A few months ago for my internship at Southwest Airlines, I was able to travel with seven other interns to New Orleans. It was shortly after Mardi Gras and beaded necklaces were still hanging from telephone wires and street signs. The smell of beignets and bourbon filled the streets and the city was alive with jazz music playing on almost every corner.
I was so excited by all the new sights and sounds that I wanted to just dance to all the songs I heard. I was hesitant at first to do anything unusual around the other interns. I didn’t want them to judge me or think I was crazy. But eventually, I got tired of acting like I didn’t care. I was in New Orleans. I didn’t know when I would go back again. I was going to make the most of it, no matter what others thought.
So I did. I danced in the streets whenever I heard the gliss of a trombone. I stuck my hand in the cold and probably filthy water of the Mississippi River. I ate so many beignets that I thought I might get sick. I even got my tarot cards read by an over-priced fortune teller. It was worth it. I loved every second of that trip once I decided to stop caring about what others thought of me.
We at Scroll believe in speaking our minds regardless of the popularity of our viewpoints.
Being scared of how others perceive you seeps into every corner of life. People are nervous to speak up in class or meetings. Friends worry that if they speak their mind their friends will leave.
As individuals, when we start to do things because we want to, we are filled with more joy and happiness. We can experience more of what life has to offer. We become confident in our identities and become who we have always wanted to be.
According to the BYU-Idaho Counseling Center, “Expressing our feelings can have a positive influence on our values, our thoughts and the way we feel about ourselves.”
Expressing our feelings not only includes talking to others about our opinions but also expressing ourselves through our actions. People spend more energy on their own concerns than they spend judging the actions of others, so why do we worry about what others think? What do we actually fear will come from someone judging us, especially if it’s people we’ve never met?
According to the Anxiety Network, social anxiety disorder is the third largest psychological disorder in the United States. Some symptoms of social anxiety disorder include avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment, worrying about humiliating yourself, and avoiding the center of attention. However, about 15 million adults have social anxiety, so if you’re afraid of being judged, chances are that almost everyone around you is scared too. If we work on judging others less, we will be less fearful of the potential judgments others give us.
So laugh like no one is around, dance like no one is watching and eat all the beignets like there is no tomorrow. Because the sooner you stop caring what others might think, the sooner you start living.