• Sara Coutant

I'm not the main character.

Updated: Sep 13

That's tough for me to swallow. I love being the main character.


It's not always wrong. I love romanticizing my life, exploring change, and understanding that people come and go. After so many years of debilitating insecurity, it's an amazing feeling to love myself and love spending time with myself. Those are really really important things for everyone.


After so many years of debilitating insecurity, it's an amazing feeling to love myself and love spending time with myself.

I loved the narrative of "being the main character" until it became so trendy. Then I started to see it through a new lens. Aesthetic Instagram reels and romanticizing life aren't bad things, they're really inspiring. But suddenly watching the main character narrative from the outside in revealed something to me...being the main character in your life can be a pathway to miss out on community.


But suddenly watching the main character narrative from the outside in revealed something to me...being the main character in your life can be a pathway to miss out on community.

I faced a lot of rejection throughout parts of my life, particularly from women. It was really painful. I lived those years convinced that I was cursed to be rejected by women and couldn't always figure out why. In adulthood, I've found a lot of incredible women, but the self-protection that rejection brought manifested in "main character syndrome". I didn't want to lean on other people because what if I heard something they said about me? What if I found out I was an annoyance to them? Working through the spirit (or curse, if you will) of rejection is tough. It runs deep.


In adulthood, I've found a lot of incredible women, but the self-protection that rejection brought manifested in "main character syndrome".

On top of all of this, I'm very independent, which is another thing I love about myself. Women have overcome so much in this world and I am proud to be independent and driven. I am grateful that my partner and I can maintain independence and individualism even as we come together to unite and start a life together. That's great. But I recently found this all came together to keep me from community.


I am grateful that my partner and I can maintain independence and individualism even as we come together to unite and start a life together.

I became content to hold people at arm's length, just in case they hurt me. I would stay on the defense, trying not to care too much if I found out someone I liked and trusted actually didn't like me. I would assume most people I met didn't want anything to do with me to prepare myself for the worst. And this all led me to shrug my shoulders and carry on as the main character in the narrative.


I became content to hold people at arm's length, just in case they hurt me.

I've worked hard to overcome caring about what people think of me and to realize that most people don't have a problem with me. They might just be indifferent to me and caught up in their own story. All of our individual stories are beautiful things, but not when it removes us from community.


All of our individual stories are beautiful things, but not when it removes us from community.

It's a complicated thing. On the one hand, self-love, confidence, holding other people's opinions loosely, and being comfortable in yourself are all important things. But looking at everyone else through the lens of our story is dangerous.


I want to step out of my story and into others. I want to truly listen to and observe their stories, cheering them on as they grow and change. I want to see the people around me as main characters in their lives, not just side characters in mine.


I want to see the people around me as main characters in their lives, not just side characters in mine.

So go ahead: romanticize your life, be strong and independent, and don't let people's opinions hold you back. But don't let main character syndrome and self-love keep you from community. Here's to listening better, asking more questions, seeing the people around us, and cheering other people's stories on too.


Here's to cheering other people's stories on too.
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