Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"I just stopped caring what people thought"

I was hiking Bridger Bowl today with my wonderful friend Angela (its her 40th birthday today, happy happy, Angela!), and we were talking about Closing the Door Firmly. And this thought has sort of kept plugging in for me, and we talked about lots of things as we wandered up the road to the Apron to see how deep the snow was.

The thing that struck me as we were walking was that at some point, in order to be able to let go and close the door firmly, you have to stop caring what other people think.

Now, I thought about this, and I've heard succesful people say this before, when they are interviewed, or in print, regarding having faith in themselves enough to put it all on the line and go for it, or to stick to what they believed in, or to believe that they could do it (whatever it was) in the face of adversity.

So many of them say, "At some point, I had to stop caring what other people thought and just listen to myself."

Now, in the past, when I've heard this, I've always thought to myself, wow, that must take a lot of conciet. How can you ever be so full of yourself that you stop caring about other people?

Or how can you ever be so cocky as to be sure you are "going to make it"?

What hit me today is that to "Stop caring what other people think" doesn't mean being concieted. It means the opposite.

It means seperating yourself from your ego enough so that the reason you are doing what you are doing is not at all attached to praise or blame or guilt or celebration. What you are doing is just what feels right for you, on your journey. And those who love you will see that and give you grace, even though they may not understand it. And those who don't, well... they are living in a world that has limits.

The fact that they can't see what you are trying to accomplish, or the fact that it might be possible, is most likely because they are limited in some way in their own life, and you being brave enough to believe in yourself is like holding a mirror up to that which they could do.

No one really wants to look at their own shit. So when you are working hard toward a goal, especially an unlikely goal, or an improbable goal, (in societies eyes), it is hugely important that at some point, you stop caring what other people think.

And that this doesn't stem from a place of entitlement or ego, but just the opposite, that you are open enough to trusting your path that you can allow space for other people's fears. They can use you on your journey to be challeneged to lay down their preconceptoins about themselves, about you, about people "in your situation" whatever that might be, about the norms.

And, as we know, you can't please everyone. Not everyone is going to like you. Some people will be down right put off by you. And that's okay. Life is not designed for everyone to like everyone. We all have to find our people, our niche, the place where our lives make sense.

I know, for instance, that to some people, my own journey is seen as selfish. I have gotten emails from moms who are angry with me for the choices I am making, and feel that I am doing a disservice to my kids by skiing.

I have also gotten emails from moms who have gone back out and started playing again, and because of that, they feel that they are better parents, they have more energy and they are more playful.

I think both are right, I think that time spent away from the kids takes time away from the kids, and that quality time is worth more than quantity time. But like everything, there needs to be a balance.

For those who disagree with my choices, I've had to learn to come to a place where I'm grateful for their input because there is probably a great lesson for me in there that will ultimately make me a better person. It's probably a hard lesson to learn.

I've also come to a place where I realize that often times that lesson is just to let go and allow that person to have their anger, and let it belong to them. To realize that my choices don't make sense to them, and to see that that's okay.


Jongira said...

Think of your gift, your lesson, to your kids, and to those of us who are rooting for you: that to pursue your dream is paramount. When your children learn this lesson you will have empowered them; when you live out this lesson, you will be empowered; as we watch your effort, we are empowered, and celebrate.

More children need to learn this lesson... and yours will.

a said...

Jongria, thank you so much for this wonderful comment. I can't tell you haw grateful I am to my readers, hearing from you guys makes me feel like I'm on the right path. I feel the same way, I want my kids to know there is something better, to escape the atmosphere. Thanks again.