I think there is, for most people, an inherent belief that we are less interesting that other people. To break it down a little more, I think that most people, deep down, believe:
- We have less to say that is really important.
- Our lives are dull in comparison to those around us.
- Our motives are straightforward and not worth discussion.
- We are doing our best to get by.
I’m not saying any of these things are untrue, of course, nor am I saying no one feels differently about themselves. But as a broad generalization, I think I’m in the ballpark. Feel free to speak up in the comments if you disagree.
Believing this things generally leads us down two paths.
- We talk about other people. In the end, we are social animals, and we connect with others through common feelings regarding those around us.
- We don’t believe we are worthy of discussion by those around us. This may not be a conscious thought. We may not even think we are worth thinking about whether or not we are worth discussing. I think.
But the reality is people talk. And people talk about you. Your words are taken out of context, your motives are painted in an unflattering light, and your intentions are misinterpreted every day. That’s life.
What can you do about it? Nothing, really. We live in a passive aggressive world, and it’s rare that you will hear real feedback. Your only course of action is to become more self aware, and learn to review your own words and actions from an outside perspective. Transparency is a rare attribute, so you’ll be questioned for that too, I’m sure. It’s OK. As the Dalia lama said, “examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.” So don’t worry.
People don’t want to be judged. That’s not how society works. You are being judged constantly, but friend and foe alike. All you can really hope is to not be judged unfairly. So handle your actions and words accordingly. Beyond that, it’s out of your control.