I was watching cable news today, they said this was the most challenging time in our national history. They said that circumstances have never been this bad. They said we’d be lucky to make it through these hard times in good enough shape to bury.

They said a lot of things.

Well, I got to thinking about “they” today. Who are “they,” anyway? “They” are everywhere. You can’t get away from “they.”

They are always talking at you. They are always making predictions. They are always telling you about things that are going to happen.

They are your invisible critics who love telling you what you can and cannot do. They are the voices that make quick judgments, and pretend to know the score. They’re everywhere, and they never shut up. You’ve heard them before.

“They say not to eat eggs…”

“They say to avoid butter.”

“They say you should sing ‘Happy Birthday’ three times while washing your hands in the sink…”

“They say, with your kind of cancer, your chances of survival are bad.”

“They say you might never get your life back after the big mistakes you made.”

“They say you’re done for.”

“Hold up. Wait a second. They’re now saying butter and eggs are good for you.”

They, they, they.

You can’t get away from them. Their voices penetrate your brain from every angle. And if you ever start to actually concentrate about what they’re saying, you’ll discover something important:

They are full of beans.

They have no idea, they don’t know you, they don’t know how you’re made, or what kind of uncharacteristic strength lies within you. In fact, they don’t know jack diddly.

They said that Gerald would never recover from the chemo treatments that nearly killed him. They also said he was going to die before age 40. Gerald is 89 today, and healthy. And I wonder what “they” would have to say about that.

They were also wrong about Rachel, whose children and grandchildren abandoned her because they said she was a “drunk old woman.” They said her family was ruined, they said Rachel would never see her grandkids again.

Today, Rachel celebrated her 19th year of sobriety, and she just attended her grandchild’s 30th birthday party last week. She is closer to her family than ever before. They severely underestimated her.

They said that Donald was going to die of a rare autoimmune disorder. He couldn’t keep weight on, he was severely malnourished. He was withering into oblivion, and he kept getting worse. Until one day—snap—it all changed. There were no logical explanations, nobody knows what brought the change. They can’t explain it.

It might have been all the prayers. Or it could have been that Donald finally quit listening to “them.” Either way, Donald is fully recovered now. He is a healthy weight, and he is a personal trainer who can bench press a Buick Roadmaster.

They said that there was no way Mikayla would ever walk again. Due to a malady of health problems after a car accident, Mikayla was using a wheelchair, and losing use of her feet. Her cognitive skills were affected, and They said she might be in a vegetative state one day.

But that didn’t happen.

Somehow, Mikayla took a turn for the better. Again, I don’t know what the magic bullet was, I don’t know why the course of her destiny changed. I only know one thing. I know “they” were flat wrong about her.

And here’s the thing. They will always be wrong. They usually are. Which is why I want you to know something.

They can’t tell you what will happen in your life. They cannot see what the future will bring. And above all, They cannot tell you what you cannot do. So don’t let their voices in. Don’t listen to their falsely confident tone. Don’t let them boss you around. Don’t pay attention to them.

One day, you’re going to get through whatever private mess you’re going through. Someday you will be surprised at how far you’ve come. And this transformation you undergo will not only blow your mind, but mark my words, it will blow “theirs,” too.

For once in their lives, “they” will be speechless.

51 comments

  1. Eileen - October 8, 2021 7:16 am

    Collectively “they” have always bothered me. When someone starts a conversation with they, I ask “Exactly who are they?” I must be the most annoying person on the planet.

    Reply
  2. oldlibrariansshelf - October 8, 2021 7:23 am

    No, Eileen. The most annoying people are the ones who start conversations with “they”. Thanks, Sean. We all need much less of what they offer!

    Reply
  3. Norma Den🇿🇦 - October 8, 2021 7:30 am

    Yes, yes, yes, “They” have been around since time began and will be here for eternity. We allow “Them” to rule our thought, our lives, our existence. Remember when “they” said coffee would kill us, bah humbug. From now on “they” do not exist in my life. Like Eileen I also ask who “they” are and what authority do they fall under. Let’s all ignore “Them and They” and concentrate on the truth and our gut feelings. Thanks Sean for starting my day here is South Africa on a positive note.

    Reply
  4. Dean - October 8, 2021 7:40 am

    God knows our future not them.

    Reply
  5. BEX - October 8, 2021 8:23 am

    AMEN, AMEN,AMEN!

    Reply
  6. Ellouise Pennington - October 8, 2021 10:21 am

    Unlike you, “they” never have anything good to say. Nothing positive for anyone. Anytime a person or a group needs to use fear to keep a person or a group in line, it’s “them”. And it’s very, very bad. Thank you so much, Sweet Sean, for never being a “they”.

    Reply
  7. Liz - October 8, 2021 10:48 am

    Needed this today, my day just got better ❤️

    Reply
  8. Virginia Russell - October 8, 2021 11:02 am

    This is the only one of your pieces I’ve read that concerns me. Before I accept what you say, I want to know who the they are that you refer to. Most authorities (if this they you speak of aren’t family and friends who get their news off Youtube) speak in terms of probability. If they are oncologists, they know the death rates from pancreatic (or any other kind of) cancer. If they work with addiction, they know the probability of a person getting and staying clean. It doesn’t mean it’s not possible to, but it’s a long shot because it’s hard as hell. Of course it’s possible to beat the odds, but it’s hard. Otherwise Las Vegas would be out of business. I hate to see you make such sweeping statements about people who have a lot of training and experience. If that’s what you were doing.

    Reply
    • Beryl - October 8, 2021 12:56 pm

      I think what he saying is, we are ALWAYS at choice! Yes, there are people who have more knowledge than I in certain areas, but they are not me. Which means, that algorithm that they are using to predict an outcome may not necessarily apply to ME. I am unique, I have Control and choice over my thinking. Since thoughts become things, I always ask myself this question, “Is it true, for me?” If it is not, then I need to turn my thoughts to more productive outcomes. Cause and effect, it is the law of the Universe! As you believe, so it is.

      Reply
    • Mark3:26 - October 8, 2021 3:55 pm

      Yes Virginia… there is a Santa Fauci and he is so well trained to tell us what to think!

      Reply
    • John - October 8, 2021 9:07 pm

      Virginia, are you related to “Susie” from October 1?

      Reply
      • Susie - October 9, 2021 8:58 pm

        No, John. This is Susie, and Virginia and I are not related. We just happen to be two people who can THINK for ourselves. Lol

        Reply
      • terric - October 10, 2021 12:40 am

        Love it John!

        Reply
    • Susie - October 9, 2021 8:46 pm

      Amen, Virginia Russell. I see a lot of comments here from people who seem to be resistant to learned people. It’s easier for them to poo-poo qualified advise than to read up and learn more. Ive been around more than my share of these people and I have found out they are basically too lazy to think for themselves and do their own research. Unfortunately, there are more and more of them all the time, which is a VERY sad commentary for this country.

      Reply
  9. Suzi - October 8, 2021 11:14 am

    The purest message if HOPE I’ve read in a long time.
    Folks, share this with all you know who are struggling with the doomsday “they’s”.

    Reply
  10. Jackie Cooley - October 8, 2021 11:39 am

    Excellent excellent excellent Sean. Thank you for all your writing. You are a blessing to all.

    Reply
  11. Charlotte Lee - October 8, 2021 11:59 am

    Either “they” are presumptuous or “they” are lying. Or to be kind, maybe “they” are just talking to hear their heads rattle!

    Reply
  12. Bud McLaughlin - October 8, 2021 12:01 pm

    But, they said …

    Reply
  13. Kathleen - October 8, 2021 12:05 pm

    Wow this is awesome

    Reply
  14. Beth Wannamaker, South Carolina - October 8, 2021 12:10 pm

    This has got to be one of you best columns yet!! I LOVE it! I wish I could share it with some others I know. Please post this column on FB as soon as you can. God bless you.

    Reply
  15. Robert Sheppard Smyth - October 8, 2021 12:19 pm

    Great one. LOVE THIS.

    Reply
  16. Sharon Oswalt - October 8, 2021 12:39 pm

    Wow, i love you. How do you know just the right words to say at just the right time.

    Reply
  17. Jan - October 8, 2021 12:50 pm

    Amen and amen! Thank you for opening the window and letting the fresh air in!

    Reply
  18. Sandra Law - October 8, 2021 1:03 pm

    Last night I hit rock bottom… I woke up this morning, feeling like I have to find the strength to fix my life, and your words of hope and life was a push I needed… I read your email every morning, and some have inspired me… However, today”s “They” column was exactly what I needed!!

    Reply
  19. Debbie g - October 8, 2021 1:05 pm

    Good morning Sean and thank you 🙂 I don’t mind They said if they can back it up with who said it. 😀last time I ask. Who are they ? The answer was. You know. They 😂😂😂😂😂 love to all

    Reply
  20. Nancy Crews - October 8, 2021 1:17 pm

    ❤your writing. I quit listening and watching “they” almost 4 months ago. The quiet has brought me such peace and clarity.

    Reply
  21. Paul McCutchen - October 8, 2021 1:24 pm

    I just muted a sports show I was listening to because “they” were saying “they” in just about every sentence. Never realized till now. I was told over ten years ago that I was going to need a kidney transplant because I had been on dialysis for a few months. “They” were wrong. My kidneys cranked back up and have kept working since.

    Reply
  22. SLP - October 8, 2021 1:33 pm

    Thank You for putting into words what I have been thinking for 50 yrs or more 😍

    Reply
  23. Robyn - October 8, 2021 1:51 pm

    Thank you for today’s column Sean. N ended your uplifting thots today. I know you understand ‘they’ and they didn’t get you either. Luv the pics of y’all in Insta! Always, robyn

    Reply
  24. Shelton A. - October 8, 2021 2:26 pm

    Thank you, Sean. Frankly, I am getting sick of “them” and it’s such a good idea just to shut “them” out. God bless.

    Reply
  25. AlaRedClayGirl - October 8, 2021 2:33 pm

    Excellent writing! God gave you a good brain, use it instead of listening to THEY.

    Reply
  26. Mimi Phillips - October 8, 2021 2:55 pm

    My mother used to preface what she was about to say with this, “They – that unseen family of know it alls- say this…” For me, it kinda gave “them” much less credibility. Today’s column fit well with her philosophy, and your wise words lifted my spirit!!!

    Thank you for all that you share with us each day.

    Reply
  27. Sue Adams - October 8, 2021 2:57 pm

    I often ask people, when they say “they said”, who are they but no one ever has an answer. Great comments, thank you.

    Reply
  28. Harriet - October 8, 2021 3:27 pm

    I just hear “blah,blah,blah,” then turn off the TV.

    Reply
  29. Bill - October 8, 2021 4:22 pm

    Sean,
    We think alike on this one. Who is “they” that seems to know it all and I’m supposed to listen to them? What gives them the right to intervene in my life when I didn’t ask for their input.? Well, I’m going to tell you that I stopped listening to some of these so called experts. As you say, they don’t know me and they need to worry about themselves instead of trying to re-shape the world, at least my world.

    There are just too many voices making life for millions too complicated than it needs to be. Yes, we as humans need to interact with each other, but b\not to the point of telling me what is right or nt..

    Reply
  30. Steve McCaleb - October 8, 2021 4:53 pm

    You are so right my friend. Anybody who believes all the crap being thrown at them every day is a blithering idiot. Everybody has an agenda, individual, organization, or corporation……they all are trying to influence you in some way. Once you figure out what it is you’ll have a better understanding of what they’re telling you and why. But you were dead wrong in one thing you said. It ain’t beans they’re full of……..

    Reply
  31. Patricia Gibson - October 8, 2021 5:09 pm

    I agree 💯 %!! Don’t listen to “they”

    Reply
  32. Barbara J Schweck - October 8, 2021 7:47 pm

    I agree totally with you. However, my prayers for our wonderful, free country and all it’s loving caring people have certainly increased. You can’t keep your head in the sand when the top dogs in charge making all the rules are wanting to change so many things about our country. That being said, I, too, don’t watch “Them” very much!! Miracles happen to each of us and we need to believe that they can and will and negate the naysayers!!

    Reply
  33. Linda Moon - October 8, 2021 8:22 pm

    “They” are like “Them!” that want you to believe that our civilization is always under threats of some type of annihilation, including giant ants. “They” told me more than 20 years ago that if I had more than four tumors, there wasn’t a lot “they” could do for me. There were more than four. Some “theys” told My Guy 20 years ago the life-saving surgery would give him 10 years. Well….we’ve each outlived “their” predictions. Thank you for saying these words to us via this Post. I’ll mark them for sure. “Shut them up and more of Sean” I say!

    Reply
  34. Mike Bone - October 8, 2021 9:22 pm

    My kids told me “they” were coming over. I set 2 places for supper. As it turned out, “they” was one person. I am totally confused now.

    Reply
  35. PMc - October 8, 2021 9:36 pm

    I love love love this post! Thank you pmc

    Reply
  36. Bill prather - October 8, 2021 9:42 pm

    For my money the best you have reverted written. “They will be proud of you”

    Reply
  37. MAM - October 8, 2021 11:21 pm

    This one is something everyone should listen to and take to heart. Quit listening to “They.” (Ouch that hurts my grammar nerd self!) But “they,” especially the talking heads on TV (which we haven’t had for 20 years!) are almost always WRONG. I much prefer your positive writing and the hope you give to us every day. Thank you, Sean!

    Reply
  38. Christina - October 9, 2021 2:16 am

    Thank YOU for helping US talk to THEY in the best ways!

    Reply
  39. Karen Snyder - October 9, 2021 5:01 am

    The Theys are related to the What If’s, the Naysayers, the Doomsdayers, and the Chicken Littles of this world. They have been peddling their “stuff” forever. While I’m not always successful, I try really hard to tune ‘em out. You, Sean, could never pass as a They. Thank heaven!

    Reply
  40. Cathy Meintjes - October 9, 2021 2:01 pm

    Thank you for being a positive voice in a negative world! I needed this today. Nothing crazy happening but like many people I’m just so tired of the them’s and they’s opinions we’re subjected to all the time! I forwarded this to my children to give them some hope and courage too!

    Reply
  41. Stacey Wallace - October 9, 2021 3:21 pm

    You said it, Sean.

    Reply
  42. Susie - October 9, 2021 8:35 pm

    Much of what you say, Sean, is true. But if a doc tells you to get the vaccine, COMMON SENSE should tell you it would be PROBABLY be pretty good advise. Live and learn….or die……and die. And ONCE MORE….REPEAT AFTER ME, ITS NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE, ITS A COMMUNITY HEALTH ISSUE. THAT is common sense. Unfortunately, and sadly, common sense is not so common. 🙄

    Reply
  43. Max Horton - October 10, 2021 1:44 am

    “They say” came to accuse me of some things (nothing specific) that I had done from the lips of a deacon in the church. My reaction.. I don’t know who “they” are but if you or “they” can’t name dates,places and times you need to put up or shut up…. Surprisingly strong words from me, but strangely “They” became very quiet and faded as a vapor. All of our lives became better. Sometimes you gotta stand up!

    Reply
  44. Rhonda - October 12, 2021 8:47 am

    Amen brother…
    But they have a sick, weak little following who no nothing of God and worship them like idols

    Reply
  45. Sandy Burnett - October 15, 2021 9:30 pm

    You have touched on what was one of my husband’s pet peeves: the mysterious “they” that permeates society. The they that always seems to know what is best or so they think. Thank you for this message which sounded so like him. I am so glad that they don’t know everything.
    Blessings

    Reply

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