I’m doing breathing techniques right now, as you read this. In the nose, out the mouth. I hope that’s the right way. Just trying to keep things peaceful, calm, and centered. Living each day like it’s both my first and last.
Inevitably, whenever I find myself in that mindset, a person, usually a blast from the past, comes along to rain on the Zen parade. Actually, it’s rarely even that person directly. It’s a round-about delivery system of dark clouds.
So and So said you’re a so and so.
Ah yeah. Good ol’ So and So. A name so far in the rear view mirror, that they don’t even appear closer than they are.
Now, typically I scoff at the notion that we should all just brush off criticism without a second thought. It bothers me how we put the blame on the person being unfairly attacked for “letting it bother them.” My take has always been that we should be better people to each other rather than thickening our own skins to accommodate the rotten peanut gallery. Sure, you can’t fall apart at the first bad sentiment, but still. The people who live to project bad sentiments are pretty bad people themselves.
The irony is that these opinions from others, especially now that your life is on an upswing, genuinely don’t hurt anymore in the classic sense of the word. These people who still have so many comments to give to others actually wind-up snitching on themselves, as the saying goes.
Whatever place they held in your life at one time was a long time ago and, back at that time, it may have stung to hear their cruel words. You put weight to them and forced yourself to reexamine who you were based on those pointed comments. Even though you did your best to be your best, your best wasn’t good enough and this person, often someone quite close to you, took the time to remind you of it every chance they could.
It brought you down and had you regretting correct decisions that you made or positive actions you may have taken. It made you doubt every aspect of your life from the clothes your wear to the company you keep to the person you became.
Then, one day, that person was gone. Poof – wished away into the cornfield. You may have never believed that day would come, but once it did, you survived and woke up the next morning. Life has moved on, you moved on, and your world couldn’t be any better.
Now, you’re rebuilding and, with every step you take, things get more and more clear. You were always doing the right thing while this person, whatever place they held in your life, unleashed the toxic waste you were forced to wallow in. It’s all gone now and with nothing to pull you down, you can finally fly.
So and So said you’re a so and so.
And that’s when it happens. That one statement doesn’t drag you back, but reframes your entire life up until that point. You realize that nothing they ever said mattered at all. The negative words from when you felt your lowest were just as fake as the negative words they say when you’re now at your highest. It never came from a place of honest observation. It came from a place of selfish judgment made to bring you down to their level because they were unable to ever climb a ladder to yours.
It’s like having a headless person say that your hat is too big.
In those moments, you might still feel a tinge of anger, but it’s a different perspective now. That change is because, for the first time, you can see what they were doing the whole time. You get a gift from the universe of having all your past critiques erased as now, through a new filter, you can see them for what they truly were.
It’s enough to make you want to roll up your yoga mat and use it like one of those American Gladiators battering rams, but you don’t. You’re peaceful. You’re Zen. You breathe deep and thank the universe for showing you the light and sending those bad vibes away. For the first time in a long time, you can “not let it bother you” without having to really try. It just happens. None of it bothers you because none of it was ever real. Now, at best, they can lob failed bricks over into your yard where the grass is most definitely greener than their own.
Don’t let anyone bring you down when you feel up. See their words for what they are and where they come from. The only person you ever need to impress is yourself because nothing else is real, especially So-and-So.