What Are People Thinking About You?

Photo via Filth & Wisdomtumblr_mx91nkIKHS1rs81xfo1_1280

Dear Reader,

A friend of mine shared this story with me recently that I like too much to keep to myself. It begins now.

I was dating this guy, this handsome, confident, outgoing guy who lives in Miami. He totally wined and dined me and flew me out to go to a wedding with him in Florida. He introduced me to his friends, doted on me, and made me feel really attractive. 

[Sidenote: Like me, the friend relaying this story has a warped self-image, is totally self-conscious, and has questionable self-esteem].

While I was in Florida, we went to a huge suburban mall.

[Another note: my friend is tall, well-manicured, and dresses impeccably… Doesn’t necessarily look like he fits in at a suburban South Florida mall].

At the mall I started to feel really self-conscious. Was I dressed to gay? Was my walk too effeminate, too swishy? Was everyone looking at how weird I was? How out-of-place? Was I sticking out too much? I started to get visibly nervous, at which point my boyfriend looked at me and asked me what was going on.

“Everyone is staring at how weird I am.”

“Everyone is staring at how gorgeous you are,” he replied.

“No, they think I look gay and out-of-place. Like I’m some weirdo the likes of which they’ve never seen.”

“Well you can choose to believe that. Or choose to believe they are looking at you because you are beautiful. It’s your choice. You’ll never know what they’re really thinking. So you can choose the option of feeling terrible about yourself, like you don’t fit in. Or you can choose to feel confident, like everyone is looking at you in admiration. Which one is going to get you the better result? Which one makes you happy?”

I thought about it, and something clicked for me. I have to change the way I think.

I love this story for a lot of reasons. Firstly, I love it because I love my friend and I love hearing about someone calling him beautiful. Second, I love it for the lesson it tells. Why go around feeling like everyone is judging you, thinking you’re weird? Why go around worrying that you’re out-of-place? You’ll never know what’s going on in everyone else’s heads. So why not assume the best? Why not assume everyone can see that you are as beautiful, intelligent, and worthy as you are.

Merry Christmas.


22 thoughts on “What Are People Thinking About You?

  1. Why are you making me tear up at my desk Orlando? 😉 Merry Christmas, you are the best!

  2. O, you are incredibly handsome, talented and hysterical ! My new mantra, assume everyone can see that I am beautiful, intelligent, and worthy. Thank you !!!!
    Love love,

  3. Not only is your friend Beautiful – You are too.. Love this story…it fits with some thoughts of my own in the Mall this week…. (I’m a 5’10” tall woman in a world of mostly 5’6″ people!) Merry Christmas and I hope all Your Dreams for 2014 come spectacularly. and sometimes unexpectedly. true! XXX Di.

  4. I think can make a legal argument to prove my (gay) weirdness beyond a reasonable doubt. It would stand up in a court of law- so I’ve moved onto ‘I’m (gay) weird, deal with it’ 😛
    Felices fiestas!

  5. Thank you for this lovely reminder. We all have our insecurities, and this is a great lesson in how to deal with them!

  6. A lovely lesson we should all learn at a very young age. I remember thinking everyone was way cooler than me forever. Just recently, we hired a new guy at work who seemed just super cool but the more I got to know him, I realized he was just a big dork like me. Go figure.

  7. Right back at cha, Sweetheart. Thanks for being a source of constant inspiration on the interwebs.

  8. Your friend is lucky to have someone so wise and encouraging in his life… My wish for you in 2014 is that you will find partner that is just as wise and supportive, who helps you see the lovable and beautiful person that you are ~ Cheers.

  9. If people were staring at you, Orlando, it would definitely be because you are beautiful. And possibly because you are gay, but those two things are often found together. Suburban straight people are probably curious, but very likely only that. You are fabulous, and I’m sure your friend is too! Great blog.

  10. simply lovely. so glad for your friend 🙂 and thank you for sharing those insights! i’m gonna try to change the way i think too!

  11. Dear Orlando,

    How did you know I needed this SO MUCH this morning?! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  12. Thank you for this. It’s exactly what I needed to hear today.
    Wishing you a very happy 2014.

  13. Orlando, thanks so much for sharing this story! I find your blog very uplifting and I can relate to most of your stories. Growing up in Mexico in the closet wasn’t easy at all. I was being bullied in school and at home (by my own brother) before I even knew I was gay.

    Because of that, every where I go I assume that people are judging me or looking at me weird, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one that feels that way…

    But from now, I’ll try to care less about what other people think and I’ll just focus on being myself and love myself the way I am.

    Thanks again and Happy New Year!

  14. great message! a friend gave me another way of looking at this too, “it is none of my business what other people think of me and it is none of their business to know what i think of them.” kinda liked it.

  15. I was at a shopping centre once where this incredibly well groomed woman was shopping. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her….she obviously noticed me watching her….I then turned to my girlfriend and said to her isnt that girl just beautiful. She turned to look and we were both looking at her. The beautiful woman looked at us and said “Oh how rude!”. I was in shock….I meant to yell out but we were only staring coz we think you’re beautiful….but she only stormed off in a huff. I suppose she thought we were talking about her rudely but it was furthest from the truth. So needless to say I love this story…and Orlando you are just beautiful inside and out!

  16. Orlando – this is such a powerful principle. I teach it in a communications course that I train. We call it Master My Stories. The idea is that communication (even with oneself!) is a sequence of events:
    See/Hear -> TELL STORY/INTERPRETATION -> Feel -> Act
    The idea is that something objectively occurs, something we see or feel. Then we tell a story or an interpretation of what we see or hear. Because of the nature of survival, we are especially geared to tell negative stories for protection. Then we feel a certain way based on the story we tell and then we act out based on that story. In communication, this can be detrimental when we are telling the worst stories about others because we eventually act out the stories, then causing the other person to tell a bad story based on our behavior, and the whole thing becomes a vicious cycle. The idea is that if we can learn to “Master our Stories” then we can drastically change the course of our communication and even relationships. Imagine giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. Most of the time you’d be right, but the few times you were wrong, the other person would feel safe enough to tell you that you were wrong and you could actually have a productive dialogue, rather than both people feeling and acting out their worst versions of themselves.
    Anyway, if you want to read more about it, the course is based on a book called Crucial Conversations. I have found it to be life altering.


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