“My clients have a very firm grasp of what Everybody thinks, and they share this information with me almost every day. They say things like:
If I quit my job / have a baby / marry my secretary, everyone will lose respect for me.
I can’t live in a small apartment / geodesic dome / marble mansion! People will think all the wrong things!
Society just doesn’t accept people like me, who have artistic inclinations / old-fashioned values / forward-thinking philosophical ideas.
I have to wear a Rolex watch / Birkenstocks / enormous pants that start below crotch level and drag on the ground when I walk or everybody will think I’m pathetic.
Ah, yes. Everybody seems to know what Everybody thinks.”
– Martha Beck, Finding Your Own North Star, p. 59-60
Beck goes on to explain that our personal jury of “Everybodies” usually consists four or five people we know. We might not even LIKE these folks, but we can let our fear of their disapproval hold us back.
When I‘m afraid that everybody is judging my actions, I’m usually picturing:
1. My critical father
2. An ultra-conservative non-feminist peer
3. Mr. Jaunty
4. Whoever is currently intimidating me most (subject to change daily)
On a planet of almost 7,000,000,000 people, I’m basing important decisions on the [fearfully imagined] opinions of FOUR ACQUAINTANCES?
Maybe it’s time to send the jury home.
Who is your Everybody?