“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.
Did you like this post? If so please share. You can also add your email below so the next one arrives in your inbox.