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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student


OPINION: Who cares what people think


I can’t remember how many times I’ve been asked, “If you could have a superpower, what would it be?” Whether it was in Spanish class or a group activity in elementary school, I’d always give the same answer: I’d want the ability to know what people are thinking. Sure, flying and invisibility had crossed my mind. Even the ability to stretch my limbs like Elastigirl in “The Incredibles” seemed kind of fun. But every time, I’d always settle on reading peoples’ minds. 

As a curious person, I’m always wondering what is going through someone’s head. Whether it’s my friends or just a random person walking by, for some reason I’m always dying to know what they’re thinking. And what if I somehow had the superpower I’d always wanted, like Hal Stewart in Megamind, and was able to read people’s minds? 

In a friend group, I’m usually the quieter one — the one who observes everyone else interacting and occasionally contributing my opinion. Seeing how people communicate with each other makes me wonder what is really going on in their head. Sure, we can be honest when asked outright what we’re thinking or feeling in some situations, but there’s always something lurking in the back of our minds. Whether we admit it or not, we always keep some thoughts to ourselves. It's human nature after all. 

Yet our tendency to hide certain feelings and unintentionally judge others keeps me on edge. It's what makes me want to know what people are thinking, both about me and others in general, regardless of whether I care or not. I'm constantly afraid of what people think of me. Do I look bad? Did I do something wrong?  

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These thoughts often consume me and make me overthink. I overthink peoples’ reactions, movements and even words. I overthink past conversations I had, wondering what I could’ve said instead to make me sound less stupid or more genuine. I'm always worried about how quickly their opinions can change.  

You may ask, why do I care so much? What does it matter what other people think? And the answer is, I’m not sure. I tend to be extremely self-conscious, but I am also just curious by nature. I like talking to people about their feelings and understanding who they are and their thought processes. Everyone has a different story to tell, and I'm always eager to listen and learn.  

You’d think finally having the ability to truly understand what people are thinking would be a dream come true. It was for Hal (Titan) from Megamind for a while. 

Yet, it’d realistically be very draining. So many thoughts would consume my head that I wouldn’t be able to keep my own emotions straight. Not to mention how intrusive a superpower like mind-reading is. But what superpower doesn’t have flaws? 

Ultimately, I've come to realize that it shouldn’t really matter what other people think. While knowing what people think of me may settle any doubts I have about myself or a relationship, it’s an overwhelmingly exhausting ability to have. At the end of Megamind, Hal realized that all his ‘superpowers’ made him the villain. It consumed him; having the powers and the looks wasn’t worth it in the end. 

Indeed, it's not worth wasting time, energy and emotions worrying about whether you appear cool to someone. You only have so much control over that. Take care of the control you have, but don’t overthink.

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Yes, having an ounce of a superpower in me would be really cool. You'd have full control over this special power that no one else has. But you’d also have to inevitably deal with the difficulties that come with any superpower. Being a mind-reader is no different. So let go. Because in the end, why does it really matter what other people think? No superpower is 100% worth it. 

Isabella Vesperini (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in Italian.  

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