I don’t know about you, but I have an audience that follows me everywhere I go and judges everything I do.
No. I don’t have actual people following me around, but I do feel like there is a group of people who see and judge everything I do. (And I’m 90% certain my mom feels it every time I say a curse word!*) And I do hear self-talk that evaluates me based on “what will they think.” All of my perceived judgments of what they will think create unrealistic expectations that I can never quite live up to. These judgments are always there lingering in the back of my mind.
They have been such a big part of my life, that I have recently named them The Harpy Collective. They are a little like the Borg Collective* from Star Trek in their message, “You must conform. Resistance is futile”. Except, the Harpy Collective is always telling me, “You aren’t conforming… You don’t measure up. You can’t ignore us. Resistance is futile…”
I first came to the self-realization of how much I was controlled by these judgments when I was a young mom. I was full of anxiety. I would work myself into a frenzy trying to be the perfect mom and I always felt that I came up short. An older lady in my church gave me a book about overcoming anxiety (because, yeah, it was obvious to everyone that I was a hot mess who needed some help dealing with anxiety!)
I’ve long since forgotten pretty much everything about the book except that it gave me the idea to make a list of all the things that I thought I should be doing and what I thought I should accomplish in a day.
As a young mom, the Harpy Collective said I should:
I then made a list of all the things I felt that I would need to accomplish in a day in order to achieve my ideal. When I added approximate time commitments to each item, I realized that my expectations for 1 day would take over 3 weeks to accomplish!
Still, I was always beating myself up for not doing these things because “they” said I should! So, I began asking myself, “who is this, they that you keep feeling judged by? And why are you letting them control you?” And I started to free myself from the anxiety and despair cycle that I was in…
However, just like the exhausting Borg Collective drama on Star Trek (which I would think was over and then, sigh, there they were again… in a movie and a ride at Six Flags!), the Harpy Collective would be silenced for a while and then pop back up, at inconvenient times and start judging me again. However, just like Captain Picard, I heroically learned lessons from each encounter with The Collective and I learned to battle them a little more effectively each time. And in the end, it is our individuality that will overcome and give us victory over The Collective!! LOL!!!
Here are some strategies that I’ve learned in my ongoing battle against The Harpy Collective:
This example applies to every aspect of your life. I give up a lot of good things in order to go to the gym most every day. When I look at my granddaughter, I know that I want to stay healthy so I can go kayaking with her when she is in college and I’m happy with the choice I made.
If you are constantly evaluating your values and making sure that you invest your time and money in what’s important to you, it’s a lot easier to silence the voices of the Harpy Collective
And you are probably going to want to print out the Mawmaw Thia poster as a great reminder of all of these truths…you will have to email me for the original jpeg!!! LOL
I hope this helps!!!
The Borg Collective!
*If you are reading this mom, I just said a swear that one time… 😯
I am a really strange mix of a hippie, Calypso, Southern Belle, Madea- wannabe, Christian with the attitude of a Rhode Islander! I’m fascinated with people’s stories, I love to laugh at life with people and I’m genuinely trying to follow Jesus’ teachings. Strangely, my search for truth often has me at odds with American Christians who believe themselves to be the guardians of this truth. I was kicked out of Sunday School as a child for asking too many questions. I learned to repress them but my questions never went away. Thankfully as an adult, I feel completely free to pursue answers. Turns out, God is pretty big and not nearly as upset with my questions as his followers tend to be!