Out for my walk this morning I stopped and picked up a brick for my 9-year-old from a broken gate. He has been using them as a home for his stuffed animals. So there I was, sweat dripping down my back, a brick held up high because those fuckers get heavy fast as I power walked my way home. I pass an older gentleman who says, “Brick, huh?” I shrug with a sheepish smile on my face. “I’m not even going to ask” he responds. I just laughed with a sigh of relief and kept walking.
Oh how different this exchange could have been. I was already feeling embarrassed walking around with a brick in my hand. I was feeling a little guilty wondering if it was right that I even picked the brick up in the first place. From that space I could have interpreted this innocent exchange very differently.
When we hear or read to not let what other people think or say about us affect us that is so much easier said than done. We hear, “that is their story, not yours” (I am so guilty of saying this to everyone!!!) or “let it go, you can’t change them you can only change you.” That’s all well and good, but how does that work in reality?
Unless we are already enlightened beings, the things other people say and do will affect us. It’s a part of human nature. I also think it’s an important part of human nature. There is so much that can be learned in the caring of what other people think. It gives us an opportunity to find areas of growth within ourselves. But, it takes practice. Lots of practice.
Nowadays when I find myself feeling small based on the reaction, comment or judgment of someone, I take the following steps:
- Pause. I recognize that I am feeling small and allow that feeling to sink in.
- Reflect. I sit with the small feeling and try to approach it objectively.
- Recognize. I try to recognize why I am feeling small and what event in my past may have led me to this feeling.
- Review. I review whether this feeling of smallness serves me in this capacity or not. (spoiler alert: the answer is always not)
- Breathe. I breathe out that which no longer serves me.
- Remember. I remember the truth of who I am.
- Move on. I move on with my life from a place of wholeness and belonging.
- Become a bad ass. I become one step closer to the bad ass I’ve always known I am.
And that my friends, is the art of not giving a shit.