For most of us, the answer to that question is yes. Even if we feel pretty confident in our lives and have reached a certain level of success, there are situations where we feel insecure. Then suddenly we care very much about what other people think of us.
My Life Under a Microscope
I am in one of these situations right now. Buying a condo has put my life under a microscope. Suddenly, I find myself wondering how my Hulu and Netflix subscriptions will factor into the equation and affect the mortgage company’s opinion of me. The tiniest of things come into play when someone else pours over your personal finances and questions your choices. I hate it that I care what people think of me, but I do.
I have worked hard all my life to have good credit, always pay my bills on time, and earn more than I need to. However, with a total stranger pawing through my bank statements, I feel uneasy, and I wonder what they are thinking about the cost of my hair cut and my decision to dine out once in a while. I know it all adds up to a picture of responsibility, and although I know I am a solid risk, they do not.
I Feel Out of Control (and I am)
All this insecurity got me thinking about how much I hate someone having control over my life. I know that I have control issues. It bothers me having to let a title company hold my escrow money (I want it in my bank account and under my control). I think my insecurity comes from feeling a lack of control in this situation.
Recently I was talking about the condo, and I commented to a friend, “I can’t wait until it is completely under my control.” He actually laughed out loud because it illustrates my state of mind. When you feel like you’re flailing, you become desperate to regain control over anything.
Why Does Being Judged Bother Me So Much?
Although I was approved for a mortgage quickly, I still felt “judged” and less than. I pondered this and asked myself, why does this bother me so much?
I think it is because I judge others so harshly without even knowing them. Therefore, I hate being judged. I have been working on it, but obviously, I have a ways to go.
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Numbers on a paper, don’t tell the whole story. I have been self-employed for more than 20 years and have done well for myself. I also raised my daughter alone and supported a business. Unfortunately, however, I forgot how harshly banks judge people who work for themselves. Sometimes they choose to disregard a portion of your income and make things more complicated, which is what happened with me. This made me feel like a complete loser. It’s funny because they saw me as something I am not. Instead of believing what I know to be true, I let them dictate how I should feel about myself.
Even though I know the truth, I know how comfortable my financial situation is, the bank doesn’t. They are judging me not on the truth but based on their slanted rules. I feel completely overwhelmed by this and frustrated by my inability to do anything about it (again, the control issue rears its ugly head).
Even though they approved me quickly, I ended up feeling dirty like I had to jump through hoops and defend myself.
It’s All in My Head
None of this matters in the real world. In a month, I will be living in my new condo as happy as a clam. However, what is going on inside my head is another story. I can step back and see that my overreaction to this situation is due to stress and overwhelm. But, that does not make it any less real for me.
My solution is to use this wonderful self-compassion masterclass with Tara Brach on Calm Meditation to work through these issues of insecurity, fear, anger, and defensiveness, and it’s helping a lot.
I highly recommend when you are reeling from what people think of you, lean into your mindful practice to help alleviate the uncomfortable emotions. Even if none of it is real, it’s real to you.