Friday, August 12, 2016

The Peace in Not Knowing

Recently, I lost my wallet at dinner and was completely worry-free about it for an entire evening...because I had no idea it was gone. As I've done more times than I care to admit, I take my debit card out of my wallet, sit the wallet in my lap while I wait for the waiter to return my card, place the card back in my wallet, and then continue conversing with my dinner guest. I stand to leave...and, well, you see where this is going.

Luckily, my last time making this faux pax, I was at a business dinner and left slightly before everyone else. A board member saw it on the floor as she was leaving and picked it up to return to me. You can only imagine my surprise when she handed it to me at the meeting the next morning. Upon reflection, it frightened me to think that I slept peacefully through the night, without a care in the world, while the "gateway" to all of my finances were out of my hands and out of my control. However, what tickled me most is that in not knowing, I was completely at peace.

The incident also made me reflect on other ways we lose our peace (and opportunities) by worrying about how others might perceive us. I've often heard the mantra recited: "What other people think about you is none of your business." My wallet incident could not have provided a more true example of that sentiment, and it made me wonder how many times we're halted in reaching our full potential because we're worried about the thoughts of "others." Do we not pursue dreams because we're afraid of being seen as "wistful"? Do we not seek certain adventures because we're worried of being labeled as "different"? Do we put goals on the back burner for fear of being lauded as "self centered" or "delusional"? Whatever keeps us stuck, rest assured there are little voices in our heads, made up of an audience of our perceived worst critics, helping us stay put.

As renowned psychologist Dr. Kelly Neff states,"The root of the problem with caring about what people think about you is that you're attaching yourself to an outcome that you have absolutely no control over. [W]e must now give ourselves permission to release, [which] frees up an immense amount of time and energy to live in the NOW...."

Release. Freedom. Positivity. It all begins with loving and honoring ourselves first, and knowing that when we authentically do, those who truly love us will do the same. And for those who don't, it truly is none of our business. As comedian Tina Fey simply puts it, "Do your thing and don't care if they like it." Much like the freedom in not knowing my wallet was lost, may we all find joy in not knowing--or giving life to--the naysayers and negative thoughts that keep us in our holding patterns. Here's to flying free!

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