My Imaginary Audience

When I was in college, I took a class called “Adolescent Psychology.”  That’s the first time I ever heard of the concept of an “imaginary audience.”  And as soon as I heard it, I knew I had it – and always had.  It is the idea of thinking you are always on-stage.  That everything you do is being watched and critiqued by others.  It is usually a feeling people have during their teens, and then they outgrow it.

I never did.

It would be one thing if my imaginary audience was made up of people I loved, or even liked.  But my silent onlookers were more like a group of hecklers, made-up of the people I feared the most.  In my mind, every move I made was scrutinized by this judgemental crowd.  They made me feel like I was incapable of making even the simplest of decisions, like what shirt to wear, or how to apply my make-up.  And the more in-public I was, the bigger and the nastier my audience became.  For example, if I wanted to go to the store, the moment I walked out of the house, I felt like I was being watched by a group of people who didn’t like me while my worst enemy gave a condescending running commentary of my every move. (Can you tell that I have been told that I tend to use my vivid imagination against myself?)

That is the way I lived my life before program.

In doing my fourth step, however, I discovered that the leading voice in my imaginary audience was actually…MINE!  That the “worst enemy” I mentioned earlier was in fact MYSELF!

Once I understood this at a gut level, my imaginary audience shrunk considerably.  There may still be a few nameless stragglers milling-about the stands, a couple worn-out hangers-on, but mainly it’s just me there.  And I have mellowed.  I am not so hard on me anymore.  And I am not so hard on others.  And sometimes, when I am feeling especially close to my Higher Power, there have actually been times when I have been my very own CHEERLEADER!

July 3, 2012 This post was written by Categories: On-Going Victories Tagged with:

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