The other day I chanced to overhear a phone conversation from one of my relatives. It’s the type of relative who stays in touch over the years, but only so they can crow about their end of the family and satisfy their morbid curiosity about your end.
The asked if I was doing OK, and when they received the response that I was, they moved on to extol the exploits of their children, grandchildren, and impending great-grandchildren. I guess since I wasn’t incarcerated, destitute, or hadn’t met an untimely end for them to revel over I wasn’t newsworthy.
It reminded me that about 90% of the people who live in our heads – old friends, teachers, relatives, etc.- aren’t really concerned with us until we become newsworthy in some manner. Yet we sometimes listen to these voices from our past when judging ourselves and reflecting on our lives.
We wonder what people would think if we did A or Plan B, when in fact most of them aren’t going to think of us at all. I don’t mean to say that from a whiny, “nobody cares about me” stance, but from a liberating “who cares!” point of view.
I think all of us have this internal jury from our past that we use against ourselves. They seem to be the people who need to be impressed by us, they seem to judge us in an almost unconscious manner.
They are the people we imagine shaking their heads at us when we try something that doesn’t work out, or didn’t go as we planned. Maybe these internal critics are just the faces and names we paste our own fears and insecurities on.
But they don’t really exist. Or have any power over us. If we succeed wildly, they’ll just downplay our success to make themselves feel better. And if we fail, they’ll just gloat.
So ignore them….they don’t matter, they don’t care, and the electrical impulses firing in your neurons could be put to better use making the one person happy that really matters.