Scrolling down my Facebook homepage the other night, I came across an article with a list of 10 most common regrets of people at the end of their lives. The first one really stood out to me: I wish I’d cared less about what other people think. This regret resonates with me because for as long as I can remember, many people I know including myself feel a sense of insecurity around us. This is a feeling that that at any moment, somebody better than us or smarter than us can pierce the bubble and see us for who we are.
As human beings, we always want to put our best foot forward. In an era of social media, we want to display our best photos to send a message to our friends that we are doing very well, thank you. In other words, we hate to jeopardize that fragile image that life is beautiful and that our side of the grass is the enviable side of the grass. This is true especially in my culture where “saving face”is of utmost importance. There are people who would rather sacrifice their lives than own up to their personal demons. The obsession with upholding a perfect image has also caused mental breakdowns when everything you believe in falls into pieces.
This show we put on in life will not matter one iota to those who are dying. Worrying about others just seems very trivial because most likely , the people we are often concerned about are not even thinking about us at all. The problem with being alive is that we care too much about what others think about us. Do I look fat in this dress? Does she think I am stupid? Am I just not good enough for her? That is a lot of life’s energy and not to mention the time we spend worried about other people. Unfortunately, all this time and energy could be spent on the real beautiful things in life (not the false beautiful image you would like to project on social media or in your daily life) like spending time with your family, reading good books and thinking of new ways to solve world’s problems.
I firmly believe that we were all brought into this world for a good purpose. That purpose is to be kind to ourselves by focusing on things that matter. It is not a false image that we should worry about jeopardizing. It is a meaningful life that we really should be concerned about living. We only have a very transient presence in this life. We had better make it good.