Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Tao of Kermit

No matter what we claim, on some level, we care what others think. From childhood on, we seek to be accepted, even at the risk of silencing our own inner selves. 

Martha Beck fabulously provides advice for how to deal with external judgment. She begins that an individual has a generalized view of what "everyone wants" from them. Then we base our behavior on what this mental panel desires, not how we desire to live. 
Much of my life has been dominated by Everybody Committees that were totally misaligned with my true self. As a result, I did things that held no joy for me, never felt I was good enough, and believed that if people knew who I really was, they'd hate me. Sound familiar? You, too, may live in fear of being rejected by your Everybody Committee if you set out to live your best life. And you know what? Your fear is well-founded.

Each time I've chosen to live more authentically, I've been roundly rejected by my Everybody Committees. There's my old Religious Committee, who will gladly tell you I'm going straight to hell; the Intellectual Committee, who believe I'm a delusional moron; and the Classy Materialist Committee, who cannot believe I wear a plastic watch from Target in publicity photos. All these folks are still alive and kicking (kicking people who don't share their values), yet every cell of me knows that what they think of me is none of my business. 
How to ignore the judgmental expectations of others who should truly have no say? Get a new mental panel. 

If there are people in one's head that ever belittled one, kick 'em out. Now, replace that fresh vacuum with someone who is one's own personal cheerleader, a provider of unconditional love. 
If you don't know any unconditionally accepting people, you must find one. This person doesn't actually have to be alive. Or even human. If you're stumped, consider these candidates: anyone who treated you with respect and kindness when you were little (a teacher, your nana, Kermit the Frog); any author, blogger, or performer whose work makes you feel understood and encouraged; any nonhuman mammal that loves you (in a pinch, a highly affectionate bird will do); your higher power.
For a constant boost, get some Kermit slippers for emotional as well as physical snugliness.
This may sound like a slippery slope to narcissism, if someone needs this exercise to begin with than the ego has a long way to go before hitting self-obsession. Loving oneself is a necessary component to give on healthy affection to near ones.
I began my current Everybody Committee with a possibly fictional Chinese philosopher who died 2,500 years ago.
In order to solidify the selection of one's personal life coach, one has to hang around them as much as possible by association. She explains it in the article better. 
I want you to oust your internal critics, the ones who say you're not good enough, who think you're on the wrong track. I want you to be supervised, all day every day, by people who forgive your errors and believe in your destiny. I hope you try this method of achieving that. And if you think that makes me a bit smarmy or completely insane, go right ahead. That's really none of my business.

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