The first time I heard this quote from Coco Chanel, it took my breath away. “I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”
Some people might find this idea cold, heartless, or uncaring. But to a person sometimes crippled by anxiety about what others thought of me, this quote was a breath of fresh air. Reading it made it easier to breathe. Thinking that it was possible to achieve this level of detachment was a ray of hope.
“What you think of me is none of my business,” is the title of an old book (aff link) that I know nothing about. The phrase rings true for me because of my decade of internal emotional work with Nonviolent Communication (aff link).
Nonviolent Communciation (NVC) encouraged me take responsibility for my own thoughts and actions and not those of other people. In addition, NVC gave me the tools for actually making that happen. When I start to get caught up in trying to control other people, I have the skills and techniques for getting myself out of that terrible mind trap.
I have come to understand that other people’s feelings belong to them. They are free to have them. It’s not my job to worry about other people’s thoughts and try to manage and mitigate them. Other people’s thoughts and feelings are none of my business.
Somehow over the years and with hard work I’ve managed to… change. Accidentally. I almost didn’t notice.
I was recently involved in a conflict amidst a large friend group. The main conflict didn’t have anything to do with me at all. But if you’ve been in a large social group you know how problems tend to spread. Some things got awkward with some people, and some people cut me off entirely.
The old me would have been freaking out. And I mean losing my little mind! People not speaking to me? People that I don’t know whether they like me or not? The horror! I would have been unable to concentrate during the day, unable to sleep at night. Just a mess.
But… that didn’t happen. I was able to care about the situation and think hard about solutions without being an anxiety ball over what everyone was thinking of me.
What. A. Relief.
I feel so powerful! I used to be very insecure. But between NVC and fat acceptance, I’m just… not. Not anymore. I recommend it!