The Recital

In the cinemaDoes it ever feel like the people that you are  closest to treat you like chopped liver?

Your husband repairs the neighbors garage door while your garbage disposal waits to be installed.

Your mom is a gracious host to your friends but was yelling at you to clean your room less than hour ago.

You plan coffee dates with your girlfriends but become ungrateful when your husband asks you to bring him the lunch he left at home.

It is like we care more about what other people think than the people closest to us.  Why is that?

Before we get married and start a family we only have ourselves to worry about. We are solely responsible for what we say, eat, drink, spend, and wear.  Through these actions we are communicating. We are attempting to have others think and feel a certain way about us based on the picture we paint through these words and actions.  For example, Harry would like you to perceive him as important.  He wears new clothes, drives a nice car, works long hours, and picks up the tab when he is out with friends.  He seems to have “arrived”.  Harry only has to navigate his actions in his attempts to ensure his audience perceives him as important.

To create a more thorough image, let’s imagine Harry on a stage. On this stage he is doing his interpretive dance to communicate and express his life to his audience. All of his actions/dancing are a demonstration of “importance” so that anyone who happens to see him could only infer that Harry is important.

But the whole reason he is doing a song and dance on this stage is because he ultimately feels as though he is NOT important. Ultimately, Harry feels like he is replaceable. But the audience cannot know that under any circumstance. Harry must maintain the audience’s thoughts to ensure that he does not feel replaceable. So long as “they” think he is important, he does not have to worry about feeling replaceable.

Lets fast forward to Harry’s future: he has a spouse and children. The members of his family are not a part of the audience, they are now a part of his song and dance on stage. He has added dance team members. And now he must attempt to control their dance number so that the audience continues to see him as important. Not only as an important individual, but an important husband and father, as well. Added pressure. When a member of his family falls out of his inferred choreography he runs the risk of being exposed as replaceable.

Our actions are too often navigated by what we think other people are thinking.  We create a song and dance for people that may or may not even be watching. This is not freedom. This is a personal imprisonment, only we’re the prisoner AND the guard. Our prison sentence ends when we step off the stage and allow ourselves to be who we were intended to be regardless of what others may think or feel.


Written by Ashlee Secord, a licensed therapist serving the metropolitan area of Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Contact her to set up an appointment to begin reducing your negative self-talk.