This may sound obvious but I'm currently working with the realization that I do not know what people think of me.
I don't mean that perhaps the way you might think, I mean it more in terms of letting my mind readjust and hopefully letting myself relax a bit.
See, I've always sort of felt/believed I knew what people were thinking of/about me and that in general it was usually (to my mind) not positive. This is likely a basis of social anxiety or something to do with it... not so much in a huge "everyone's out to get me" kind of exaggerated way just in a "they must be thinking I'm dumb" or whatever the thought is.
I was given, by my counsellor, an assignment to spend some time observing what I was thinking. So I took a notepad with me and wrote stuff down. And what I noticed was that I kept thinking I had to do something or be a certain way or act a certain way because of what I *thought* the other person was thinking. Like, for example, someone came over and glanced at my notes and my thought was "Oh lord they must think I'm weird, what if they read it and think I'm talking about them or..." etc etc. But then I stopped. I had no idea what they were thinking. Heck, maybe they thought "oh, she's writing a book!" or "wow, she's taking detailed notes, she must be super smart" or whatever. The point being, I really realized that other than directly asking and assuming the person would be comfortable being completely honest with me in their response, I had no actual way of knowing what they were thinking.
Which is kind of a mind blower for me. (I know, may be obvious to you but to me it was like... what?) A lot of positive personal mental change can come down to noticing what your head tells you, observing that, and then, when possible, making changes around it. Doesn't mean it's easy though.
I think I'm babbling about this because I didn't go to a social event this weekend. And I got very upset about not going because what (bad/horrible/unkind/mean/not nice) things would they be thinking of me for not going? "Oh, she's anti social" "Oh, she never goes to things anymore" "Oh, she's lame" etc etc. Well maybe those thoughts I'm having are wrong. And they're certainly not helpful, because they don't make me more likely to go to the next event, they just make me feel crappy. So, I could try to guess what else they might be thinking "Oh, I hope she feels better" "Oh, I hope she knows we missed her" "Oh, I didn't even notice she wasn't here" or I can just tell myself I have no idea what they might be thinking and try to let it go.
It's a learning curve. It's slow. It's difficult. There's still anxiety, worry, stress, upset. But I'm hoping this can be a good forward movement for me.
I have no idea what that person is thinking. Phew!