I need to admit something to you.
I have an inner mean girl lurking inside of me. She is mean to others, and especially mean to myself.
For those of you that know me, you probably think that I am talking nonsense, but if you could only see inside my head, then you would know the truth.
This is how it started:
Back in 6th grade, I started middle school with all of my old elementary school friends. A new school meant new teachers, new friendships, and new hierarchies. I quickly found out where I belonged, and where I didn’t.
Shortly after school started, I was out on the playground and a girl that I knew, but wasn’t friends with, decided to humiliate me. She skipped around me saying, “I am going around the nerd. I am going around the nerd.” I was mortified and ran inside in tears.
Obviously, I haven’t forgotten.
“I can’t leave my job. Nobody will hire me later.”
“I can’t move to Croatia. Everybody will think I am nuts.”
“I can’t get eloped. Everybody will kill me.”
“I can’t exhibit my artwork. No one will like it.”
“I can’t wear that. Everybody will think I am fat.”
“I can only weigh 100 pounds, so everybody will like me and think I am pretty.”
Ever have thoughts like this? Me too.
Here is why:
When we were children, we developed the concept of a ‘generalized other.’ This term was coined by psychologist and philosopher George Herbert Mead when he was studying social play in children. The ‘generalized other’ refers to our ability to take on the roles of others, while at the same time being able to take into account other people’s attitudes and perspectives. We develop this ‘generalized other’ so that we can fit in and belong in society.
Martha Beck refers to this ‘generalized other’ as your Everybody. I like that better, so I will use it. (Thanks Martha--I hope you don’t mind.)
Over time we have created an Everybody Committee (also Martha’s term) and that committee directs a lot of what we say and do. These directors fall into various categories:
So what do we do about it?
I am not saying that we should turn our back on all of these people and organizations (we would be pretty lonely if we did), but we can decide how much they influence us and in what way.
The great part about this whole Everybody Committee, is that we can hire and fire the committee members. We can have a committee for one thing, and a different committee for another. We get to pick and choose who it is that influences our thoughts and actions.
Who is your Everybody?
Where are they taking you? Are you happy where you are going?
Do you need to re-structure your Everybody Committee? How?
Don’t let Everybody run your life without your consent.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
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A friend recently sent me the following quote:
The Start is What Stops Most People
My work as a life coach involves supporting and empowering people to align their actions with their passions and values. Often times people say that they want something, but then don’t take the actual steps to get there. Their actions are not connected to their desires.
The start is stopping them (and probably you too.)
So why do people have trouble starting?