While I can’t say I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, the list of people whose disapproval would keep me up at night is small and intentional. To get on it, you need to meet one criteria, but it’s a doozy: I must have enormous, unwavering respect for you.
Not being on the list doesn’t mean I don’t like or even love you, it means I don’t see our values as simpatico enough to merit worry when you find a decision or word choice or wardrobe selection of mine flawed.
This is my superpower*. Allowing somebody to get in your head is to give them tremendous power; I am vigilant with whom I hand a ticket. My superpower saves me from needless self-doubt, undeserved embarrassment, and avoidable drama. It enables deeper relationships with people who are different from me because I’m not concerned with marrying our views or changing who I am to gain their approval. As I’ve said, I don’t want to go to a party I’m not invited to. And if you invite me, but then roll your eyes because I’m under or over dressed, I won’t go home in tears, I’ll go home early, read a book, and politely decline your next invitation.
I have always been discerning in how I spend my free time. The basic litmus test is this: whatever I’m doing has to be equal or better than the book I’m reading. There are times this isn’t difficult, but Lord help the person competing right now– it’s killing me to make time to write this post.
I have long believed, and continue to believe, that the most important approval to earn in life is your own. When I’m in bed, waiting for sleep to come, I don’t waste energy contemplating other people’s perception of my life. Instead I consider the things I said and did that day that I’m proud of, then the things I said and did that I wish I hadn’t. If the second part of the list impacted humans, I mull over what I can do to make it right. When I catch myself worrying that people were disappointed by the spread I put out for book club, or other such nonsense, my superpower kicks in and reminds me to give my friends more credit than that. (Besides, anyone who gets upset over a cheese platter has bigger problems than temporary hunger.)
*My superpower is limited. It protects me from caddy gossip and self-righteous judgement, but not constructive criticism delivered with what appears to be kind intent. You can read about how well I receive that on this previous post.
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