A friend has put up a clever Facebook meme about being a worried person – it certainly struck a chord with me. It shows a lady doing yoga while asking herself too many questions about what she is actually doing. I spent the better part of my childhood, teenage years, and young adulthood in precisely this same position. To my credit, I was not wearing yoga pants and a striped top for most of the time.
But I suspect I was doing what many people do – living my life with a vague feeling that I was being watched and judged all the time. Doing things to win the approval of some hovering ghost.
Those who possess a strong religious or spiritual bent will be familiar with this as one of the tenets of their faith. If it isn’t God watching you, it is the ancestors.
People who live in totalitarian countries know the feeling well, and it is not a hollow thing. They really ARE being watched. Even people here in Perth can look around and see traffic cameras everywhere these days, though we have no real idea where the images go to or for what purpose they are seen. Indeed, we don’t even know if they are seen at all…
In my case, none of the above applied – I should have been cheerfully exercising free will all over the place, secure in a lawful privacy. But I wasn’t secure – I was always catching myself thinking or doing something to please imaginary critics. Most of time my imagination crystallised around the schoolchildren I was among. As they disliked me, nothing I was able to do was likely to please them anyway, but I did not realise it. And I was too young to know how to turn off the mechanism of worry.
Reel forward to now. I still find myself responding to an internal dialogue with myself, but there are no ghost watchers adding to it. I do honour my Father and Mother in memory and my Wife and Daughter in present life. I do think kindly of my friends. But for the rest of the past, I am happy to say I have found that I increasingly do not give a FFF.
The decisions made have not deteriorated. No-one is hurt. I am much happier.
* The first two F’s are Fat Fiddler’s…