Doubt and What to Think About What Other People Think

It’s been almost two weeks since we moved from the tiny flat to the palace. I’ve found these last few weeks quite difficult. After we made the decision to move, the initial feelings of excitement and elation were suddenly swapped with feelings of doubt and panic.

“What am I doing?!!!”

Our old flat was comfortable, familiar, well maintained…and our home. We liked it. The new flat is new territory. It’s unfamiliar, and not particularly well maintained. People would ask us excitedly in the weeks before we moved: is the new flat better? We’d shift about uncomfortably, look at our feet and say…well, no.

Why does it have to be better? We have more space (which we wanted), we have an outside balcony, the new flat has a sunnier disposition and is warmer, and without the mold or damp problems of our old flat. However, it really needs repainting. And possibly rewiring. The bathroom and kitchen are the originals – so they are decades old. It looks tatty. Being a rental, there’s not much we can do about these cosmetic things, but these are the things that other people see.

What will people think?!

The thought kept going round and round in my mind. Would I feel embarrassed inviting people round? What would people think? Would they judge us?

What didn’t help is that right after the move (probably as a result of the stress that change causes) I got sick. When I get sick, I feel really sorry for myself. The sorry-for-myself thoughts compounded the doubtfulness I already felt. When we’re ill, we want to be comforted, and I found the unfamiliarity of the new place a little unsettling. Being sick also meant we didn’t get everything unpacked and into place straightaway, which delayed the feeling of homely-ness.

Over the last three weeks I questioned myself a lot. I questioned my journey, my motivations, and the way I was choosing to live. I felt really confused, and I struggled to write. I just couldn’t put into words what I was thinking.

Now, two weeks later and (finally) with a clear head, I’ve gotten over myself. No more self-pity for me; no doubts and no regrets either! I want to share some wisdom with you: words I really needed to hear three weeks ago!

What other people think of us is none of our business.

Who cares what other people think of our home? It only matters what we think; and we like it. I thought I gave up caring what other people thought a long time ago. Obviously I didn’t. I try not to care, but sometimes it can be hard. Change can be confronting and lead to doubt. The truth is, if this is the way I want to live, and I’m happy, and it doesn’t impact on anyone else, then it doesn’t matter what other people think. We don’t need the approval of others to validate our decisions.

Of course people will have their own opinions. We all have opinions! I just don’t need to know what they are, because they don’t affect me. I’m out to please myself, not someone else.

Don’t compare your life with others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

For me, the move caused a huge case of comparison-itis. What will people think also translated as would other people do what we’re doing? No? Why wouldn’t they? What are they doing instead? Should I be aspiring to what they’re doing?

I’m not living their lives, I’m living mine. Whatever they are doing is their own journey, and one I know nothing about. I only know about my own journey. I know my own values, my own circumstances, and my own plans and dreams and schemes… and the choices I make reflect this. In the same way that I mustn’t care what other people think, I mustn’t compare with what other people do. My life is about me, not them.

Looking back now this all seems so obvious. Yet at the time those doubts were very real. I think it was a good experience though…to question everything, and find the answers. Change is what makes us grow. Ultimately it’s made me more sure that I’m on the path I want to be on.

As for the flat, whilst it’s not exactly like home yet, it’s getting there, and we love it. On Mothers’ Day we invited both Glen’s parents and his sister and her family over; something that couldn’t have happened in the last place as it was just too small.

And check out the new view from my desk:

View from office window

I get to look out of this window every day! How could I not fall in love with a view like this?!

What about you? Do you ever worry about what others might think? Do you suffer from self-doubt? Do you find change a little unsettling? Or have you learned to just do what makes you happy and not worry about anyone else’s opinions? I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment below!

7 replies
  1. Lois Field
    Lois Field says:

    Lindsay, the quote “what other people think of me is none of my business” kept me levelheaded about my own decisions when I was being bombarded with negativity about my home. I’m glad you are now falling in love with your home, warts and all and I can relate as so much in my home was installed in 1940 so really old.

    I would love to have that view out your window. What I have is a parking area and if no cars are in it I can see my field. Looking forward to seeing your place when you are ready to share it.

    • treadingmyownpath
      treadingmyownpath says:

      I’m sorry to hear that people were negative about your home, I think it’s great! Very cosy and homely. I was worried about what people thought, it didn’t really cross my mind that they’d tell me their negative opinions! If people are actually vocal about their opinions, that’s a whole other level!

      I love that you always have your family round at your place – that’s one reason why we wanted more space. We could only really fit four adults comfortably in the old place, so it will be nice to be able to have friends and family round more often : )

      Now I’ve finally got my energy levels there will be a flurry of sorting and then I’ll take some pics to share soon!

      • Lois Field
        Lois Field says:

        Lindsay, I even lost friends over downsizing. It shocked me to say the least. I mean I am still the same person I just moved to a different home. After the initial shock I realized that some felt threatened, maybe, by my freedom and that’s what caused the negative remarks. In some cases the people were trying to picture their possessions in my space not being able to see the fact that I didn’t own the amount of things they did.

        Being over 50, there is a mentality that we should have accumulated a huge number of things and have this big house. I bucked the “system” I guess you could say by doing the opposite.

        In the end, it only mattered to me that my family still felt comfortable visiting me here and like you said they are here all the time. ;-)

        I look forward to seeing your pictures.

        • treadingmyownpath
          treadingmyownpath says:

          Woah, I can’t believe that! That’s really sad. In a number of ways. Have you ever written about your downsizing? I mean, I know you’ve referred to it before but it sounds like an interesting story, and I’d like to read it : )


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