I read this question in a book and wow did it change my thinking. I now cull people without hesitation from my social media feeds. Posting something I don’t like or don’t particularly care for: delete or unfriend. Without a second thought.
“Finding your own North Star” by Martha Beck is a book that will take you ages to get through, if you read it properly. Not because it’s complex or full of language that sounds intelligent yet no one really cares about; it will take you a while because every chapter is filled with exercises on how to find out how to get back to your essential self. What’s that you ask? Read the book to find out.
Her question, “Who is your Everybody?” hit home. And without context this question could mean who are the people you consider in your tribe, but in this case it actually means who are those people we base making decisions on and we generalise about. Who is that “Everybody” that tells you to be married at 25 and by the time you’re 30, you should have 2.5 children and the home with the white picket fence? Or who is that “Everybody” that says you’re not intelligent enough to do whatever it is you want and maybe a stable job is best for you. Or my particularly favourite, the “Everybody” that says being so introverted isn’t good for you (guess who’s enjoying self-isolation now…).
The book is filled with exercises on narrowing down this “Everybody” and you’ll most likely discover that “Everybody” ends up being three or four people. Two or three of whom you probably really don’t like. Or care about. Yet somehow you care so much about what they think that you live a life that you dislike, just for them.
Once you get over that “Everybody” really isn’t focused on your life, not because they don’t care but simply because they’re busy living their own lives (and most likely worrying about what their “Everybody” thinks), your word changes. Literally. This is only one step in the book to finding your own North Star. But right now, for where we’re at, and for all the reflection we could possibly be doing, I believe it is a step that many people could reflect on.
It reminded me of a meme I read in the week: “You’re complaining about being in lockdown for a month yet you’ve put up with a relationship or marriage you’ve hated being in for years.” And while for many this is not the case; for many others it is. Your “Everybody” is who you choose it to be. And they will influence your decisions and life, unconsciously, subconsciously and consciously for many many years to come. So think about it; who is your Everybody and then change your “Everybody” to “Somebody” you actually care about.