But Everyone WIll Think That I…….
Who gives a f*&^?!?!?
This, my friends, is such an interesting piece of info that I’m sending you today. As per usual, I am expanding upon an idea that I read first from Martha Beck, Life Coach Extraordinaire in her book: Finding Your Own North Star.
In this book (Chapter 4, to be exact), Martha talks about your “Everybody”. The actual list of about 5 people that you’ve chosen to be a part of your personal jury, the people whose voices and judgments you hear when you are thinking about making a change. The ones you really have in mind when you say: Everyone will say that I’m being selfish, Everyone will think that I’m self absorbed, Everyone will…. BLAH BLAH BLAH.
Our social nature makes us long to fit in with a larger group, but it’s difficult to hold the tastes and opinions of more than 5 or 6 individuals in your mind. So the resourceful social self creates a kind of shorthand: it picks up on a few people’s attitudes, emblazons them on your brain, and extrapolates this image until it covers the entire known universe. The vague compilation of folks you call Everybody is what psychologists term ‘the generalized other’.
Many times, you hold yourself back from making decisions because you are worried about ‘everybody’s response. This is an issue for a few reasons
- You don’t actually know what they think about you
- You will never be able to live up to EVERYONE’S standards
- Focusing on them means that you forget about all the people that DO support you, which usually outnumbers the people who would be anti-whateveritisyouretryingtodo
In her book, there are exercises to find out who you’ve put on your jury. To be honest, it’s pretty easy. The next time you are second guessing a decision, pay attention to the people that pop into your mind that would doubt your choice. Some of them will surprise you.
Mine consisted of: a person from middle school that used to ignore me, a brief boyfriend (like 3 weeks) from college who said that I’d never make money doing Chinese medicine (HA!), a generalized “Fall River Voice”*, a family member that I am not particularly close to, and a friend who I always feel judged by.
When I made that list, I realized that there are some people who chose me (and my strong opinions) to be on their jury. If I’m on there, you can officially FIRE ME. I don’t ever want to hold you back from living your best life. EVER. Even if it’s just in your mind.
So, what do you do when you’re stuck in the “but what will people say?????” version of your story?
- Write down a list of 5 people that support you endlessly
- Ask, on paper, what they would say about the current situation and then answer yourself with your (*their) positive assumptions
- Ask, on paper, what you would feel if you were successful in making this change
- Finally, ask, on paper, what your Everybody would say. Then, follow that up with asking yourself
- Are these really simply your fears projected?
- Are any of this things actually true? (Hint: they aren’t)
- What can you do to mitigate these fears and doubts in reasonable, actionable, doable steps?
There are few things that are as strong as your Everybody when it comes to stopping your goals and dreams in your tracks. The more you play with this exercise, the more you’ll realize that you’ve given your Everybody so much power – and they only exist IN YOUR MIND. The chance that these people are spending a lot of time thinking about you are… well… minimal.
The chance that you’ve decided to project your own fears and doubts on other people so you don’t have to own them is… well… huge. Making this list over and over again with each new decision or upcoming change allows you to get honest with yourself about where you are getting in your own way. This gives you a chance to side step your own bs and get moving towards the life that you actually want to live.
If you have trouble calling yourself out on your own BS, you should book with me, yesterday. I’m a magician at that and can break down your BS with a speed that you didn’t know was possible. 🙂
** This, apparently, is a phenomenon that belongs not just to me alone. The city I grew up in has a strong personality. The problem that some of us have coming across is that being ‘successful’ often equals: thinking you are better than other people, being stuck up, not being generous, etc etc etc. So, it’s good to have enough to get by but if you’re killing it: you’re probably judged as being an asshole. That Fall River Voice is ALWAYS in my mind. Be good, but not too good. I mean, our police motto is: “We’ll Try”. For reals.