Monday, May 22, 2017

The Oliver Syndrome

In the novel "Oliver Twist" and the 1968 movie musical version there is a scene at the evening meal. Oliver, with bowl and spoon in hand, approaches the master of the workhouse and timidly asks for more. That scene has been gnawing at the back of my mind for a while now, and I've finally figured out why. It's what I've taken to calling The Oliver Syndrome.

When we're so entangled in people pleasing and worrying what others think of us, we're like Oliver. Ashamed of asking for what we want, frightened of upsetting others. We're timid and afraid to live fully for fear of what others will think or how they will silently judge us.

Had Oliver not asked for more, he would've gone hungry. If we don't give ourselves permission to be, and stop the constant fret over what we think others will think, we starve ourselves of a full life.

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