TWENTY BY TWENTY | 3. it's okay to care what people think

"Now that you've told us some of your strengths, why don't you tell us about some of your weaknesses?" asks the portly interviewer who has had this job for far too long and is spending their lunch hour interviewing candidates for a job nobody wants, but everyone needs. 

"Well, sir (or madam because, duh, it's 2017), I care too much." says the person who is so sure they are nailing this job interview with their totally original answer. 

This whole scenario hits a little too close to home for me. This is mainly because caring to an obsessive and unhealthy degree is not a strength masked as a cute, fake weakness for me; but it is a real, deep-rooted, and debilitating weakness. Ya girl cares way. too. much. About EVERYTHING. 

Making a cake for someone: It must be perfect. It cannot be burnt or underdone. It must look as pure and perfect as the friend I am making it for. It must be endowed by the Lord Jesus Christ himself and taste like a cake the Heavenly Father made with the help of his angel army. If it is not all of these things, it will be thrown out. 

Having a party: Is everyone having fun? Is it the perfect balance between cool and chill and totally "thrown together" but also super duper fun and exciting and mind-numbingly AWESOME? There should be a plethora of snacks and a variety of drinks to fulfill the needs of every single person at the party. I will check in on every single individual, at minimum, seventeen times and ensure that they are having the absolute time of their lives. The next day I will double and triple and quadruple check Instagram to see if anyone and everyone is raving about how earth-shatteringly fun the party was, and if not? I have failed. 

Having a super casual hangout with people I know very well: Are we going to take pictures? I must put on the perfect amount of makeup to look both put-together and strikingly beautiful. I have to make sure I put on an outfit that makes me look like the ultra-cool chick that I hope to be, but that also doesn't look like I'm trying too hard. Did that joke I just made kind of suck? Is everyone thinking about how much that joke just sucked? Do all of my friends actually secretly hate me? Am I that person in the group that everyone hoped would actually not show up so that they could spend most of the time talking about how lame my jokes and I are? 

You get it. 

The thing about caring so much is that this generation's penchant for preachy self-love and individualism to the nth degree has taught me that I am wrong to do so. Before everyone jumps down my throat about how important and wonderful and magical self-love is, I know. Self-love is beautiful and I think it's great that it has come to the forefront of social issues and people are talking about it more. However, it has sometimes gotten to the point where if you are not 100% secure in who you are as a person and couldn't care less what other people think, then somehow you're doing it wrong. I think that has warped what we find is okay to feel and not feel. When, in reality, it's okay. 

It's okay to still be on the path to self-love. It's okay to want to make sure everyone is having fun. It's okay to care what people think. It is okay to care way too much. 

Obviously, it can get to a point where it can be harmful. If you're shutting yourself in your house because you're way too afraid of what people think of you, that's when it becomes a problem. But, generally, it's totally okay to care!!! 

Don't feel bad for putting a little extra effort into the way you look when you go out because of the people that will be there! Don't feel bad for spending an exorbitant amount of time on a project because you want to make sure it's perfect! Don't feel bad for looking in the mirror and not liking what you see! All of that is totally normal and it's not weird or wrong for you to do any of these things!!!!!! 

People who care 0% about what others think or say about them are dope and I give them lots of credit for that. But people who care about what others think about them or say about them and act accordingly are fine too, so long as they're staying true to who they are. Just because I want so-and-so to think I'm cool doesn't mean that I'm going to pretend to be someone that I'm not, it just means I'm going to repeatedly think about whether or not that person thinks I'm cool and probably ask around to find out until no one at all thinks I'm cool because, in all honesty, I am not. 

I used a lot of exclamation points in this post and that is only because I care a lot about getting my point across. Get it? Anyway, it took me a while to learn that is was okay to care. Hopefully this helps somebody realize it earlier than I did.