No One Cares What You’re Doing

 
Photography by Nabeela Parkar

Photography by Nabeela Parkar

 

Knowing when to take advice (and when to give it) is a tricky thing. It becomes easier to navigate as we grow up, experience new things, and find our feet. It is funny in the sense that we don’t always realise we’ve been given good advice immediately. 

Sure, every once in a while, someone gives you a piece of advice that really resonates with you. Words that give you goosebumps and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand because it feels like the revelation you’ve been waiting for. However, sometimes the realisation is less immediate, and with less dramatic effect. You may be thinking back to a conversation you had with someone, and suddenly realise that they’d imparted incredible wisdom on you that you had missed at the time. 

A few months ago, whilst talking to a friend about something that was bothering me, she said, “Can I tell you something? No one is watching you. No one cares what you’re doing. Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves.” At the time, I realised she was right. But later, when I more carefully considered her words, a huge realisation dawned on me. I had spent (and was still spending) so much time worrying about what people thought of me. How I was perceived by the world, what people would think if I did or didn’t do certain things, how people would respond to my triumphs and failures. So much of my decision-making and thought processes were clouded by this overwhelming fear of not being good enough and not wanting to let other people down. 

 

But if one has the right attitude, the times we don’t succeed can be used as springboards for bigger successes in the future.

 

Sometimes, “perfectionism” is a great way to mask a deep-rooted fear of failure. I had spent hours thinking of all the possible ways I could be humiliated or rejected by other people. If there was a way for something to go wrong, chances are I’d already thought of it, and put myself through the trauma of what it would be like to experience it. Great hobby, right?

After a while, I started to realise that people aren’t all that concerned with what I’m doing. It’s not to say that people don’t care about me, or that if I make mistakes, no one will notice. But what I did realise is that 99% of the time, the scenarios I create in my head never actually happen. And the 1% of the time when they do, they aren’t half as bad as I imagined them to be. No one enjoys failure. It’s not fun. But if one has the right attitude, the times we don’t succeed can be used as springboards for bigger successes in the future. 

I’m not saying that I am completely over every insecurity I have. But I am learning to stop giving other people so much power over my thoughts, choices, and the way I feel about myself. I’m learning that everyone has things they worry about too. Everyone wants people to like them. If you put yourself out there, meet new people and try new things, you’re bound to find something you’re not good at or someone you doesn’t particularly like you. That’s normal. That’s how life goes. Something I’ve found helpful is to shift my focus. Instead of berating over the things I can’t do or the people who don’t like me, I try to shift my focus to the things I am good at and the people who love me and invest my energy there instead. You’ll be amazed at how freeing this is.


Nabeela Parkar is one of our monthly Comeback writers. She has a keen interest in writing and would be more than happy to read her way through an entire library. She enjoys being challenged and facing tasks that require her to think for a little longer. She is fascinated by maths and science and also have a deep appreciation for the ocean, mountains and the natural world at large. She is currently in her last year of school and is on the path of deciding what to do with her life as of next year. She’s an avid believer that whilst everything happens for a reason, taking action towards achieving your goals and dreams is key.


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