My dad used to always tell me when I was a kid “You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.”
Maybe that quote is idiotic and doesn’t directly give any kind of real life lesson. It certainly made me question my father’s sanity at a young age, this much is true, but in keeping with the somewhat silliness of mypickmeup.com, let’s break this quote down.
On a basic level, this quote is essentially saying that you can control certain areas of your life (who your friends are and picking your own nose), but you cannot invade someone else’s personal nostril space and start digging around for treasure. Physically, you can, but it’s simply just not socially acceptable.
Now, clearly picking your friends nose is an extreme case, but what other choices do we make in our lives that are altered by what is considered socially acceptable or at least what we think is socially acceptable?
Maybe it’s as simple as cutting our hair a certain way?
Maybe it’s wearing a dress that is too revealing?
How about more personal areas?
Maybe it’s taking a job in that field that “won’t make any money”.
Maybe it’s wearing those tight pants if people consider you “fat”.
Maybe it’s getting that tattoo that “you’ll regret when you get older”.
Maybe it’s drinking at a party. Maybe it’s traveling to that place. Maybe it’s dancing to that song. Maybe it’s wearing clothes from that store. Maybe it’s eating at that restaurant. Maybe it’s hanging out with those people.
Maybe it’s becoming that person.
In the wild animal kingdom that is the world, how many of us have made choices in our lives based on what other people said or what other people thought? I’m going to go out on a sturdy limb of an 800 foot redwood tree and say it’s 100%.
But why? When did it start to matter what other people thought about the things that we do? When did the world become a place that we need to impress? When did our lives stop becoming our own?
The unfortunate reality of life is that we subconsciously make decisions about our lives based on the opinions and ideas of others without even realizing it. Whether those people be friends, family, teachers, coworkers, or just imaginary beings we’ve made up in our heads, the “voices” as many like country music star Chris Young refer to them as seem to force their way into our minds and guide our paths without our control.
Think about the decisions that we have made in our lives based on other’s opinions.
Personally, my college choice was heavily based on the opinions of my parental figures who both went to that college and considered it “a safe move”. My career choice was also based on my family’s idea that “this career will always have a job available”.
Then, add in all of the things I didn’t do based on what I thought others might think, like waiting so long to start a blog, not playing music at an open mic night, and not even trying to move out of my home city due to a certain level comfort.
Do I regret any of these decisions? No, not at all. Do I accept the fact that all of these decisions were mine to make? Yes. But do I begin to see that much of my life was dictated by the opinions of others or the fear of what others might think? Absolutely!
The fear that we have of what others think or might think is essentially our fear of change. We can sometimes be afraid of stepping out of that comfort zone and becoming something else because we are comfortable where we currently are no matter how much we dream about what stepping out of that comfort zone will look like. And, sadly, we are willing to give up who we really are inside to stay in that comfort zone.
Let’s just think about how utterly ridiculous that is! I mean, seriously, why would we not do what we want to do in life? There are only a finite number of years we get to spend here so let’s spend every second doing exactly what we want.
Why the hell would I not go up on stage and play an open mic? Even if I make mistakes and worse comes to worse, at least I did what I wanted to do!
Which brings me to the main point of all of this:
Let’s stop giving a sh*t what other’s think and do what we want!
It’s pretty much the simplest piece of advice we can give to one another and yet it is so often forgotten. We need to get into the habit of realizing when we subconsciously try to analyze what others may think about one of our decisions and learn to ignore that thought entirely.
Wear that dress that others might think is too revealing. Talk to those people that you want to talk to. Get that job or degree that others think is stupid. Get that tattoo that you absolutely love. Fight for that cause that other people think is a waste of time.
We should never have to compromise who we are on the inside to impress a world that won’t care about us either way. Being ourselves is the greatest thing any of us could ever do and it would be incredible to see a world where everyone stopped judging one another, but more so, it would be incredible to see a world where nobody cared!