“Everybody says…” is a phrase I am most guilty of saying. And it has been the biggest thing to hold me back in the past. Why? Well, to answer that, we first have to discuss who this “everybody” is.
So what do I mean when I say, “Everybody says…”
Everybody…that’s a pretty broad term. About as broad as it gets. Clearly, I can’t be talking about every single human on the planet. We’ll wipe that option off the board. I’m also not talking about society’s expectations of me because those expectations mean nothing to me. To most of us if we’re being honest. Everybody means two things to me.
1. Comments my circle has made.
Occasionally, the people in my circle will make a jab at me, doubt my career path, or just say something not so nice. I’m positive we’ve all experienced something like this. Even if they mean well, people (another synonym for everybody) can say things that stick around. What happens then is that their words become my own in my head.
This turns into “well…everybody says that…” instead of saying “this person thinks that…” and this is an important point. One allows me to continue doubting myself, feeling bad about something, and stay in a place of heightened judgment. The other makes me take accountability. I have to acknowledge that I’m too wrapped up in other’s opinions. I have to acknowledge that because of my own insecurities I agree with them. And I have to acknowledge that a person close to me is wrong. That’s not always easy to see.
2. Negativity I’ve internalized.
This one is a little trickier. This comes when I hear some sort of negativity or I even voice it myself. It might even come from some sort of expectation or standard that I don’t feel capable of meeting (hello, insecurities). But I don’t acknowledge it, like many of us, and instead, I internalize it. It becomes part of me without me even noticing. My fears dictate my thoughts. At least, in this instance. My fears of failing, disappointing myself, and not meeting some sort of expectation (either one I set or one set for me), all begin to control my thoughts and that turns into “everybody says…”, which isn’t good.
The everybody is just the negative little voice in my head that says I can’t do something, I won’t do something, or that I’ll fail at something.
And it’s a lot harder to fix.
Ultimately though, both of these situations have the same sort of fix. Or at least, I think they do.
We have to re-frame our thoughts.
So let’s say you find yourself in this situation. Maybe you catch yourself saying out loud that everybody thinks it’s weird that you do something or that everybody hates that shirt. That’s good, because you’ve already done that first step (which is most important). You’ve recognized the problem.
If you haven’t caught yourself doing this, it could be good or bad. My suggestion is to bring a little bit more awareness to what’s coming out of your mouth. Most of us speak without paying much attention to the words that are actually coming out of our mouths so bringing a little bit more awareness to this aspect of our life isn’t worthless if you find out you don’t do this. You could be doing something else!
Okay, so you recognized your problem. Now what?
The easy-ish part. Changing your language. As you catch yourself saying, “everybody says” first mentally take a note of what that everybody is. Is it someone you know? Someone you heard on TV once who had some credibility so their word is more important? Or is it you? If you can’t identify it, try your best to remember the situation for later.
Great! You’ve identified who the everybody is. If you use this phrase a lot, like I did, it can mean months of just spending time identifying who the everybody is. Eventually though, you’ll figure all your situations out and you’ll figure out how much of it really stems from you.
The next step is a little more intricate. We change our actual language. This means that we rephrase. At first, when we aren’t so good at thinking before speaking we have to backtrack. We say “everybody” and follow it up with, “well, not everybody. It’s blank” or “well, not everybody. I just think that…”
As a bonus, these “I statements” help us understand more about ourselves.
Then comes the hard part.
We change the thoughts behind the words. Of course, without changing our spoken words we cannot change our thoughts which is why this part is last. Everything before it brings awareness to our mind. But eventually, we have to bite the bullet and work on our mind.
We have to kill the “everybody”.
I’ll let you know when I figure it out. But all jokes aside, there’s a very simple answer. We let go of other’s judgments and we learn to let ourselves off the hooks. We take time to readjust and mold our mental space. We need to love ourselves. We need to lower our threshold for personal disappointment. We need to have the ability to hold ourselves accountable but more importantly to let ourselves fail without mental consequence.
And those are only some of the steps necessary to get rid of the everybody.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We have to be gentle with ourselves. We aren’t rocks. We aren’t perfect. We can’t take beatings from anyone, let alone ourselves, every day and be okay. We have got to be kind to ourselves.
When we are, we’ll be able to crush that everybody.
And when that happens, a whole sequence of events gets kicked off.
So take the risk. Start analyzing yourself a little more. Pay attention to your words. Pay attention to the negativity in you, we all have some. Learn from it and squash it. No one needs to be held back by the “everybody” inside you. No one.