Letting Go of What Others Think: Picking Your "Everybody" Group

Image Credit: Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash


We can't afford to care what EVERYBODY thinks. We have to choose whose opinions we allow in, and often that happens through redefining our Everybody Group.

Wait - what does that mean "redefining our Everybody Group"? Isn't everybody, well, everybody?

Funny that; it actually isn't.

Alright before I go any further, let's define what I mean by EVERYBODY.

EVERYBODY is the group of people that we think of when we say "If I do this / say this, then EVERYBODY will..."

EVERYBODY isn't real - my everybody and your everybody aren't the same. The people who I'm convinced will judge me, aren't the same group of people that you're convinced will judge you.

As it turns out, we can only hold the opinions of about a handful of people in our minds at once. Meaning that when we say EVERYBODY, we're only talking about, like, 5 or 6 people.

Why does this matter?

A lot of times, we fail to authentically express ourselves because we're convinced that EVERYBODY will judge us. But, if we change the half dozen people in our Everybody Group, we create more space to be ourselves.

Aside from helping us in our day-to-day lives, this can also help us when it comes to writing or creating; the reality is that we will never produce anything that pleases EVERYBODY. We have to create for a small group of carefully chosen few; preferably a group of people who are open to the work we're doing.

When I first started writing, I imagined a hostile audience who didn't understand my perspective. I assumed my readers would be as unkind, judgemental, and close-minded as the people I grew up around. My tone was one of defensiveness and over-explanation. 

Now that I've started to believe in myself and stepped away from those unkind people, I'm writing more freely and authentically. I know that because I feel peace when I write and express myself; the words flow from the divine plane of inspiration, versus spewing from my wounded ego.

I realize that anyone who believes in themselves and their work, doesn't need to justify, and when I assume that I have a receptive audience, I can write in a more open and authentic way.

That positive shift happened because I redefined my Everybody Group; I removed the unsupportive judgmental people, and replaced them with people who are interested and curious about what I have to say.

That's made sitting down to write easier; it's made existing in this world easier.

All because I redefined my Everybody Group.

Who's in your Everybody Group, and do they really deserve a seat at the table? You ARE the CEO of your life; hire and fire accordingly.

Ah yes. Everybody seems to know what everybody thinks. It’s fascinating to get a bunch of people together and ask about everybody, because, though each individual is convinced that he or she has a finger on the pulse of some universal Zeitgeist, each of their Everybodies turns out to be a very small slice of the human pie... The vague compilation of folks you call everybody is what psychologists term “the generalized other...”

What your social self doesn’t know is that: 
1) very few people actually feel this way; 2) these people are not likely to be the best source of information about your ideal life; 3) there may be a whole bunch of other people who would actually praise and accept you for doing exactly what feels best to your essential self...

See, you want the Everybody you have now, the people whose influence landed you in your present life, to approve of your essential self. This will happen right after Hell becomes the official Olympic ice-dancing venue, and you may have that kind of time, but I don’t...

An important point about your Everybody list is that it’s probably made up of loved ones and hated ones. Yes it’s true: Every single day, you hand over control of your life to the very people you most dislike...

Even the most “functional” and best intentioned families can still create a damaging Everybody. Though they may adore you, the people who raised you from a larva never quite shake the image of you drooling into a rubber bib, or getting your head stuck in the slats of the picket fence trying to kiss the neighbours daschund. As a result, they have trouble really believing that you can make it in journalism, or marry well, or manage a business empire. They feel you’d do better in a supervised group home. If only in an attempt to protect you, your family is likely to suck the wind right out of your essential self’s ambitious sails.

Listen carefully: Your family of origin does not know how to get you to your north star. They didn’t when you were little, they don’t now, and they never will. It isn’t their job.


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