, Cathy x