Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
April 6, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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Last week, while laughing at myself after ripping my pants a-la-Spongebob-Squarepants, one of my two fake teeth fell from my mouth and landed perfectly in the folds of my cowl-necked sweater. Despite a few strange glances, I kept laughing at myself and the ridiculousness of the situation.
As my grandmother so comfortingly used to say, “Just who exactly do you think is looking at you?” It’s possible that she could’ve put it in more sensitive terms, but the root of what she was saying is still true: most people aren’t analyzing your every move as much as you are. Chances are, you are the only one who noticed the teeny toothpaste stain on your shirt or that you stuttered once or twice during your history presentation; everybody else is busy worrying about their own wardrobe imperfections and presentational stumblings.
Too many times I’ve had to reassure friends that when the boy they are interested in doesn’t say hi in the hallway, it isn’t the end of the world. When we’re bombarded with constant contact through texting, Snapchat, and Instagram, it can be all-too-easy to take every less-than-perfect interaction in real life and obsess over it as much as you would a “Read” or “Opened” notification on your phone. In cases like this, you can become your own worst enemy.
Of course, none of us are immune–we all have our moments. There’s the time in sixth grade when I denied my conspicuous lack of teeth after a dentist appointment, or the time I thought all day long about how embarrassing it was that I had to fix my parking job three times that morning in the school lot, or the countless times I’ve said something stupid and regretted it for the next 24-48 hours.
But if you allow all the small things (cue Blink 182 music) to build up, they can overwhelm you. And that last miniscule, insignificant thing–something that normally wouldn’t bother you or be a big deal–could end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
It’s easier said than done, but often the only way to deal is to take things as they come, and to laugh at yourself. Say something embarrassing that you regret? Laugh it off. Wear your shirt inside out? Laugh it off. Rip your pants in the middle of the school day? Laugh it off. Lose your fake tooth in the sand while 15+ people help you look for it? Laugh it off. If it doesn’t bother you that it happened, it can’t bother you if anyone gives you so much as a wary second glance (at least, that’s the logic I’ve been following. And it’s worked for me pretty well–so far).
The lesson here–that my grandmother so eloquently tried to teach me–is that to worry about every little detail of your day, as it is so naturally human to do, is to torture yourself.
Because if you can’t laugh at yourself, what can you do?