Why do we care so much about what other people think…?


I’ve had a funny morning which started off with me wondering why people try to put themselves, and others around them, into different “camps” – and object so much to people who aren’t in their camps with them… Which then got me to wondering why, in general, we care so much about what other people think? Is it something ‘tribal’ – something innately within us that make us this way…?

I’ve had two experiences in the last 24hrs that have made me ponder this; one was the age-old “you’re vegetarian; why?” conversation – which, having been veggie since I was 4 years old, yes – has become a little tiresome… not because I don’t welcome people’s curiosity – I really do – but I don’t welcome it when it comes from a place of the other person feeling defensive because I have chosen not to eat meat.

I just find this plain odd; you make your choices and I make mine ~ surely, once those choices are made, we can then get on with the business of living them, and respect others choices along the way too?

I’m not judging you for eating meat ~ yes, I would prefer it if you didn’t – but I accept that its your choice to ~ so please don’t automatically get on the defensive with me because of my choice not to…
And pleeeease don’t try to “turn” me; I find this about as offensive as me trying to turn you against your children, or your parents, or your religion – anything that is part of your core-ness of “you”. And it’s doubly offensive when you’ve just met me.

But why do either of us care….?

The second thing that got me pondering today was reading some articles on-line about type 1 diabetes… By and large, it seems that peeps fall into one of two camps there as well; that diabetes is, or isn’t curable. And those who fall into the “it isn’t curable” camp, seem to get a bit miffed at the suggestion that type 1 diabetes could be curable, or even more manageable, through diet. Which makes me a little sad that there can’t be more of a middle ground ~ it feels a bit like my consultant only believing that there’s one way to treat diabetes; through insulin…

Although I do empathise with the diet and diabetes thing, as I know from experience how much this one can push buttons.

In fact it’s what reminded me how much caring about what other people think can affect us; in June I was at a large networking and social “do” – it was pretty much the first social engagement I’d been to since being diagnosed… and during the time between diagnosis and said function, I’d been working my socks off to try and get my blood sugars down… anyway, so at the event I was chatting to someone I’d not seen for a little while and he asked why I wasn’t writing at the moment… I said I’d been focusing 100% on my diabetes diagnosis, and on getting well, and that it had pretty much taken over from anything else in my life, to which he replied “yea, but you can just change what you’re eating and sort that can’t you?” – and he said it so flippantly that I literally felt like I had been smacked in the face.
I tried to calmly say that though I was definitely working on that being the case, it wasn’t quite as simple as that, to which he replied “but you just need to cut back on a few bits and bobs don’t you, I mean it’s just about eating a bit healthier isn’t it?”. I’m sure he didn’t mean to, but he made it sound as if, if I just stopped drinking fizzy drinks and eating pizza (neither of which I *ever* had anyway) then I would be fine; so what was I making such a fuss about?
I had just spent four months solidly reading every and any snippet of information on diabetes that I could get my hands on, spending hour upon hour researching every possible theory around curing diabetes I could find; I had tried hard exercise, gentle exercise, no exercise, I had tried low carb eating, high protein eating, virtually not eating… and he seemed to be suggesting that I just needed to pull my socks up and try a bit harder. I was so angry, and so on the brink of tears, that I had to virtually run away from him and into the ladies loo in order to try and get myself together enough to go back out to the 500 or so guests there.

And then for the next few days, I was really, really bummed out by the conversation. I kept telling myself it was ridiculous to feel so low over a conversation that probably had little meaning to the other person; that in all likelihood he really didn’t mean it to come across the way it did; but still I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was a big failure at this whole diabetes management thing. That it wasn’t that hard, that I was lazy, and that I was making a mountain out of a molehill… all sorts of lovely thoughts. It was a pretty horrible couple of days.

But then I read something; I can’t actually remember where or even what exactly it was – but it was something along the lines of:

The happiest people are those that don’t care what other people think.

And whilst I don’t totally embrace this idea (as I think its nice to sometimes care what others think; as by caring you can, well, show you care…) it was enough to jolt me out of the downward loop I was in, and remember to just be me. And then I think someone posted on facebook the lovely quote:

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken”

And ~ ping ~ everything shifted and lifted, and all was well in my world again :)

But the conversations yesterday and this morning did get me thinking again; why do we care so much? And why do we feel more comfortable when we feel we belong in groups – is it just human nature…?

I know from personal experience, breaking away from “the norm” is a sometimes uncomfortable, and sometimes lonely experience; so is it simply a matter of us wanting to feel supported within the surroundings of our ‘tribes’ of people who feel the same way as we do…?

And so endeth my Wednesday morning philosophical pondering n’ musings… :)

Would love to hear your thoughts? xo

PS – and yes, I do get the irony of feeling/writing this, and then asking what you think ;) although I’m learning to embrace my “me-ness”, I guess a part of me still wants to find my “pack” too…  ♥


2 thoughts on “Why do we care so much about what other people think…?

  1. I totally understand how you are feeling. Although I do not suffer from Diabetes I have had other health issues which I have taken ALL routes to help me improve my health. It is a lonely road especially when you have been told you were lazy since you were a child to find out finally at 53 years old you have a mitochondria energy malfunction! The one simple thing I have learnt that has helped me considerably is that when people talk to you like that,it is actually their own reflection hitting back to them. That’s why they feel uncomfortable! It has nothing to do with you all but everything to do with them. I now smile,send them love and let it go sailing by. I no longer need to justify to anyone. Big hugs x

    • Ah, thank you! That’s a lovely way to deal with it; I like the thought of sending love.
      It was funny; I knew the comments probably weren’t intentional, but they still *really* bothered me – I still cared… It’s such a funny instinctual feeling that most of us possess… And of course, it’s so easy to judge; I know this is still one I’m working on.
      That and trying to remember to “be kind, remember everyone you meet is fighting their own battle” <3
      Thanks for the {hugs} – sending back xo

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