A question from my inbox:

I get so paralyzed by what people think about me. How do I move beyond this fear? – J

I’m with you, friend. I can’t tell you all the things I’ve let this kind of anxiety keep me from doing – all the good work that’s been shouted down by the ever-present choruses of “am I good enough” and “what will people think?”

But it’s my husband who’s helped me to sing a new song over the last year or so, and the lyrics go a little something like this:

So. What.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that he’s the son of a master salesman who pressed on in the face of “no,” or that he’s a leader of a large team, or that he’s overcome a lot of obstacles and pain and people in the past to get where he is. Or maybe it’s just that he’s awesome.

But he’s teaching me (after 24 slow and stubborn years), to ask myself why it all matters so much.

He’s teaching me to say so what?

I might not be able to keep it up.
So what?

Some people will think I’m in it for me.
So what?

Some people won’t care what I have to say.
So what?

Some people will think I’m too fat or too old — I’m not pretty or perfect enough.
So what?

Some people won’t agree with my thoughts, or my parenting, or my practices.
So what?

Some people will think I’m prideful — that I talk about myself too much.
So what?

Some people might say mean things.
So what?

Really… so what? It will hurt? I’ll be angry? sad? embarrassed? What horrible, life-altering consequence comes after that? What reality in my life actually changes? What genuine love or truth is taken from me?

Nothing? Really?

Then so what?

What can these feelings do to me, in the end, that would be worse than not acting — not sharing — not living out of my best and bringing what I have in my hands to serve others?

I’m learning there is more power in one so what than in a million what ifs. I’m learning that moving beyond a life of people pleasing is not about setting new boundaries, but smashing through the ones you’ve built yourself in order to love others without fear or expectation.

Because here’s the hard and sobering truth:

I am running out of time to give what I have, and you are, too.

It’s scary to try. It’s scary to post this.

But so what?

 

 

 

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