Art by Or Rosenstein: Tel Aviv

Why Do I Care What Others Think About Me?

By Sharonna Karni Cohen

Our insecurities can get the best of us...

I’ve always been a coffee shop ‘anthropologist.’


Taking the time to analyze those around me; hypothesize on what they are talking about, thinking about, who they are outside of this coffee shop setting. I often catch their eyes as do they mine. It is a brief and mutual recognition of the other. There are scenarios in my life when I find myself questioning what these individuals think of me. It’s narcissistic; they probably don’t even think but it’s never something I consider when I wonder.


I remember once dropping my lip balm on the road at a cross point. It was over two years ago. A car was waiting at the traffic light and I was embarrassed to pick it up. From bending down, how clumsy I must seem to the passengers at the light. What did I look like to them? Why did I care? They are strangers, they probably didn’t even see me and if they did, who cares if they think I am clumsy or that I look funny bending down to get my lip balm. But this rhetorical ‘who cares’ is a genuine feeling because I care. The answer is even clearer: I’m the only one who cares. Our insecurities can get the best of us and inaccurately infiltrate the external thoughts of others, without any relation to reality.


Of course we reflect our deepest insecurities through the lens of others; strangers, acquaintances, friends and even family. While it is important to be aware of them, they should never cloud the personal growth that comes from honest inward reflection.


So if there is someone you are particularly intrigued by or concerned as to what they think, consider what is is you respect in them, rather than what they think of you. And with the strangers, keep their thoughts within the coffee shop walls. Most people are anthropologists of their own lives rather than others. Respect your desires, and utilize your thoughts to improve, rather than condemn your sense of self.

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