Someone said to me, “You aren’t as important as you think you are.” She said it matter-of-factly. I was crushed until I realized she was advising me to ignore my imaginary audience. You know, that group of people who spend their days criticizing your wardrobe, noticing your mistakes, and discussing your terrible writing behind your back?
Everyone has an imaginary audience, but for those of us born with self-consciousness issues or who suffer from delusions of grandeur, the audience causes a lot of unnecessary stress. We make decisions based on what we imagine the audience is saying about us. We spend a little too much time worrying that the audience knows we wore these jeans yesterday. Most importantly, we stifle some of our creativity; we don’t take chances because (we think) the audience is watching our every move.
Ninety percent of the time, though, no one cares that you wore those jeans yesterday. They don’t remember that blog post where you misspelled “grandeur” and inappropriately used a semi-colon. They seriously aren’t meeting after class to discuss your train wreck of a manuscript.
They have their own imaginary audiences to worry about. You’re just not that important to them. Thank god.