Do you ever find yourself making a case for a decision you’ve made about your life, in order to justify your decision to other people that may or may not even care? I often find myself doing just that, and it’s been holding me back from confidently accepting my choices. It also makes me apologize a lot more than I want to. It’s almost as if I view life as a competition and I’m trying to make sure I don’t end up a loser.
Let me tell you what I mean. In the last few months, I’ve been gathering evidence, articulating arguments, researching opposing viewpoints, forming rebuttals and in short spending a whole heck of a lot of time and energy building a case for something that I’ve just realized no one really gives a damn about.
What is this mysterious subject which I’m hyper-focused on? Is it something of vital importance? Does it affect the world at large? Is it monumental, urgent, and in need of the dedication and brainpower I’ve been devoting to it?
Um, not exactly.
I’ve just been making some changes to my diet.
Yup. Wow. I’m tweaking what I eat. You know, something that millions of Americans do EVERY SINGLE DAY – multiple times a day, in fact. I’m making a change to my own, personal diet – one which really doesn’t affect anyone other than the three people living with me and the friends and family that occasionally join me for a meal. In deciding to make this change, I’ve been gathering facts and putting together an impressive collection of evidence to counter anything that anyone could possibly say to deter me.
Why have I done this? Why do I feel the need to build a case of facts, arguments and persuasions to justify something I’ve decided is good for me? Why am I turning something little – like my choice of diet – into a huge dramatic affair?
Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the judgment. I feel guilty that I’m making choices that are different than other people’s choices. I don’t want anyone to feel bad, so I don’t want to imply by my actions that someone else’s choices are worse than mine. Once again, I’m falling into a trap of wanting people to like me, so I figure if I build a strong case for whatever life decision I’m currently dealing with, no one can judge me too harshly.
I’m afraid, and I’m probably a little bit insecure. If I was truly confident, I wouldn’t need to present a case. I’d like to be confident and fearless in the face of adversity. I’d like to place my opinions on the same level of worth as others’.
I feel really good about my new diet, but I apparently don’t feel good enough about it to just let it be. Nope, I have to make a big fuss about it. I’m making a big fuss to make me feel better about my choices. I’m creating useless drama to prove insignificant points to people that haven’t asked me to defend my position in the least.
Even right now, as I’m blogging about my useless drama, I feel compelled to share with the world at large all the benefits and advantages of the diet I’ve decided to adopt. I want to tell you how nutritious it is, how it will save the environment, how it’s the most spiritual and peaceful way to eat, how I’m saving money and losing weight and feeling energetic and making the world a better place. I want to impress you, dear reader! I want to get you on my side. I want you to believe that I’ve done my homework on this subject, and that I’ve considered all the facts and made the best choice I believe possible for my family.
Seriously, I’m having a really hard time not giving you a link to an article or two to prove my point here.
I lied when I said I didn’t want your judgment. I DO want your judgment – I just want your judgment to be positive. I want you to think that I’m awesome.
In other words, I’m a narcissist fool creating unnecessary drama and spending unnecessary time on a silly subject.
This is not the only time in my life that I’ve “built a case” for something in an attempt to circumvent potential criticism. Turns out I’ve got pretty thin skin, so I like to be armed with ammunition that will position me in the best light regardless of what anyone’s objections are. I busy myself gathering rebuttals for arguments that rarely, if ever, surface. I protect myself with facts. I gain courage with counterarguments.
Enough with the drama! I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t need to present my best evidence to justify the way I live my life. I just need to live my life. If there’s something I want to do, and I feel it’s best for me, then I need to just do it. I really shouldn’t let other people’s potential negative judgment deter me from doing what I know is right for me. I shouldn’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone.
I shouldn’t feel the need, but I still kind of do.
So I’m working on that. And in the meantime, I’m eating whatever the heck I darn well want to.