"We go about our busy lives daily, convinced that we are being constantly watched and judged by our neighbours, family and friends. It is our erroneous belief that the eyes of the world are upon us. Take it from me; most of the world couldn't care less what we do and get up to or who with!
We are brought up to worry ourselves greatly by the opinion of others we consider to be our peers and betters. We are overconcerned by what the world thinks about us and how they see us. Do they approve of what I say, do and wear? Do they consider me a valuable contributor to society, a good parent, a decent person, a success in life and someone trustworthy whom they would befriend? Do they like and approve of me? Such questions frequently prey on our minds.
During my life I have come across so many people who have invited daily misery to visit them because they live their lives through 'image' instead of 'reality' in order to satisfy the expectations of others. I have known and worked with so many folk whom, after committing some wrong, felt so ashamed by what others would now think of them that they hid themselves away from public view. I have even come across a few people who chose to kill themselves before face others after an event that 'shamed' them.
I will never forget growing up in the 1950s when poorer folk who risked watching television, listening to the radio or keeping a pet dog 'without a licence', and were subsequently caught, prosecuted and fined five shillings, were always more worried about 'what their neighbours would think' when they read about their transgression in the weekly newspaper. The shame of it; especially as memories were longer in those days and one's self respect and good name seemed to matter more and reach far wider then than it does today.
Those who feel the eyes of the world bearing down on you, allow me to provide some comfort and reassurance. In today's stressful and busy world, people rarely notice the strains and stresses of others as they go about their daily lives. Most folk are blind to your presence and the cruelty and misery that surrounds them.
In those situations where a person has a job, one is invariably working more hours for a lot less money this year than they did last year to be preoccupied with the concerns of others. There is neither time, energy nor inclination to read the local rag when they come home knackered. Then there are those who are unemployed and cannot get a job. This group of 'underclass' live evermore in growing debt they will never repay and in houses they can never afford to rent or buy. The only reading they are likely to do is the pile of bills and final red-letter notices threatening to cut of this supply or that, along with offers to take out a new loan from credit companies that can never be repaid! These folk have enough worries of their own to occupy their time than thinking and talking about yours!
The simple fact is that people today are so preoccupied with their own lives and worries, that most probably neither know nor care about yours. Even if someone tells them of your shame one minute, it will be forgotten by them the next as they refocus upon their busy and stressful lives. The sad irony is that one could probably scream 'murder' or 'rape' or beat their child senseless in the adjacent terrace house, and the most likely response of their neighbour would not be to call the police, but instead, to turn up their television to block out the distraction!
Knock on any door in any street of any town in any country of the world, and rest assured that within, the family who lives there shall have some family skeletons hidden away in their cupboard which 'shames' them in some measure. We all have our fair share of problems that those outside our family rarely know of. So worry not about what the papers might say about you, as today's news is tomorrow's fish and chip paper and today's slanderous tongue will wag about someone else another day!" William Forde: April 27th, 2015.