A favorite movie of mine to watch around Thanksgiving is Planes, Trains, and Automobiles starring John Candy and Steve Martin. If there is an Entertainer Hall of Fame, these two guys would be in the Comedy wing of that building.
The story follows two men who are trying to get from New York City to Chicago during the crazy Thanksgiving travel time. They are connected on their journeys through various circumstances and I find certain parts of the movie laugh out loud funny.
There is a scene in the movie that puts a pause on the comedy. In this scene the two guys are sharing a room and they end up sharing the bed because there is only one bed in the room. John Candy's character (Del) left two cans of beer on the vibrating bed and they exploded all over the bed when they opened. Steve Martin's character (Neil) then had to sleep in the wet spot on the bed where the beer had been. They end up in an argument and Neil verbally abuses Del and talks about all the annoying things that he has done on the trip.
The line that Del follows with always makes me sit up and pay attention. After the barrage of insults, he slowly responds by saying that it is OK for Neil to feel that way because "My wife likes me, my friends like me, my customers like me, I like me. This is who I am, this is the authentic me."
That part of the movie reminds me that it doesn't matter what most people think about us. It matters what our core group of people think about us. Those are the important people. They are the ones that are going to be a part of us even if we leave our beer cans on a vibrating bed and make them sleep in the wet spot.
Most people aren't even paying attention to us. Our protective personality may have us think that way but in reality most people (including me) are worrying about themselves and what they are going to have for lunch or what they are going to watch on Netflix tonight.
I work to keep this message in mind as I move through life. I try and listen to my authentic voice and move in that direction instead of worrying about what people are going to think if I do a certain thing. It has gotten easier for me as I get older because I have more experience and realize that overall I am not that important. What I say and do should only be important to me and my core group.
I also find that as I let my authentic voice speak more often, I feel more freedom. The freedom does not come from doing or saying whatever I want. The freedom comes from knowing that I am in control, I am the one who owns my thoughts and I am not giving them up to the Neils of the world who are just trying to make me feel bad to make themselves feel better.