“What people think of you is none of your business,” he said, and I waited for the punchline. Because surely he was joking. If people are thinking about me, how is that not my business?
He didn’t laugh. He didn’t proceed with a witty joke and it wasn’t the beginning of one of his tongue & cheek Jewish morality tales he is so fond of.
I mulled over the words. None. Of. My. Business.
I decided I had three choices: (1) get a new therapist that wasn’t smoking crack before my appointments, (2) attack his premise with my incisive logic (the result of which led me straight to his office, desperate and alone), or (3) consider if maybe he was on to something.
I didn’t feel like finding a new therapist, because that would entail a call to my insurance company, and who has time to wait on hold for 77 minutes only to be told to check the list of providers on the website– nevermind that the only three who fit my plan were no longer taking new patients.
Fighting back didn’t appeal to me either. He was smarter than I was– after all, I was paying him a bazillion dollars to have these conversations. So I surrendered my weapons (defensiveness, whining, and complaining about the “patriarchy”).
“None of my business what other people think of me?” I asked, hoping I’d heard him wrong.
“Right. It’s none of your business. Like other people’s sex lives or how they save for retirement.”
I couldn’t find a loophole. If only he hadn’t mentioned sex and money, then maybe I could have scaled the wall of his audacious statement.
I sat with it. Actually, I’ve been sitting with it for over ten years. It’s become a mantra. Those words are filled with freedom– they are the parachute I use when I am in the flaming plane of someone else’s opinion of me.
- When Outlaw Mama’s Facebook page number drops, I panic and wonder What’d I do wrong? Why do they hate me? Then, I remember: it’s none of my business.
- When someone replies to a comment I left on a Huffington Post article by attacking my intelligence and my morality, I feel like I might throw up. Honestly, I want to track down my attackers to let them know that I actually am a good person with a heart and brain (and too much time on my hands). But I don’t because what anyone thinks (or writes about me) is none of my business. (FN1)
- Does my boss think I’m stupid? Does that stylish lady like my shoes? Does the homeless man believe me that I have no money on me? Does the clerk at the drugstore like me even though I am annoyed I had to wait 1.5 hours for antibiotics? What does my yoga teacher think about my crappy posture and haphazard commitment to her class?
I’m slowly getting it. What you think of my blog, my writing, my children, my hair, my cooking, and my preference of big box retailers — all of it belongs under that gigantic umbrella labeled None Of My Business.
It’s freedom, and it’s a parachute I always forget I have strapped to my back.
* * *
FN1: Unless of course you commit libel or slander, in which case I will sue your ass.