When we spend our lives attempting to control the stories that other people tell themselves about us, we slowly watch ourselves sink and constrict into fractions of the people we are meant to be.
When we do this, we are essentially making choices from someone else’s perspective, from a bird’s eye view of who we are and what our lives might be.
Those people don’t have to exist in these bodies, in these lives, with these souls. Our ideas about what they see and how they feel about it are entirely projections, we rarely know what others truly think, even if we really believe we do.
We are not meant to be the main character in every story.
We are not meant to mentally position ourselves in such a way that we convince ourselves other people’s thoughts, and actions, revolve entirely around our own.
They simply don’t.
They are busy telling themselves stories about what they imagine other people might think.
The cycle goes on and on.
This way of existing is inherently limiting to us, because it puts us at the whim of an imaginary force beyond us. There is enough in this world that we must go up against, and so the made-up opinions of others is one thing we must learn to let go.
On the other side of this is freedom.
On the other side of this is instead trying to manage the story we tell ourselves about who we are.
When we do this, our lives expand.
We realize that we’ve been playing out old narratives and reinforcing outdated ideas and playing into perspectives that are very often just projections of our own fears. When we become stuck in other people’s minds, we’re really stuck in the past versions of ourselves, fragments of experience that we just can’t seem to let go of, that we imagine we must be defined by forevermore.
But when we exit the meta, when we stop hovering just above our lives, attempting to have others reconcile them for us, we’re able to finally land, and finally begin.
Instead of wondering about what someone might think about who we are and what we do, we can consider instead how it feels to us. We can take an honest look at what our days really amount to, and whether our attention and time, and energy is really serving anyone, or anything, other than our thoughts.
When we start living this way, when we start realizing that very few people think about us frequently and even fewer are supposed to, we start gaining a healthier and more honest view of how the world really is.
This allows us to see clearly. We can understand that people go through things that have nothing to do with us, have experiences that we cannot understand because we haven’t had them. We understand that not everything is about us, nor for us, nor because of us. We realize that what it means to be mentally free is not to get to a point where we are so perfect we know everyone else would approve of us, but to get to a point where we are so intently focused on the moment in front of us that we don’t really stop to consider that at all.
When we keep ourselves as the main character of other people’s stories, we hurt them, and we hurt ourselves.
We stop ourselves from fully living.
By believing that we’re constantly being evaluated by the faceless group of “people” we so deeply fear, our intent is more honestly to course-correct before we veer off track. Our subconscious objective is to make sure that we are good, and worthy, and never fall out of line.
But it’s usually this very behavior that makes us act out of accordance with our values and beliefs in the first place.
When you are mentally centered in your own life, you will know what’s right from what’s wrong. You will be able to hold space for stories, and problems, and experiences that are not your own. You will understand that nobody is watching you as you walk down the street, nobody is checking your social media profiles and making assessments about you based on them, nobody is evaluating the minutiae of your existence and telling themselves stories about who you are or what that all might mean.
You are not meant to exist within many people’s consciousness.
You are not supposed to spend your life extracting meaning and ideals from all that you are and might be.
You are supposed to simply show up and live.
To stop wondering how someone else is writing their story about you, but how you might write the story that is your own.
Read more: thoughtcatalog.com