The stoic philosopher, Cato, was known to wear the most outlandish of outfits and walk the streets of Rome without footwear. This was his way of boosting is own immunity against shame, ridicule and the fear of disapproval.
As a parting gift from when I quit my first job, I was given white cotton t-shirt on which several of my colleagues had scribbled in their best wishes. At a glance, the white cotton shirt now resembles the wall of a house that has been surrendered to the vagaries of a toddler and her set of crayons. I tried to wash the ink off, but to no avail. So a couple of days back, I decided to wear it anyway and see what happened. I mentally prepared myself for the barrage of questions and the comments that would be directed at me.
However, nothing of that sort happened. My parents, neighbours and friends, with all of whom I spent time that day, never once mentioned the shirt. I wonder how many of them even registered its hand-scrawled notes.
Doing this little experiment taught me that we are ridiculed more in our imagination than in reality.