Some people live their lives in a carefree manner, without worry or concern for what others may think of them. While others can't help but feel confined and restricted in how they behave or even express themselves for fear that others may judge or mock them.
Perhaps this comes from an early childhood experience. Perhaps you were bullied in school or picked on for something you did, something you said, for the way you dressed, the way you looked, your height, your weight, you hairstyle, or your accent. There's something that every single one of us could've been picked on about.
Or maybe for you it wasn't a school thing. Maybe it was a little league or soccer coach that put you down. Maybe it was a parent who made you feel like you could never be good enough. Maybe it was a sibling you looked up to but couldn't compete with for some reason.
Regardless of the reason, most of us have felt self-conscious at some point in our lives. Even those who don't seem to be concerned about what others think of them are often just hiding their true feelings. If someone at school picks on the way you look, there's a very good chance that it has to do more with their own sense of self-consciousness and self-doubt than about you.
They may simply see you as a target and as someone who can take the attention off of them. If everyone in school is making fun of how your voice cracked or how short or tall you are, then they're not paying attention to the perceived inadequacies of the other person.
That bully may be trying to hide the fact that they have outdated shoes, that they have holes in their pants that shouldn't be there, or that they're struggling academically and feel like less of a person because of it. Sadly too many people when they feel down on themselves try to bring others down to their level instead of trying to bring themselves up.
But the point here is that there will always be critics. There will always be naysayers. There will always be someone who thinks they're better than you or that you won't make it. These people will come and go over the course of your life.
Though the true issue may be their own problem, they will often try to deflect the attention off of themselves and onto you. But their words only have power if you allow them to have power. That's the key here. If you buy into their message then you allow them to pull you down. But you don't have to. You can choose to ignore their words. You can choose to let their words meant to hurt you, inspire you instead. Take it not as an insult, but as a challenge. Prove that person wrong! Show them what you're truly capable of.
When negative and hurtful people come along, remind yourself that they're only human. You may not see it on the outside, but they're likely hurting on the inside. They may be picking on you simply because they want to get the attention off of themselves.
They may be the only one who knows their fears, their concerns, their self-doubts, and their shortcomings, but they are there. Even without knowing what they are you can be certain that we all have doubts of some kind and things about ourselves that we'd like to change. Remind yourself the next time someone picks on you that they're hurting on the inside. Their words may be heading in your direction, but it's really themselves that they're fighting with.
Though it may be hard, don't let others keep you from living your life to its fullest. Think of it this way... if you're going to be criticized, mocked, or picked on regardless of what you do, why not do what makes you happy? If you're be teased whether you say yes or no, then you might as well answer with your heart. If you'll be judged for acting or not acting, then do what you feel is the right thing to do. Finally, if you'll be called a fool for dancing or another name for sitting on the sidelines, and you love to dance... then go ahead and dance!