I have spent far too much energy in my life worrying about what people think of me.
I spent 20 years as a minister in the fishbowl of public observation worrying about the clothes I wore (he’s wearing shorts?!), what kind of car I drove (we’re paying him too much if he can afford a new car), how my kids behaved (did you hear what the preacher’s kid got in trouble for?), what I did in my free time (it seems like he golfs all the time), and my language (he said damn when he smashed his finger).
All my decisions were filtered through this main question: What will the neighbors think? Worrying about what people think of you is like having someone constantly moving the bulls-eye so you never know where to aim. Or like filling a bucket with a hole in it; it will never get full.
It finally dawned on me that worrying about what people thought of me was letting them be the narrator of my life. I let them tell me who I am. I let them write my story. If their opinion of me differed than mine, I would either justify or modify. I finally decided to be my own narrator.
If I let other people narrate my story, then:
- They decide if I’m the hero or the villain
- They determine the outcome to my situation, positively or negatively
- I waste energy trying to fulfill their desires of me which are often contrary to my own
- I give them permission to interpret my circumstances
If I narrate my own story, then:
- I interpret my own circumstances
- I determine how I come out of the situation
- I concentrate on my life plan and objectives, not someone else’s
- I determine whether I’m the victor or the victim
Of all the lessons learned, making myself the narrator of my own life is the best thing I’ve ever done. I will give no one else the right to write my story because they don’t know the whole story.
The choice to be my own narrator gives me the ability to write my life as a story that assimilates all the good, the bad, and the ugly, and turns it into a happy ending.
Furthermore, I can end each chapter of my story with, “and he lived happily ever after.”