What do we tell our kids when they’re afraid that the other kids are staring at them talking about them and think their every move is being scrutinized for inclusion in the Wall of Shame?
Do we tell them to hide under their beds, stay in their rooms, and never talk to anyone on the playground again?
Or do we explain to them that while they may feel like they’re on display at school, and the center of everyone’s attention, pretty much everyone else feels the same way? And that in that feeling of exposure, there’s not a lot of room for judgement of others? That most other kids are just plain too worried about what you’re thinking about them to be spending much time thinking anything about you at all?
That we’re all in this together, we’re all a little bit afraid, and we’re all convinced your’e laughing at us.
And we’re all pretty much wrong.
Quick – think about that last random encounter you had with someone you don’t know. Were they stupid and horrible? Did they stick their foot in their mouth? Were they obnoxious as all git out?
Or were they perfectly pleasant and normal? So normal you’re having a tough time remembering them?
There’s an odd dichotomy about the universe. There are two kinds of people on the planet: The ones who are sure someone is laughing at them and the ones who probably ought to be.
The ones who ought to be are rarely concerned about it. The bullies, the pushy types, the truly odd. Blissfully unconcerned they go through their day doing what they do without a clue that their mental fly is unzipped.
The rest of us though, we peer at the world from underneath our bed, convinced that our fly IS unzipped when all is as it should be. Certain that we’re being laughed and pointed at, depriving the world and ourselves of what could be if we pulled ourselves out from under that bed and got about pursuing our dreams.
Silly, isn’t it?
What would we tell our kids?
I submit that if you’re worried about what people think your fly is securely zipped. Get out from under your bed and chase your dream.
Go. The world is waiting for you.