Why It Doesn’t Matter What Other People Think Of You (Told via a pizza analogy)

 
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We live in a world of shoulds. 

We spend so much of our time thinking about what decision we should make, what we should do with our lives, our time, our money, our skills, our every minute. 

And that’s not even touching on the minefield of what we think others think we should do when it comes to all of those things.

It’s exhausting.

More often than not, our shoulds feel heavier than any rucksack we could carry.

 
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I’ve lived a lot of my life blindly believing that what other people think of me matters. I’ve lived with the weight of it, I’ve made silly decisions because of it and it’s taken up too much of my headspace when I could have been doing things that were so much more fun.


So today I want to take some of the rocks out of that rucksack by sharing a truth (and a bizarre pizza analogy) with you:

You are never going to meet someone else’s expectations of you.

If you’re anything like me, you might have bulked a bit when you read that. It sounds a bit brash, so let me explain: 

You are never going to meet someone’s expectations of you because their expectations aren’t even about you.

Other people’s expectations are a reflection of their priorities, their values, their preferences, their life circumstances, sometimes their stake in the matter and definitely their own shit.

Let me explain using the story about a fictional pizza: 

The Pizza Analogy


Me and a friend go out for pizza. She’s been telling me about this great pizza chain she’s been to that does the best pizza and it sounds like a lovely evening. 

So we go there, and it’s alright, but I’m disappointed. It’s too fast paced, the lighting is too bright, their taste in music is way too cool for school, I feel rushed and it’s in a part of town I don’t really like. The pizza is average at best and bloody expensive. I couldn’t really get the toppings I wanted and they only do sourdough pizzas which I don’t particularly like.


Reading this, you might be thinking that it doesn’t sound like a great place (or maybe I’m too fussy and sound like a right Moaning Myrtle)

But that’s not the case, because it’s just about my own projections and my own shit based on of all of those things I mentioned:

  • PRIORITY - I didn’t like the busy-ness of the place  because I wanted to spend quality time with a friend in a chilled out environment where we could really catch up

  • PREFERENCE - I didn’t like the bright lights because I personally find lamps more relaxing, ditto the music playing

  • MY OWN SHIT/MEMORIES/EXPERIENCES - I didn’t like the area because I used to go to university there and it reminded me of a time when I was really unhappy and lonely

  • LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES - I found it expensive because I’ve been trying to live frugally and pay off some debt

  • VALUES - I begrudge paying money to a chain that I don’t really care for that I know doesn’t give a shit about where they buy their ingredients of how fairly they pay their workers 

  • STAKE IN THE MATTER -I know Mr. Meg makes the best pizzas in the world 

And that’s without even talking about the pizza itself! (I’m getting way too invested in this imaginary pizza evening)

 
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Why am I telling you all this?

You’ll notice that nothing I said about the place makes it bad - they didn’t spit on my food, no one was rude, the pizza was perfectly okay, it turned up cooked okay and tasted alright.

It’s just that it didn’t match what I was looking for. 

It wasn’t bad, it was just different.

And that’s the same for you:

Whether you match people’s expectations or not is not reflective of your value or worth as a humans.

What other people think about you simply isn’t a reflection of you: it’s about them.

And whether we like it or not, we all project our own stuff onto things, that’s what comes with all of us seeing life through our own unique lens.

Here’s the thing, though: you were not made to be anybody’s perfect pizza.

You will not be everyone’s perfect slice of pizza, but more than that, you shouldn’t expect yourself to be everyone’s perfect slice of pizza.

Whether they expect you to be is another matter entirely, but as the fabulously unique pizza you are, I’m telling you, that their opinions don’t mean shit about YOU.

(Also, you might find some people who think you are the best damn pizza they’ve ever come across - I hope you do - and while that’s wonderful, don’t let that define you either.)

I believed other people when they told me that my map and my internal compass was wrong and I should go with theirs instead. Hell, I’ve driven so far in that direction that by the time I’ve realised I’m not on the right route for me, it’s taken three times as long to go back to that crossroads. 

All because I thought that their expectations and opinions of me had something to do with me.

But they don’t and they never have.

So take this new truth and let that liberate you:

Other people’s expectations are a reflection of their priorities, their values, their preferences, their life circumstances, sometimes their stake in the matter and definitely their own shit.

Read that sentence again, memorise it and tattoo it onto your eyeballs. 

Drop that off you to worry about list and spend more time on other things that are going to matter.

Do you struggle with what other people think of you? Are you frustrated by other people’s expectations of you? Did this slightly bizarre pizza analogy resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below!

 
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Meg Kissack